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Memphis DUI Accident Claims
Injuries and fatalities that result from accidents where a driver was operating a vehicle under the influence are some of the most tragic, because they are also some of the most preventable. A driver is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI) if they are over an individual state's threshold for minimum alcohol or drug intoxication level.
DUI accidents can leave innocent passengers with debilitating injuries, permanent scars, and mental trauma. However, all is not lost. Victims can file car accident lawsuits against the perpetrators of the accident and recover compensation for the various expenses they have to bear with.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a DUI accident, you may be eligible to receive remuneration for your injuries. Receive afree case review from a knowledgeable Memphis DUI accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan by filling out the simple form on the right.
DUI Accident Lawsuits
After a DUI accident victim has sought medical treatment for their injuries, they can begin to think about their legal options going forward. Since DUI is a serious crime, prosecution will begin soon after the accident and the perpetrator may be tried under criminal law. Whether or not a driver is found guilty, or even charged with DUI, a civil lawsuit can be filed by a victim of a crash involving someone possibly driving under the influence. This civil suit can seek monetary compensation for medical bills (past, present, and future), lost wages, and pain and suffering. In addition, the victim may also be awarded punitive damages in order to punish the driver and discourage others from behaving in a similar fashion.
Tennessee Dram Shop Liability
A dram shop is a bar, store, or tavern that sells alcoholic beverages. Within the United States, some states and jurisdictions allow for victims of DUI accidents to sue the dram shop that provided alcohol to the perpetrator, provided that the server was aware the perpetrator was underage or intoxicated at the time of purchase. This provides another possible source for compensation, if an accident allows for this type of lawsuit. In Tennessee, a dram shop case is allowed to proceed if the establishment:
"(1) Sold or furnished the alcoholic beverage or beer to a person known to be under the age of twenty-one (21) years and such person caused the personal injury or death as the direct result of the consumption of the alcoholic beverage or beer so sold or furnished; or (2) Sold or furnished the alcoholic beverage or beer to an obviously intoxicated person and such person caused the personal injury or death as the direct result of the consumption of the alcoholic beverage or beer so sold or furnished."
In these situations, experienced lawyers can work to prove that the alcohol sold by the establishment was the proximate cause of the accident and resulting injuries or death, allowing for possible additional compensation for the victim.
Driving under the Influence of Drugs
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a widely-discussed, well-known problem. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that a total of 10,228 people were killed in alcohol related crashes. Though not as widely discussed, many fatal accidents involve drivers under the influence of drugs. In 2009 alone, there were 3,952 drugged driving deaths. If an attorney can prove that a driver's motor skills were impaired because of drug use, a civil suit could recover potentially substantial damages for the victim.
Memphis DUI Accident Attorneys
More than a quarter of United States accident fatalities involve a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These accidents often yield horrific accidents and incapacitating injuries for victims, leading to considerable physical, mental, and financial hardships. A skilled attorney can help you through this difficult process to find the possible sources of liability (individual, dram shop, etc.) and attain the highest form of legal compensation possible.
If you or someone you know was injured in a drunk driving accident, fill out the simple form on the right to receive a free, no-obligation consultationfrom one of the dedicated and compassionate Memphis DUI accident lawyers from Morgan & Morgan.
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What Should I Do Following an Accident With an Intoxicated Driver?
You should follow the same steps after a drunk driving accident as you would in any other accident. It is crucial to check everyone involved in the collision for injuries. If anyone requires immediate medical treatment, call for an ambulance immediately. With every minute that passes, wounds may worsen and result in a fatality.
Call for police assistance as quickly as possible. While not typical, sometimes drivers under the influence will attempt to flee the crash scene, especially if they know they are above state alcohol limits for driving or have recently used drugs.
While you are on the phone with the police, give them basic information about the other vehicles involved in the accident. Details like the make and model of the car and its license plate number are beneficial.
Afterward, you will need to wait for the police to arrive. Do not attempt to have a conversation with the other driver. Sometimes, people in the wrong will become belligerent, which can worsen matters.
Should I Accept a Settlement From the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
When insurance providers hear of a drunk driving accident perpetrated by their customers, they will likely try to offer you a settlement as quickly as possible. They know they won’t have much defense if you decide to sue because their client broke the law. It is in their best interests to settle and mitigate potential damage to company profits.
Don’t accept their offer, especially if you or your passengers suffered serious injuries. While a settlement may sound nice, especially if you need the money, you could be passing up compensation to help you pay medical bills or replace lost income.
Instead, set up a consultation with a Memphis DUI accident lawyer. Your attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your case and review documentation of your injuries to determine how much your case is worth.
If they find that your case warrants compensation, they will pursue a lawsuit and work toward a fair settlement on your behalf.
What Should I Do If an Insurance Agency Asks for a Recorded Statement From Me Regarding the Accident?
Do not provide an insurance provider with recorded or written statements regarding the accident. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit against the drunk driver, the defendant’s legal team will closely scrutinize any information you provide. You don’t want to say anything that may unintentionally hurt your case.
Instead, seek the advice of a skilled attorney at Morgan & Morgan and allow them to handle any communication with insurance companies on your behalf.
Will My Case Be Affected if I Am Partially at Fault?
Tennessee is an at-fault state, which means that the driver responsible for the accident must pay for any damage. However, the state also uses modified comparative negligence. Under modified comparative negligence rules, the court will reduce any damages you win by the amount you are at fault for the accident.
For instance, if you made a right turn on red without stopping and a drunk driver hit your vehicle, you may be found partially at fault for the accident. If the court finds that you are less than 50% responsible for the collision, you may still collect damages.
An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you had any responsibility for the accident. They will also determine the extent of your fault and consider it when negotiating with the defendant’s legal team.
What Kind of Damages Can I Collect in a DUI Accident?
DUI accidents often result in significant monetary awards, especially in cases where the innocent driver sustained severe injuries. Your attorney will help you determine the financial compensation you are due.
Typically, you can recoup compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost time from work, and damage to your vehicle or other property. You may also receive compensation for your losses if you have suffered disability, disfigurement, or emotional distress from your accident.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Under Tennessee state law, all drivers must carry automobile insurance that provides liability coverage to other drivers hurt in a collision. However, some people choose to disobey the law and don’t purchase insurance.
If the other driver does not have insurance, you can pursue a personal civil case against them. However, if they don’t have assets or much money, you may not be able to recover much.
Sometimes, drivers purchase collision and uninsured motorist coverage. If you have collision and uninsured motorist coverage, you may collect compensation directly from your insurance provider.
To ensure that you recoup enough money to cover your expenses, work with an attorney who can negotiate with your insurance provider and obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim Against an Intoxicated Driver?
Each state has statute of limitations laws that limit the time a victim has to file a personal injury case. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations is one year. Thus, you’ll want to start your lawsuit immediately following an accident.
In some instances, the court may extend the statute of limitations to two years if the incident involved criminal charges. Since a person driving under the influence is likely to face criminal charges, a court may decide that your case meets the two-year statute of limitations requirement.
However, that’s no reason to wait. An attorney will need time to assemble the evidence of your case, talk with witnesses, review the police report, and speak with your medical team. Developing a case strategy takes time.
You will also need the money from your lawsuit to cover medical expenses and lost income if you cannot work due to your injuries. The sooner you start the legal process, the quicker you may receive funds from a settlement or court verdict.