When drunk driving results in an accident, any resulting litigation can be different than with other accidents. Louisiana law says that if a drunk driver is more than 25 percent at fault for a car accident, they are barred from recovering damages. This can make it easier for injury victims to recover compensation in court.
If you were injured due to a drunk driver, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit with the help of a Lafayette drunk driving accident lawyer. A personal injury attorney could serve as your advocate and advisor at every step of the case.
Common Drunk Driving Accident Scenarios
Any type of car accident can happen with a drunk driver, including bad weather, rear-end, and side-impact collisions. Drunk driving accidents often happen late at night or very early in the morning after people have a night of revelry. They usually occur closer to the denser city areas with late-night establishments. Drunk driving accidents often occur at intersections because drunk drivers cannot react as quickly to traffic control devices as sober drivers.
Drunk driving crashes can occur when a driver has any alcohol in their system, including wine, beer, or liquor. It also takes much less alcohol to affect a person’s ability to think clearly and react quickly than many people realize. The legal limit, 0.08, is actually very low. A few beers while watching the Saints game at a local bar could be enough.
In some cases, an intoxicated driver has not used alcohol. Instead, they used drugs that altered their abilities. These substances could include:
- Illicit drugs
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter drugs
Driving under the influence could involve anything a person ingests that affects their ability to drive safely, uphold their duty to not endanger others, and follow applicable traffic laws. Our attorneys may be able to help you discover what caused the at-fault driver’s intoxication and help you build a case to hold them responsible for your damages.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving accident lawyer serving Lafayette, call (337) 223-9925
Comparative Fault and Drunk Driving
If the injured person was somewhat at fault for the accident, lawyers could still point the blame and place a lot of comparative fault on the drunk driver. Each side will always try to apportion most of the blame on the other side.
This is true in all car accident cases in Louisiana. CC Art. 2323 allows all involved in a crash to sue based on the other involved parties’ percentage of shared fault in most accidents. This means someone who is 75 percent at fault for a crash can sue for 25 percent of their losses.
If the injury victim was drinking and driving, however, the case may be much more difficult. Unlike accidents involving sober drivers, drunk drivers are barred from recovery if they were more than 25 percent at fault. Our team understands how these laws work. We can assess your case and determine how the laws will affect your claim or lawsuit.
Lafayette Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Near Me (337) 223-9925
Damages in an Intoxicated Driving Collision
In drunk driving accident litigation, injured parties can seek three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages cover calculable losses such as medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are more difficult to assign a dollar value to. They include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional trauma. Accident victims can also seek and recover future costs, such as ongoing medical care expenses, and additional intangible losses.
We value our clients’ compensable damages by:
- Gathering documents such as receipts and estimates
- Interviewing experts, including doctors, economists, and others as needed
- Using common techniques to determine a value for non-economic losses
In a drunk driving accident, a person may also receive punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish bad behavior and discourage the drunk driver from participating in that type of activity again.
However, punitive damages are rare in car accident cases in Louisiana. Our attorneys will discuss this possibility with you if we believe they may apply in your case.
Proving Negligence and Holding the At-Fault Motorist Liable for Your Injuries
Drunk drivers often face two separate cases against them. There is their criminal case after police arrest them for violating drunk driving laws and the civil case that allows victims to pursue compensation for the expenses and losses they incurred.
It is important to remember that these cases do not directly affect one another. A driver does not have to be criminally guilty of drunk driving to be held liable for paying compensation to victims of a crash they caused.
While proving the driver was drunk may significantly help our case, we do not have to prove that to recover compensation for our client. We only need to show the at-fault driver acted negligently. This requires showing:
- The driver had an obligation to follow a specific law or rule
- They failed to do so
- This failure caused the crash
- Our client suffered harm as a result
For example, we may file a claim for our client that shows:
- The other driver ran a red light because they were intoxicated
- Their failure to stop at the intersection caused the crash
- Our client suffered injuries and damages
We can file an insurance claim, demand just compensation for our client, and negotiate with the insurer for an appropriate settlement. We can also sue if necessary. We are a contingency-fee law firm and represent our clients with no upfront costs.
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Get Help from a Lafayette Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Lafayette and throughout Louisiana. Authorities try to crack down on DUIs, yet people still choose to get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. Car accidents that drunk drivers cause can be especially tragic, since they are so easily preventable.
If you were hurt in a collision with a drunk driver, do not hesitate to seek help from a personal injury attorney. A Lafayette drunk driving accident lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can analyze the facts of your case and determine liability. We can then fight to hold the at-fault party accountable for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages.
Call (337) 777-7777 today to schedule a consultation and begin fighting for fair compensation.