There is no standard or average settlement for a car accident with a drunk driver because each injury claim is unique. The facts of your situation will determine the amount of recovery you might get. As such, other people in the same collision could have injury claims with a higher or lower settlement value than yours.
Several factors can impact your case’s monetary value. In general, the courts explore how badly you got hurt, how much time you missed from work, any lingering problems you face, and other things that happened to you because of the accident. Let’s take a look at some of these factors.
How the Severity of Your Injuries Can Affect Your Settlement
It is only fair that a person who breaks both legs in a collision with a drunk driver gets more compensation than a person whose only injuries are a few small bruises. This logical approach determines the value of an injury claim by how much the defendant hurt the plaintiff.
The law measures the dollar value of physical harm by the medical bills from the services used to treat the injuries. For example, a person with $20,000 in medical bills will be able to go after more compensation for that loss than a person with $500 in medical bills.
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Lost Income as a Factor in Your Drunk Driving Accident Settlement
People who get hurt in car crashes with drunk drivers often miss time at work, beginning from the day of the accident. They will unlikely be able to keep their regular hours when:
- Receiving initial medical intervention and follow-up procedures
- Going through physical therapy
- Recuperating from their injuries and treatment
Some employers generously pay workers their full wages in these situations, but this is not always the case. If you missed any of your wages, salary, self-employment, or other kinds of regular income because of the accident or your injuries, these losses could be a part of your injury claim as you seek compensation for being hit by a drunk driver.
You Can Seek Damages for Reduced Work Hours
In addition, if you have ongoing health problems from the accident, like a bad back, loss of strength, or other issues after you complete your medical treatment, you might have to reduce your work hours or switch to a lower-paying job. You have a financial loss if that happens, and you can add this loss to your claim.
How Non-Economic Losses Can Increase Your Drunk Driving Collision Injury Settlement
Harm is in the “non-economic” category of damages, and it usually does not involve financial loss as much as things like medical bills and lost wages. Still, these losses are real and legitimate. Often, we can include them in your injury claim.
Here are some examples of non-economic damages, also called intangible losses:
- Pain and suffering: This category of monetary damages acknowledges the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced after being hit by a drunk driver. Merely paying your medical bills and lost income does not compensate you for the pain and other anguish you suffered.
- Disfigurement: If you have significant, permanent scars—particularly in a highly visible location like the face, throat, chest, or arms—as a result of the accident, you might qualify for additional compensation for this loss.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Many people develop PTSD after a crash that involves catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Drunk driving collisions tend to cause severe injuries and deaths. PTSD can devastate a person’s ability to work, have relationships, and function daily.
These are just a few examples of the monetary damages you might be able to pursue after a drunk driving accident.
Holding a Drunk Driver Responsible for Injuries Suffered in an Accident
Before you can collect damages from the liable party in a drunk driving accident, you must prove that they caused your accident and how their negligence led to your injuries. Generally, four elements must be present in a DUI collision to prove negligence. They are:
- Duty of care. This holds that all road users are responsible for keeping others safe by following traffic rules and operating their vehicles with care.
- Breach of duty of care. Drivers who do not follow traffic laws or act responsibly while on the road violate this duty that all drivers have.
- Causation. This involves any action or inaction that directly causes someone and harms them. Driving while under the influence of mind-altering or mood-altering substances can cause an accident.
- Damages. As a result of a drunk driving accident, injured parties suffer damages they should receive compensation for after being hit by a drunk driver.
Many victims in drunk driving collisions are busy focusing on healing from their injuries from DUI-related accidents. This is why some hire drunk driving accident attorneys to lead their compensation case for damages and hold all liable parties responsible for the accidents they cause.
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Why Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations is Critical to a Drunk Driver Accident Settlement
Every state limits the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for your losses. If you miss the deadline, you likely will never be able to get money damages for the harm you suffered.
In Louisiana, the deadlines for filing these lawsuits are unusually short. You have only one year to file a personal injury lawsuit (CC Art. 3492) and one year to file a wrongful death lawsuit (CC Art. 2315.2). The clock starts to run on the date of the accident.
A Stalled Claims Process Could Make You Miss the Filing Deadline
People who try to handle their injury claims on their own without an attorney often fall victim to the statute of limitations. The insurance company’s claims adjuster may drag out the process of administering the claim and negotiating a settlement until the year passes.
After that point, the drunk driver and his insurance company have no legal obligation to pay you a cent, even if your loved one was killed in the crash. At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, our drunk driving car accident attorneys can protect you from this heartbreaking result as long as you come to us in time to file a lawsuit and prevent the deadline from passing.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
It costs nothing to talk to us. We are happy to offer a free initial consultation so that you can find out how we can help you. While there is no average settlement for a car accident with a drunk driver, we can explain the compensation you could recover in your collision. Call us today at (337) 340-8068 for a no-cost consultation. There is no obligation.