Athens routinely makes the list of the best places to live in Alabama due to its proximity to business centers, as well as its ample offering of shopping and dining establishments. The city is also known as one of the safest in the state, with a low crime rate. Unfortunately, crime isn’t the only threat to safety that one can face.
Alabama is also one of the worst states in the nation in terms of drunk driving. If you have been injured in an Athens motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drunk driver, an experienced DUI accident attorney from Morris Bart can help you understand how to obtain compensation for your injuries and inform you of the services they can provide to assist you with your claim.
Seeking Compensation After an Athens DUI Accident
According to a report from The News Courier, more than 250 people are killed each year on Alabama’s roadways as a result of alcohol-impaired drivers, making it among the most dangerous states in the nation. About one-third of the fatal accidents that occur in Alabama features a driver who has at least some measurable blood alcohol content, though drivers are permitted to operate their vehicle on the roadway with up to .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood as indicated by a blood or breath alcohol test.
Alcohol impairment is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Alabama. Those who are injured in accidents that were caused by a driver who is impaired by alcohol can seek compensation through the personal injury claims process. This process may include the following:
- A demand made to the at-fault party’s insurance provider
- Settlement negotiations between the insurance provider and your attorney in order to garner fair compensation for your injuries
- In lieu of a resolution by settlement, the filing of a personal injury lawsuit within two years of when the accident occurred
Can You Seek Compensation from Someone Who Has Been Arrested?
Driving under the influence of alcohol, with an impairment limit of .08 blood alcohol content or above is a crime in Alabama that can result in up to a year in jail, even on the first offense. Causing an accident while driving drunk in which someone is injured or killed opens the driver up to the potential of even more serious consequences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million drivers are arrested each year in the U.S. for drunk driving — roughly one percent of the 111 million adults who drink and drive on U.S. roadways annually.
However, this should not negatively impact your ability to make a claim. Most personal injury claims seek compensation not from the at-fault party directly, but from the provider of an associated insurance policy, such as their auto liability policy. Because of this, you can seek compensation even if the driver has been arrested, is incarcerated, or has a criminal case pending due to the drunk driving that resulted in your accident.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Drunk driving accidents are capable of causing some of the most serious injuries a person can incur. Personal injury claimants in Athens can seek to obtain compensation for both the expenses and impacts they incurred as a result of the accident.
Examples of the types of expenses and impacts Athens DUI accident claimants seek include:
- Medical expenses,
- Wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage (the car you were driving when the accident occurred)
- Physical or emotional pain and suffering
For a free legal consultation with a Drunk Driving Accident lawyer serving Athens, call (800) 537-8185
The foundation of a positive outcome to a drunk driving accident claim is the ability to prove that someone else was liable for the accident. Liability is a term used to refer to the legal responsibility that someone has for inflicting bodily injury or property damage on someone else. Liability is most often the result of negligence, which is careless or reckless behavior such as drunk driving.
Elements of Liability
In order to prove someone else’s liability for injuries sustained in an Athens DUI accident, the following elements of negligence must be shown:
- The at-fault party had a duty to drive safely and legally in order to protect the health and property of others.
- There was a breach in this duty that occurred when the at-fault party chose to drive while impaired by alcohol.
- The breach caused the accident, which resulted in injuries to the claimant.
Evidence that Can Prove Your Accident Was the Result of Drunk Driving
In order to satisfy the elements needed to prove liability, you will have to produce evidence to back up your claim that the at-fault party was intoxicated at the time of the accident. This is where an arrest of the drunk driver on the scene, and/or a conviction in court works in your favor, as these are both powerful pieces of evidence in a drunk driving claim.
However, other types of evidence that can also be used include:
- The police report, which could have indications such as the performance of a field sobriety test, or interviews in which the officer detected the smell of alcohol, noticed open containers, or the reported behavior of the driver at the time of the investigation.
- The results of blood alcohol or breath alcohol tests that would indicate a level of impairment.
- The statements of eyewitnesses or the footage from surveillance video that would reveal risky driving by the at-fault party.
It is important to remember that civil matters such as personal injury claims do not have as high of a burden of proof as criminal matters do. While the prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was drunk, a claimant in a personal injury drunk driving accident case only has to prove that the alcohol impairment “more likely than not” was the cause of the accident. This is known as a preponderance of evidence.
How an Experienced Athens DUI Accident Attorney Can Help
An Athens DUI accident attorney can bring the experience of years of education and training to your case, along with the ability to guide you into making the best legal decisions possible in regard to your claim. For more information about how an experienced Athens drunk driving accident attorney from Morris Bart can help you with your claim, contact us for a free case evaluation.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.