Being hit by a drunk driver is often highly detrimental, sometimes fatal. Drunk driving accidents result in the death of at least 32 people every day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) statistics show that 56% of drivers in a fatal accident tested positive for at least one illicit substance. In 2023, almost 1/3 of car accident fatalities involve drunk drivers, making the yearly cost for alcohol-related accidents over 44 billion dollars.
These kinds of accidents create difficult circumstances, calling for extreme attention to detail. With drunk driving accidents, it is imperative to quickly hire a personal injury (P.I.) lawyer. This is because an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to obtain all necessary evidence, communicate with insurance companies efficiently, and take strategic legal action.
Damages to Claim
With any kind of car accident, you are able to receive compensatory damages. These damages are distributed to build a foundation that a car wreck will have taken from you. What can be included in these damages are medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any permanent damage to your body due to that wreck.
If the person that caused the wreck was also under the influence, you may be able to receive “punitive damages”. Rather than focusing on just your medical treatment and personal betterment, punitive damages are filed with two goals; punishing the at-fault for their wrongful behavior and setting an example of the at-fault to deter others from doing the same thing. Awarded punitive damages can potentially far exceed other damages awarded.
Other Parties At-Fault
If we zoom out and look at the whole picture, there might be others at fault for a drunk driving accident. There are two laws that allow you to file damages against people other than the one that was intoxicated behind the wheel.
The first is called “Social Host Liability”. In Missouri, this law states that the host of a social event can be held criminally liable for over-serving a guest. This does not apply to stores that sell alcohol that is not consumed on the property, nor does it apply to a social host that is not selling alcohol for profit. The second law is called the “Missouri Dram Shop Law”. This law concerns any licensed establishment selling alcohol that is consumed on the premises. Unlike the “Social Host Liability Law”, this law pertains specifically to these commercial establishments. Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants that sell alcohol fall under the parameters of the “Missouri Dram Shop Law”, and can be held responsible for any injury caused by a patron that they knowingly overserved.
Martin & Wallentine, LLC
If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver, it is imperative that you hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Jerry Wallentine, our personal injury lawyer, has years of experience in both drunk driving accidents and personal injury. He will be well-versed in all of the steps needed to take in sensitive cases like these.