Charlotte Drunk Driving Accidents
Even though the penalties for drunk driving have grown harsher over the years, there are still far too many drunk driving accidents in Charlotte and elsewhere in the Tar Heel State. In 2014, for example, there were 23 fatal crashes caused by drunk driving in the Charlotte area. They occurred not only on highways like I-485 and I-277 but also on city streets like Independence Boulevard and Albemarle Road. If you or a loved one has been involved in an alcohol-related crash, the Charlotte drunk driving accident lawyers at Maurer Law can help you seek fair compensation for your injuries. We handle most personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, so there is no need to wait to hire a lawyer. In fact, waiting to hire a drunk driving accident attorney might end up costing you more in the long term because evidence may decay, and important procedural deadlines may be missed.
Although a drunk driver who causes a serious accident may be prosecuted in the criminal system, this does little to benefit people injured by the driver’s actions. At most, the trial court judge may order the defendant to pay a small amount of restitution to the victim. To receive fair compensation, the injured person must instead turn to the civil court system. The plaintiff in a car accident claim must make out a case of negligence in order to recover compensation for injuries suffered in a crash. This requires them to prove that the defendant had a legal duty, that the defendant breached the duty, that the plaintiff suffered damages, and that the plaintiff’s damages arose directly from the defendant’s breach. Each of these elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. This is less demanding than the standard of proof in a criminal case, so a driver may be held liable for a crash even if they were not convicted of a DUI.Pursuing Damages for a Drunk Driving Accident
Typically, a plaintiff may recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages, although each case is unique. A drunk driving accident attorney in the Charlotte area can advocate for the full scope of damages that you need. Expert testimony is helpful to explain to the jury the plaintiff’s injuries and future prognosis, as well as to establish the reasonableness of the medical expenses for which the plaintiff seeks reimbursement. In addition to these basic damages components, the plaintiff’s spouse may request compensation for loss of spousal consortium, and the jury may award punitive damages in particularly egregious or reckless cases.
In drunk driving crash cases, it is not unusual for the defendant to have only minimal automobile liability insurance or to have no coverage at all. People who make a habit of drunk driving often eventually lose their driving privileges – yet continue to drive anyway, uninsured. In this situation, the plaintiff may still pursue a claim against the defendant, but collecting on a judgment might be difficult. In addition, the plaintiff may be able to file a claim against their own uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurer. It is important to note that such a proceeding may be just as adversarial in nature as a case in which the defendant’s insurer is responsible for paying the judgment. A plaintiff should retain legal representation throughout the negotiation and trial phases of a UM/UIM case.Discuss Your Case with a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Charlotte
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a drunk driver, you deserve fair compensation. However, you will not receive what you are due unless you take action in a timely fashion. The car crash lawyers at Maurer Law are committed to helping injured people and the families of victims seek payment for what they have been through. Call us at 919-229-8359 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation. Our Charlotte drunk driving accident attorneys can answer any questions that you may have about your legal rights and options.