Drunk driving remains a serious concern on American roads, resulting in devastating consequences for individuals and families across the nation. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the grim statistics are a harsh reminder of the dangers posed by intoxicated motorists. Each day, approximately 37 lives are lost in the United States due to drunk-driving crashes – equivalent to one person every 39 minutes. Shockingly, in the year 2021 alone, alcohol-impaired driving accounted for the deaths of 13,384 individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds further insight into the scope of this issue, revealing that in 2020, 62 percent of fatalities in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers were the drivers themselves, while 38 percent were passengers, drivers, or occupants of other vehicles, including pedestrians. Even more disheartening is the fact that 229 children under the age of 14 lost their lives in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers during the same year.
While fatalities often dominate discussions surrounding drunk driving, it is imperative to acknowledge that many survivors of such accidents endure life-altering injuries. These injuries can lead to permanent disabilities, rendering victims unable to work and robbing them of their quality of life. Despite adequate healthcare coverage, survivors frequently find themselves burdened with substantial medical bills exceeding their insurer’s coverage. Beyond physical pain, emotional trauma can haunt victims long after the accident. For those who have been involved in accidents caused by drunk drivers, legal representation is an essential resource in securing the compensation they deserve.
A case from South Carolina serves as a poignant reminder of the substantial recovery potential for victims, contingent upon the specifics of each case. The case revolved around a collision caused by a driver under the influence, resulting in a catastrophic lower back injury for the victim – a retired engineer turned author. Suffering from multiple surgeries and a concussion, the victim amassed medical bills totaling $400,000. The intoxicated driver, who had a history of DUI arrests, offered an unscrupulous attempt to avoid police involvement. Eventually, the victim’s underinsured motorist coverage, which addresses expenses beyond those covered by at-fault driver insurance, agreed to a pre-trial settlement encompassing medical costs, pain and suffering, and economic losses.
It is crucial to recognize that the compensation in each case hinges on its unique circumstances. For those who have suffered at the hands of a drunk driver, engaging with a seasoned attorney is imperative to navigate the complexities of the legal process and ensure their rights are upheld.
Contrary to common belief, drunk driving, while illegal and a crime, does not automatically render the intoxicated driver solely responsible for accident-related losses. To seek compensation, the following elements must be proven:
Negligence of the Drunk Driver: The mere act of driving under the influence establishes negligence, as it is both illegal and inherently unsafe.
Direct Cause of the Collision: The intoxicated driver’s negligence must be directly tied to the occurrence of the accident.
Sustained Harm Due to the Crash: The victim must demonstrate that the accident resulted in harm, whether physical, emotional, or financial.
Depending on the circumstances, victims have several avenues for pursuing compensation:
Claiming with One’s Own Insurer: In “no-fault” states, victims can seek compensation from their insurer for minor injuries. Additionally, if the victim was at fault for the collision, their own insurance may provide coverage, especially if they have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Settling Out of Court: Negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the intoxicated driver’s insurer is an option to recover compensation without legal proceedings. However, victims should remember that settling entails relinquishing the right to sue, necessitating a thorough assessment of the offered compensation’s adequacy.
Filing a Lawsuit: If an out-of-court settlement is unattainable, victims may need to file a lawsuit to establish their case in court. Successful proof of harm and damages should lead to compensation that adequately addresses losses.
Pursuing Dram Shop Lawsuits: Establishments serving alcohol to impaired drivers may be held liable if such drivers cause accidents after leaving. Victims can potentially file claims against such establishments.
Evidentiary support plays a pivotal role in drunk-driving accident claims. Various forms of evidence – including police reports, witness statements, medical records, and more – can substantiate negligence and establish the extent of damages suffered by victim(s).
For individuals seriously injured by drunk drivers in Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach, and throughout South Carolina, The Floyd Law Firm PC is a trusted resource for legal guidance and representation. With a commitment to securing compensation, the firm’s experienced attorneys offer their services on a contingent fee basis, ensuring that clients only pay attorney’s fees upon successful recovery.
The battle against drunk driving remains a critical concern. Victims of such accidents often endure severe physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Legal representation is an essential tool for navigating the complex landscape of compensation claims. Each case is unique, and the guidance of an experienced attorney is invaluable in securing rightful compensation and holding accountable those responsible for these preventable tragedies.