If you were injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be confused about your legal options and what steps to take next. The seasoned attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP can help. We’ll help you pursue the justice and maximum financial compensation you deserve. Drunk driving is a reckless decision. Any driver who decides to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol puts everyone else at risk. The impact of a crash can cause life-threatening injuries and even death.
Getting hurt in a car crash typically results in expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. It’s unfair that you’re suffering because of another person’s careless actions. They should be the one to pay for the costs you incurred. Our Charlotte drunk driver accident lawyers will protect your rights and build a strong case on your behalf. We’ll fight aggressively against the liable driver and ensure they pay for the pain you endured.
Talk to an experienced car accident attorney today to learn about your legal options and how we can help you secure the financial reward you need. Call DeMayo Law Offices, LLP at (704) 333-1000 to schedule a free consultation.
Why Drunk Driving Is Dangerous
Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in North Carolina. Depending on the circumstances, the driver could face misdemeanor or felony charges. Any amount of alcohol can impair someone’s ability to drive safely. Common symptoms experienced include:
- Poor judgment
- Slower reaction time
- Loss of coordination
- Blurry vision
- Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
- Decreased alertness
- Reduced sensory perception
Under DUI laws, drivers aren’t allowed to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Someone under the legal age of 21 automatically faces a criminal DUI offense under the state’s zero-tolerance law.
Take Action After a Drunk Driver Accident
Many people don’t know what to do after getting hurt in a car accident. It’s an overwhelming experience, especially if there are severe injuries. If you want to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, the following steps will help protect your case:
Call 911. It’s a state law to report a car accident that results in injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage. Law enforcement will arrive at the scene to perform an investigation and write a crash report that includes their findings.
Obtain the other driver’s information. Write down their name, contact information, and auto insurance details.
Talk to witnesses. If anyone was around when the accident happened, speak to them about what they saw. Get their names and phone numbers so they can provide a witness statement during your legal case.
Take photos. Take pictures of the crash scene. Pictures always tell a story and can provide insight into how the accident occurred and who caused it.
Go to the hospital. Even if you suffered minor injuries, you should still see a doctor. They will perform an evaluation and refer you for additional treatment if necessary. Follow their recommendations and continue to treat with your medical providers until they release you from care.
Hire a lawyer. Contact DeMayo Law Offices, LLP to speak with one of our Charlotte drunk driver accident lawyers. People who choose to seek legal representation have a better chance of recovering the maximum monetary award than those who don’t.
What Are Damages?
Damages include all expenses and losses associated with an accident. There are two types you can pursue in an insurance claim. Economic damages refer to the expenses, such as:
- Medical costs
- Out of pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Car repair costs
Non-economic damages are intangible losses, such as:
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Physical or mental disability
There’s a fault system in North Carolina that determines who’s financially responsible for damages that result from a car crash. Generally, the at-fault driver becomes liable through their auto insurance company. Liability coverage includes limits for bodily injury and property damage. These limits can provide compensation for the victim’s economic and non-economic damages.
Although required by law, some drivers don’t have liability coverage. If the person who caused the crash doesn’t have insurance, you can file a claim with your auto insurance company. With UM (uninsured motorist) coverage, injured parties can file a claim for compensation if the at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance.
You can attempt to recover the following damages in a UM claim:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket costs
- Vehicle repair or replacement expenses
How to Handle a Lawsuit Against the Drunk Driver
You have the option of pursuing legal action in the civil court system. Drunk driving is a serious offense. If you want to hold the other person responsible for their negligent actions, you can file a lawsuit against them. Negligence is the legal theory that one party failed in their duties to exercise a reasonable degree of care to prevent another party from harm. There are five elements you must show existed to prove negligence:
- Duty: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care;
- Breach of duty: The at-fault driver breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for the at-fault party’s actions, you wouldn’t have sustained injuries;
- Proximate cause: The at-fault party should have known the breach of duty would have led to a car accident; and
- Damages: You incurred damages.
There’s a strict deadline known as a statute of limitations that accident victims must follow in any personal injury case. The statute of limitations in North Carolina is three years. You only have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for financial compensation. If you miss the deadline, you’ll lose your right to sue the drunk driver.
Two exceptions can pause the clock even after it started:
- The injured party is under a legal disability. That means they’re either a minor under the age of 18 or mentally incompetent. The clock will only begin when they’re no longer legally disabled.
- The at-fault party leaves or lives outside the state temporarily. Once they return, the clock will start, and their absence won’t count towards the three-year statute.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, you can also seek punitive damages. Instead of compensating losses, it’s a form of punishment against the at-fault party. It’s a rare financial award injured victims may receive if they can do the following:
- Prove the other driver is liable for economic and non-economic damages
- Prove the liable driver acted with malice, fraud, or willful or wanton conduct
- Provide clear and convincing evidence of the acts
Why Choose DeMayo Law Offices, LLP?
People who get hurt in car accidents might choose to handle their case alone. That can end up being a mistake. Charlotte drunk driving accident lawyers understand how to navigate the complicated legal process. We know the tactics used by insurance companies to intimidate injured parties into accepting settlements lower than they deserve. When you hire DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, we’ll protect your rights and ensure fair treatment.
We have the experience and resources to handle each step listed below in a drunk driver accident case.
- Review coverages available on the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy and file a claim.
- Gather crucial evidence, such as:
- Police report
- Copies of your medical records
- Results of the at-fault driver’s alcohol testing
- Video surveillance of the crash
- Photos from the accident scene
- Statements from witnesses
- Documentation proving the other motorist consumed alcohol before driving
- Submit evidence we find to the insurance company.
- Review all damages to determine an appropriate value for your case.
- Send a demand letter to the insurance company.
- Negotiate a full and fair settlement.
- File a lawsuit if we’re unable to reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company.
We know you’re already struggling and trying to recover from the accident. You won’t have to worry about the legal aspects of your case. We’ll take care of everything for you. We use aggressive tactics to pursue a financial award that compensates accident victims for their total damages.
Our Charlotte drunk driver accident lawyers have experience working on insurance claims and bringing cases to court. We never back down from a fight, and we’ll work hard to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. You can feel confident knowing our team won’t let anything fall through the cracks. Each case we take is a priority to us. We always create an effective plan to reach our clients’ goals.
Injured in a Car Accident? Call Us Now
At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, we believe in holding people accountable for their actions. Drunk driving is dangerous. We’ll pursue justice and hold the other party liable for the harm they caused. We’ll make sure you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and move forward with your life.
If you’re already struggling financially because of the damages you incurred, you can breathe a sigh of relief when you hire us. We take cases on contingency, which means you won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs. We don’t collect legal fees unless we win the case. If we don’t win, you won’t have to pay us.
If you were the victim of a car crash caused by a drunk driver, call DeMayo Law Offices, LLP at (704) 333-1000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Charlotte car accident lawyers.
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