Drunk driving is against the law, but still, many people get out onto the road while having some degree of alcohol in their system. The repercussions for a DUI charge are steep, and can follow someone’s reputation and future for many years to come. And despite strict laws, people engage in drunk driving behavior all too often. When someone is drunk, they may overestimate their ability to operate a vehicle safely. So if a serious accident ensues, it may not just be a criminal charge that the driver has to worry about. The drunk driver may be held legally responsible for all the ways victims in the accident had suffered too.
What is considered drunk driving?
Those who drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more may be charged with a DUI. If the person is under the age of 21, they may be arrested for driving while under the influence for a BAC as low as .02%. A driver who has alcohol in their system may exhibit behaviors such as erratic driving, speeding, driving dangerously slow, weaving between traffic, drifting in a lane, abrupt use of brakes, and more. A drunk driver who caused an accident may be liable for the victim’s injuries, property damage, and other losses.
What damages can a DUI victim recover?
Depending on the factors of the accident, there are different types of damages that victims may be entitled to recover. A reputable DUI lawyer can assess your case and inform you whether you have grounds for receiving economic and non-economic damages. As the helpful team at Cohen & Cohen can explain, victims may be awarded compensation in the form of punitive damages as well, which are designed to punish the drunk driver further and are paid on top of other types of compensation, such as:
- Lost wages from missing work
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Medical bills for injury treatment
- Physical or emotional pain and suffering
What should someone do if they are hit by a drunk driver?
After a drunk driving accident, there are a few steps that you have to take in order to protect your rights and recovery. Call 911 so that everyone at the scene can receive medical attention if needed. The responding officer will take a report of what happened, and may include the fact that the driver was intoxicated. If the driver appears hostile in any way, make sure that you tell the 911 operator the urgency of the situation and get yourself into your car or nearby store safely. If it’s safe to do so and they appear amicable, exchange information with the other driver as you wait for police to arrive, take pictures of your injuries and damage to vehicles, and report the incident to your insurance company.
Victims of car accidents must take action to protect their health and best interest, especially in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver should be held accountable for how their reckless behavior adversely affected the lives of innocent people.