Alabama has a severe problem with drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our state has DUI fatality rates more than 1.5 times the national average. SafeWise analyzed drunk driving fatality data and found that Alabama ranked seventh in the nation in 2019 in impaired driving deaths.
If you were a DUI wreck victim, you should work with a drunk driving accident lawyer in Birmingham who can help you understand your rights and pursue compensation at no upfront cost. Call Morris Bart & Associates, LLC today at (205) 380-4158 for a free no-obligation consultation.
Drunk Drivers Threaten Innocent Lives
Driving while drunk or otherwise impaired is arguably the most reckless decision that a motorist can make. Being under the influence of alcohol increases a driver’s likelihood of causing an accident tremendously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines the vital driving skills affected by being drunk:
- Reaction time: Drinking increases the time that the driver needs to process information. This delay creates a more significant time gap between a driver becoming aware of possible danger (such as a vehicle they are about to strike) and the driver reacting to the threat by braking or swerving.
- Vision: Being drunk can impair the driver’s vision. This could mean having blurred vision, double vision, or difficulty distinguishing colors.
- Judgment: Alcohol increases the likelihood that a driver will make an impulsive or otherwise risky choice, which often puts other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians at risk.
When an extremely intoxicated driver’s judgment is impaired, they may be more likely to drive impulsively or exercise poor judgment by:
- Driving dangerously close to the car in front of them.
- Changing lanes abruptly and without signaling.
- Swerving in and out of their lane.
- Running red lights.
- Turning in front of oncoming traffic.
- Failing to stop at stop signs.
- Taking their attention away from the road for dangerously long periods.
- Acting in other ways that increase the risk of injury and death to others on and around the road.
These characteristic behaviors of drunk drivers may have factored into your accident and resulting injuries. Regardless of whether a drunk driver directly caused an accident or not, the fact that they were drunk could make them legally liable for the consequences of the collision. You might benefit from discussing your case with a Birmingham drunk driving accident attorney.
For a free legal consultation with a Drunk Driving Accident lawyer serving Birmingham, call 800-537-8185
Insurance May Not Be Enough to Cover Your Losses
If a drunk driver has insurance, that policy could cover some or all of the losses incurred because of the driver’s intoxication. However, in other cases, insurance will not provide coverage if a driver is intoxicated.
If a drunk driver’s insurance company offers you a settlement, it is often wise not to accept the offer immediately. Instead, you might want to get in touch with a drunk driving accident lawyer in Birmingham who is experienced in handling DUI injury and wrongful death claims.
They can advise you on your legal options and how accepting an insurance settlement could affect your ability to pursue compensation through other means, such as a lawsuit.
Birmingham Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-537-8185
Drunk Driving and Alabama Law
There are few cases of negligence more straightforward than a DUI accident resulting in injuries or death. A driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the legal limit established in Alabama Code § 32-5A-191 has acted negligently by driving their vehicle.
- For most drivers over the age of 21, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%.
- For drivers under age 21, the BAC limit is 0.02%.
- Other exceptions include a legal limit of 0.02% BAC for school bus or daycare drivers and 0.04% for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
An intoxicated driver could be charged with criminally negligent homicide if someone dies in the accident, according to Alabama Criminal Code § 13A-6-4(c). Because of such clear-cut negligence, you would have a strong case for financial awards if that driver’s actions negatively impacted you.
Civil vs. Criminal Proceedings in DUI Cases
A prosecutor can bring criminal charges against someone caught driving with their BAC over the legal limit, even if there was no accident or damages. The goal of criminal proceedings is to improve public safety by getting the driver off the road or deter them from driving drunk in the future.
On the other hand, a civil lawsuit is filed against the driver by the injured party after an accident. The goal of civil proceedings is to secure compensation for expenses incurred by the victim. The judge may also order the defendant to pay punitive damages in a civil DUI case.
Criminal and civil cases work entirely independently of one another, and the verdict in one does not automatically affect the outcome of the other. For example, the burden of proof is lower in civil cases, so even a driver found not guilty in criminal court may be held liable for injuries and damages.
Conversely, a guilty criminal verdict will strengthen a related civil case, but it does not guarantee a favorable ruling.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Civil Suits in Birmingham?
You do not necessarily have to wait for criminal proceedings against the driver who caused your accident to finish before preparing your civil suit. In fact, because of legally imposed time limits, you should act as soon as possible.
In Alabama, the statute of limitations requires you to file your personal injury claim within two years of the accident. However, if you didn’t realize you were injured during those two years, you are allowed an additional six months after you discovered your injuries to file your suit.
If you neglect to file your case within the legally required time frame, no matter how strong your evidence or how much you suffered in losses, it will likely be thrown out of court. To retain your rights, speak to a DUI accident victim lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible.
The Duties of a Lawyer in a DUI Negligence Case
The duties of a drunk driving accident attorney in Birmingham from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC are far reaching. Among them will be:
- Listening to and recording your account of the accident
- Collecting all available evidence of your accident, which may include police reports, breathalyzer results, blood tests of the defendant, video recordings of the accident or the defendant’s past behavior, pictures of the crash, and any other relevant evidence
- Obtaining documentation of your injuries
- Interviewing eyewitnesses to the defendant’s drinking before they drove, their dangerous behavior while on the road, and the accident itself
- Obtaining testimony from anyone who can attest to the defendant’s history of dangerous drinking behavior (if they have one)
- Filing your case in court
- Exploring all settlement options that may be available to you
- Overseeing your legal needs from the beginning of your case through its completion
- Defending your rights
You may be recovering from serious injuries or coping with the loss of a loved one. Our team can allow you to focus entirely on recovery or mourning while we handle every facet of your pursuit of compensation.
Victims of DUI Negligence May Collect Compensation
Drunk driving is an issue for which society at large – and many jurors – have a high intolerance. According to the CDC, approximately 29 people die each day in the United States because of drunk drivers. The black-and-white nature of a DUI accident means that you may be able to collect awards because of your lawsuit.
Every case is different, but possible awards resulting from a lawsuit may include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses related to the DUI accident
- Wages or salary that you have forfeited because of the accident and your subsequent period of recovery
- Pain and suffering caused to you by the accident
- Any other losses you have incurred because of the accident
It is essential to know that even if you were partly to blame for the accident, a drunk driver might ultimately be found responsible for your damages.
Call Our Team at the Morris Bart Law Office Today
An accident with a drunk driver can significantly alter your life. Whether you are struggling with ongoing pain, the inability to work, or crushing medical bills, you deserve compensation. Our team of experienced Birmingham drunk driving accident lawyers at Morris Bart & Associates, LLC can help.
We have litigated DUI negligence cases before, and we can handle your case. Call the Morris Bart law office today at (205) 380-4158 for a free consultation with a member of our team.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.