There is nothing worse than the sound of crunching metal as you get into a car accident. Whether you saw the car coming or were caught off guard, this is one terrifying moment that most people would rather forget. The entire situation can feel even more stressful if a drunk driver is involved. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you should call a car accident lawyer right away to make sure that your rights are protected.
Is Being Hit by a Drunk Driver Worse Than Getting into a Normal Car Accident?
It can be. As a car accident attorney, I have helped many clients who have suffered extensive injuries after being hit by a drunk driver. Any car accident can result in injuries, but according to the Center for Disease Control, 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths were caused by accidents involving a drunk driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,076 people died in a drunk driving crash in 2013. That represents one person every 52 minutes in the United States. This is a frightening statistic that makes it clear how dangerous getting into a car wreck with a drunk driver really is. In addition to these victims, 290,000 people sustained injuries in drunk driving crashes in 2013. I recommend seeking legal help right away if you or someone you care about has been injured in a car wreck due to a drunk driver.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer? Won’t the Police Arrest the Drunk Driver?
You need an attorney because there are two types of legal cases: criminal and civil. When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will most likely arrest the person that was driving drunk. The prosecutor can then press criminal charges and the matter will be dealt with in court, where they will either be convicted of drunk driving or proven to be innocent of it. Any penalties they receive will be a combination of jail time and fines that are paid to the local government. This will not help you. Sure, you will worry less if their license is taken away, but that will not do anything to help you get well physically or to pay for your mounting medical bills. To seek financial relief, you need to file a suit in civil court. That is where a car accident lawyer becomes helpful.
What Will Happen After a Civil Case is Filed Against the Drunk Driver?
Aside from any criminal proceedings, when a suit is brought against the drunk driver in civil court, a lawyer will probably get involved from their insurance company. Since we will be asking for them to pay a certain amount of money for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc., they may try to cut a deal or negotiate. This is where they make an offer to give you a certain amount of money if you do not go to trial. If this happens, we will sit down and discuss the details of their proposal to see if it makes financial sense for you to accept it.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Represent You in Court After You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
If their settlement offer is not good enough, you may want to go forward with going to trial. If there is clear evidence that they were drunk when they hit you, this could bode well for you in a jury trial. The pros and cons of going to court will need to be weighed against their offer so you can make the best possible decision. As an attorney, my job is to protect my clients’ rights, explain everything in detail, and follow my clients’ wishes. In that regard, I can represent you in court or settle the suit for you through negotiations.
What Will Happen to the Drunk Driver When My Case Is Over?
That depends on a variety of factors. Financially, if a judgment is brought against them (the judge says that they owe you money), they will need to pay you. Usually the money comes from the insurance company. Whether or not they go to jail or have their licensed removed will be determined during their criminal trial.
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, remember that a criminal case will not be enough to get you or your family paid. At The Law Offices of J. Chrisp, we can protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly.