FAQs for Accidents with a Drunk Driver

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If you are caught in a car accident where the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is a good possibility that you can receive reimbursement for any injuries you receive as a result of the accident. You will also most likely be able to file a personal-injury lawsuit against the at-fault, or in this case, intoxicated driver.

Regardless of the Type of Accident, Insurance Claims Are the Best for Receiving Compensation

In every state, including South Carolina, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, including insurance for uninsured drivers. This means that if you are injured in an accident, there will be an insurance claim to open.

Was there a DUI Conviction? If so, Good News!

In most cases, insurance companies will not try to avoid a lawsuit. However, one instance where insurance companies will try to avoid a suit is in the case of their insured being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Insurance companies know that if a lawsuit against their insured driver goes to trial, juries will most likely end up paying more for a sympathetic plaintiff than if they just paid out of the policy. So, even if an injury settlement is high, settling out of court will be in the insurance companies’ best interest. And in this case, your
best interest as well.

No Fault Laws

If you happen to live in a state with a no-fault law, then you will most likely file a claim with your own insurance company, regardless of if you caused the accident or not. But, if you live in South Carolina, there are no at-fault laws in effect! This means that if you are injured in an accident, and not at-fault, then you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company.

Being in any accident can be devastating and getting in an accident as a result of a drunk driver can be even more so. Never forget that you have a right to seek fair compensation for all injuries you have sustained, including the emotional toll it has taken on you and your body.

I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver – What Compensation can I Receive?

If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you are entitled to two types of damages: 1. Actual. 2. Punitive. Any settlement you receive will be because of these factors, and how they have negatively changed/impacted your life.

Actual damages are the amount of your medical bills, any lost income due to the accident, property damage (like your car’s damages), and other financial losses and pain and suffering due to the accident. Actual damages can consist of dollar amounts that are easy to quantify (like medical bills) and other costs like pain and suffering which are not as easy to assign a financial amount to.

A list of Economic Damages can include:
  • Medical expenses due to the accident (past or future since the accident)
  • Any rehabilitation needed due to the accident
  • Lost income (past or future since the accident)
  • Loss of earning ability
  • Lost financial or business opportunities
  • Loss of property use,
    • The cost of property replacement and/or repair of property damage
  • Rental vehicle expenses
A list of non-economic damages can include:
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental disability and impairment
  • Inconvenience
  • Embarrassment
  • And others

There are also non-pecuniary damages. These damages are given in proportion to the severity of the victim’s injuries. If there is a significant injury or death due to the actions of a drunk driver, there must also be significant compensation.

Punitive damages are different. Punitive damages are enacted to discourage bad behavior like, in this instance, driving drunk or high. This is not only for the driver themselves, but for others who may consider driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By enacting a harsh penalty on one drunk driver, a message can be sent to the community that drunk driving will not be tolerated. In order to receive punitive damages, the victim must show that the defendant acted willfully or recklessly.

If you have been injured in an accident due to a drunk driver, you should be pursuing both actual and punitive damages. In most cases, the drunk driver’s insurance company will pay the settlement.

What is the Average Settlement for Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver?

Unfortunately, since every case/accident is different, there is no “average” settlement for victims of a drunk driver.

It is common to want to know how much money you will receive, or how long the case will take to be closed, but there are dozens of other factors that play into how long it will take to settle your case. Your attorney needs time to consider these factors and provide an estimate for your compensation.

The analysis can also change dramatically depending on your recovery (or howyou do not recover) due to your injuries, and other information collected during the investigation of the accident.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, and whether the fault lies clearly with the intoxicated driver, the settlement could be higher. Again, the amount of compensation you receive after your accident will vary depending on a number of extenuating circumstances that your lawyer would have to observe.

Liability and Pursuing your Settlement

For a settlement to be evaluated against a drunk driver, there must be an investigation into the liability of the driver. Once liability is established, and if it clearly shows the drunk driver at fault, the settlement will be dependent on the type of damages, the facts of the case, and the anticipation of what a jury would award the victim if the case went to trial.

On average, most cases will settle before a suit has to be filed. This is why it is imperative that a victim of a drunk driver’s accident is represented by a personal injury lawyer with significant experience with personal injury and drunk driving car accidents.

Contact Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney at 843.636.TREY for a legal consultation today. Contacting car accident attorney Trey Harrell is FREE. Getting Advice from attorney Trey Harrell about your car accident claim is FREE. Further, you don’t pay attorney Trey Harrell for representing you in a car accident unless the Trey Harrell Law Office wins your case. There is almost no reason not to at least call 843.636.TREY and ask a question.

An experienced personal injury attorney at Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney that can determine exactly who is responsible for your injuries, who understands exactly how to find the proper insurance coverage and who knows how to fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your case. Schedule your free consultation with our award-winning local attorney today by calling 843.636.TREY or filling out our online survey.

Disclaimer: Information in this blog is intended for informative purposes only and not legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney before you make any decisions on legal matters. Further, viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney. Matters will be handled by an attorney who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Charleston, SC 29407. Robert W. “Trey” Harrell, III is the attorney responsible for this posting.

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