When a Pedestrian is Hit by a Drunk Driver
In the year 2010 alone, according to FBI statistics, over 1.4 million arrests were made for driving under the influence. That same year, 23% of all drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents were intoxicated to some degree. The problem truly is an epidemic and despite nationwide efforts to increase awareness and bring it under control, it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
Many of these accidents involve pedestrians. No matter how careful or safe you are when you’re out walking the streets, you can’t account for every circumstance, and drunk drivers are one of the most unpredictable and deadly dangers for pedestrians. Learn what to do if you’re a pedestrian who is injured in a drunk driving accident, and how having a car accident lawyer in your corner makes all the difference.
Suing the Driver
If you’re hit by a drunk driver, you can absolutely file a civil suit against them. Drunk driving is the very definition of negligence, which means they are responsible for any injuries you suffer. It’s important to understand that your lawsuit does not tie into any criminal case that might be filed. While criminal charges could see the driver fined, those fines will go to administrative costs and you won’t see them.
In order to collect the damages that you are owed, it’s imperative that you file a civil suit against the drunk driver. If you are the spouse, parent or child of a loved one killed by a drunk driver, you may be able to file a civil suit for wrongful death.
Damages You Can Collect
There are a range of potential damages that can be collected from a DUI accident, but it comes down to how badly you’re hurt. All damages are situational in that way; they’re designed to compensate you for the losses you suffer. These can include some, any or all of the following depending on the circumstances:
- Medical expenses, including doctor’s bills, rehabilitation, medication and medical-related travel;
- Lost wages and income, and loss of potential future earnings;
- Pain and suffering and emotional damages;
- Loss of quality of life, companionship, consortium, comfort and support
While some of these damages (medical expenses, lost wages) are easy to value, more subjective damages (called “general damages”) like pain and suffering and quality of life aren’t so easy to value, so they require more negotiation.
Insurance and Damages
Of course, the amount you are awarded and the amount you can collect may be different. A person’s insurance company will only pay out up to the limit of their policy. That means even if your injury is valued at $300,000, if the driver only has $150,000 in insurance, you may only get $150,000 in payout.
Damages and the Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re injured by a drunk driver, the best option to collect the maximum damages is to secure the help of an experienced car accident lawyer. Attorneys can help you to get the best possible award and can work to collect as much as possible. Contact the attorneys at Harris and Graves for a consultation, at no cost to you, today.