Drunk Driving Car Accident FAQs
Have you suffered an injury caused by a drunk driver in North Carolina? If so, you probably have questions and concerns related to how you will receive compensation for your injuries. In addition to focusing on healing from your injuries, you are likely worried about paying your medical bills, talking to insurance companies, and worrying about providing for your family.
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we understand how stressful and challenging recovering from a car accident can become. Our skilled Charlotte personal injury attorneys have helped many clients receive compensation for their injuries caused by a drunk driver. We patiently listen to our clients and assist them by answering all of their drunk driving car accident questions. To schedule your free initial consultation, contact our law firm today.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4,102 people died in North Carolina drunk driving accidents between 2003 and 2013. In North Carolina, 1.4% of residents report that they drive after drinking too much. Throughout the United States, drunk drivers get behind the wheels of motor vehicles millions of times a year. Sadly, one out of every three traffic-related deaths in the United States involves at least one drunk driver. While drunk driving rates have fallen overall in recent years, they still occur in North Carolina.
If a drunk driver collides with your car and flees the scene, you will not be able to recover compensation. All is not necessarily lost, however. Our attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident. We may be able to find security camera footage of the accident or interview witnesses. If we can identify the driver, we may be able to use cell phone data and witness accounts to demonstrate that they caused the accident. If we still cannot identify the driver, our attorneys can help you file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim through your insurance policy.
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher in North Carolina is unlawful. Prosecutors may bring criminal charges against the drunk driver who caused your accident. Criminal courts are separate from civil courts. A court convicting the driver of driving while under the influence does not guarantee that you will succeed in a civil personal injury lawsuit. Nonetheless, your attorney can use evidence gathered by the police in your civil trial.
You can use the breathalyzer test and blood test results to demonstrate negligence if they are available. To succeed in civil court, you only need to demonstrate that the driver was drunk by a preponderance of the evidence. The civil law standard is a lower standard to prove than proving that the driver was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If a drunk driver caused your injuries, you could attempt to recover compensation through an insurance claim and also through a civil lawsuit. A skilled car accident attorney will help you negotiate a favorable payout from the at-fault driver's insurance company. If the driver had no insurance or was underinsured, your attorney can help you file a claim through your own insurance company. Insurance companies can compensate you for your medical expenses, hospitalization costs, loss of future earnings, and pain, suffering, and emotional trauma.
You may be able to file a North Carolina civil lawsuit against the drunk driver. Under North Carolina law, negligent drivers are liable for the injuries that they cause. When someone drives while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance, he or she engages in negligent or even reckless driving. Successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for the following:
- Lost past and future wages
- Medical expenses
- The cost of home health care
- Property damage expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Necessary medical equipment
North Carolina courts sometimes impose additional punitive damages on drunk driving defendants. When a defendant uses willful or wanton conduct that causes another person's injuries, a court can determine to impose punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the driver and deter egregious behavior.
We can Help
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident with a drunk driver, you probably have concerns about how you will receive compensation. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our attorneys can guide you through the legal process. Contact our office to schedule your initial consultation today.