Being in a car accident is a frightening experience, and learning that the crash that seriously injured you or a loved one was caused by a drunk driver can add insult to injury. Here’s what you need to know about obtaining compensation after being involved in an alcohol related collision.
Negligence Per Se
In most personal injury cases, including car accident cases, negligence must be proven. It must be shown that the individual who caused the injury not only owed a duty of care to the injured person, but also that his or her actions violated that duty of care and the violation directly resulted in the accident. In cases of drunk driving accidents, negligence is almost always assumed. This is also called “negligence per se.”
Drivers always owe a duty of care to others on the road when they get behind the wheel. When a driver chooses to drink before operating their vehicle, this is considered automatic negligence, and if they caused an accident, the burden of proof no longer rests on the defendant. In cases where a drunk driver may not have fully caused an accident but was a contributor, he or she may still be guilty of negligence and held responsible for damages that resulted from the crash.
Drunk drivers who caused an accident will face many consequences, including criminal charges and license suspension. However, that does not mean that they are exempt from a civil suit brought forward by the victim(s) of the accident. In fact, quite the opposite. A drunk driving accident victim should absolutely explore their options regarding a personal injury case if they were injured as a result of such gross negligence.
Typically, drunk driving accident victims will receive some sort of settlement from the driver’s insurance company. These cases are often settled out of court because it can be difficult for the insurance company to defend the actions of an impaired driver whose intoxication caused a crash. However, when insurance companies do not offer a settlement amount that covers the actual damages incurred as a result of the collision, litigation may be necessary.
At Pepper & Odom, P.C., we’re committed to fighting on behalf of victims who have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. We’ll work hard to see that you obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact a car accident lawyer now by calling (601) 202-1111 or (205) 250-1107.