Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk Driving Accident Injury Lawyers
According to the NHTSA, every day in the United States, nearly 30 people will die in a drunk driving crash—one person every 48 minutes in 2017. Although drunk driving deaths have fallen by a third over the past thirty years, drunk driving collisions still claim more than 10,000 lives every year. Alcohol impairs a driver’s thinking skills, reasoning skills, and muscle coordination as well as the overall cognitive abilities—all of which are crucial to safe vehicle operation. Alcohol is absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and the stomach, then passes into the bloodstream, where it accumulates until the liver can metabolize the alcohol.
BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration refers to the weight of the alcohol in a specific volume of blood. Across the United States, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 percent, which is .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood. At this level, the risk of a collision increases substantially, although for some drivers, a BAC of less than 0.08 percent can still leave them impaired. In fact, at 0.02 percent BAC, most people will be more relaxed, will have a slight decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time and will experience some loss of judgment. At 0.05 percent BAC, most individuals will have a reduction in coordination, a reduced response to an emergency driving situation, slightly exaggerated behavior, lowered alertness, lowered inhibitions, and impaired judgment.
A BAC of 0.08 percent results in lowered ability to concentrate, poor balance, reaction time, vision and hearing, a harder time detecting danger, a loss of reasoning, memory, self-control, and judgment and impaired perception. All of the negative effects of drinking alcohol become more exaggerated as a person continues to drink. With a BAC of .15, the individual has far less muscle control than normal, a major loss of balance, significant impairment inability to control a vehicle and significant impairment inability to process auditory and visual information.
Drinking and Driving—a Deadly Combination in Louisiana
Despite the fact that most adults are aware drinking and driving can be a deadly combination, it continues to happen across the United States. Those who drive while impaired can be arrested, face jail, fines, and many other adverse consequences, but even worse, driving while impaired can result in serious injury or death of another person or persons. In the Lake Charles area, there is an increasing number of accident victims who are injured or die as the result of a drunk driving accident. If you or a loved one are the victims of an impaired driver, it is imperative that you contact the drunk driving accident attorneys from Hoffoss Devall.
From Mardi Gas to Jazz Fest, Louisiana is well-known for good times and big parties. Drivers in the state, however, can suffer consequences from these events. According to the Acadiana Advocate, between the years of 2010 and 2014, drunk driving arrests actually dropped statewide. At the same time, while there were fewer arrests for DUI, the number of alcohol-related fatalities also decreased. According to the NHTSA, in the state of Louisiana, there were 247 alcohol-related auto accident fatalities in 2014, 244 in 2015, 227 in 2016 and 212 in 2017. This shows there was a steady decrease in alcohol-related fatalities between 2014 and 2017. Further, in 2014, more than a third (34 percent) of the state’s traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.
How Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents Can Obtain Damages
If you believe you should not be responsible for paying expensive medical costs resulting from an accident caused by an impaired driver, Hoffoss Devall is the law firm for you. Drunk driving accidents in the state occur far too often, leaving innocent victims dealing with the aftermath. If you are hit by an impaired driver, do the following:
- Call 911 immediately so that an ambulance and the police will arrive at the scene of the collision as quickly as possible. It is important that law enforcement thoroughly document the details surrounding the drunk driving accident, plus the police may arrest the intoxicated driver. When a driver is arrested and charged on suspicion of DUI, it can make proving fault down the line much less difficult.
- Even if you think you are not badly hurt, make sure you are checked out medically. Often, the adrenaline rush you get when an accident occurs can mask symptoms of serious injury. You could be unaware of injuries that are not immediately visible, including whiplash, spinal injuries or internal damage. Make sure you receive a thorough medical examination so any injuries which develop later can be diagnosed.
- Ask the police officer when and where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. The Statewide Crash Report website, managed by the LSP, can be a good place to obtain your police report online. This document can be extremely helpful in the future should you decide to file a claim for injuries against the responsible driver.
- Call an experienced Louisiana drunk driving accident attorney from Hoffoss Devall as quickly as possible. If you have been hurt by an impaired driver, you are entitled to seek equitable compensation for your injuries, property damage and other expenses related to the crash. It is important to understand that the drunk driver’s insurance company could attempt to pressure you into quickly settling your case—for much less than it is actually worth—so make sure you have a knowledgeable Hoffoss Devall drunk driving accident attorney in your corner who is well-versed in handling drunk driving accident claims.
Elements of a Louisiana Drunk Driving Claim
The state of Louisiana requires that three elements be proven to obtain damages following injuries from a drunk driving accident. You must show the driver was sufficiently intoxicated to lose control of his or her mental or physical faculties, that the intoxication was the cause of your injuries and that your injuries were the result of the “wanton and reckless” disregard for the safety of others by the intoxicated driver. It is not essential that you prove the driver was legally intoxicated, only that his or her mental and/or physical capabilities were impaired. The “wanton and reckless” element is fairly subjective, as there is no precise definition from the courts. The facts and circumstances in your specific case will be considered, including the driver’s BAC.
Your Claim Resulting from Drunk Driving Accident Injury
As the victim of a drunk driving accident in the state of Louisiana, you are allowed to seek both compensatory and punitive damages. The category of compensatory damages can be further categorized into special damages and general damages. Special damages can be estimated or calculated and include:
- Medical expenses—past, current and future;
- Lost wages—past and future;
- Any rehabilitative therapies you may require as a result of your injuries;
- Repairs or replacement of your vehicle, and
- Vehicle rental expenses.
You can make your attorney’s job much easier by keeping careful track of all your medical expenses related to the accident, as well as any other expenses related to the accident. With these expense reports in hand, your Hoffoss Devall attorney can determine the amount you are owed. General damages can be more difficult to calculate because they are much more subjective.
General damages can include the following:
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of consortium (spousal support);
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages may also be appropriate, depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident. Punitive damages are meant to punish the drunk driver and act as a deterrent for others against drunk driving. Not every drunk driving case will have punitive damages as a component. Your Hoffoss Devall attorney will also consider the Louisiana statutes of limitations—the time you have in which to bring a claim for damages and injuries, ensuring you do not miss any crucial deadlines. In the state of Louisiana, the statute is one year for most injury claims.
How a Hoffoss Devall Drunk Driving Injury Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured by a drunk driver it is important to know that Louisiana drunk driving auto accidents can potentially create multiple issues as well as significant losses. For these reasons, it is particularly important that you contact an experienced Hoffoss Devall drunk driving injury attorney who handles this type of car accidents and injuries. You also need a drunk driving accident attorney who has the resources necessary to hire experts who can increase the value of your case.
Contact a knowledgeable Hoffoss Devall drunk driving injury attorney today for a free consultation and answers to your questions.