Drunk Driving Accident FAQ

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Are Drunk Drivers Liable for Punitive Damages?

When a drunk driver causes an accident, they must face the consequences. North Carolina has strict laws against driving drunk that have tough penalties for offenders. Punitive damages are typically only awarded to victims of truly reckless or malicious drivers. Drunk driving often fits into this category. What Is Punitive Damage? Punitive damages are meant to punish someone for their actions and to discourage others from committing the same offense. According to North Carolina’s General Statute Chapter 1D, punitive damages are designed to punish the offender for “egregiously wrongful acts” such as driving drunk and the impairment causing an accident.…

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Common Injuries Sustained in Drunk Driving Accidents

Alcohol affects everyone differently. Even when people are still within the legal blood alcohol content limit of under 0.79g/DL, their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. Alcohol begins inhibiting reaction times, decision-making, and coordination right away, according to Healthline. Driving after any amount of alcohol is always a risk. When accidents occur with these people who have chosen to take this chance, drunk driving accident lawyers are ready to help the victims. When Do Most Drunk Driving Accidents Occur? Most drunk driving accidents occur at night on the weekends. This is the time when most people consume alcohol,…

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Do I Need to Go to Court to Recover Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident?

Victims of drunk driving accidents have options when it comes time to recover damages. As long as the victim has no shared responsibility for causing the accident, they can seek compensation for all damages they have received. The first step is to file a claim for damages with the offender’s insurance company. Accidents involving drunk drivers are more complex than those with sober drivers because insurance companies may refuse to pay for drunk drivers, according to Forbes. They will argue that drinking alcohol before or while driving is an intentional act, and insurance does not cover intentional acts. If this…

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Can I Recover Damages if I Was a Passenger in a Car Driven by a Drunk Driver?

All motor vehicle accidents are stressful. There are many different factors involved in every crash. There were more than 250,000 car accidents in North Carolina in 2021, and most of them were caused by distracted driving, speeding, and driving while intoxicated. Traveling in a car on a public road will always involve risks. This danger is why people wear seatbelts and why cars are manufactured with an increasing number of safety features. Victims of car accidents are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries and for damage to their vehicles. Passengers are no exception, as they are just as likely…

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Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if a Loved One Was Killed in a Drunk Driving Accident?

A wrongful death claim is a legal claim that is made when someone dies as the result of someone else’s negligence, legal fault, or criminal act. Wrongful death claims are not the same as criminal charges. Rather, they are civil claims meant to compensate the victim’s family or dependents. Victims killed in drunk driving accidents qualify as having a wrongful death, and their families can sue for compensation. In North Carolina, only the victim’s personal representative or the executor named in their will can file a wrongful death claim. Oftentimes, the victim does not have a personal representative or a…

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Can I Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering After a Drunk Driving Accident?

After falling victim to a drunk driving collision, many people are faced with serious injuries and property losses. If this has happened to you, you are probably wondering how you are going to pay for everything or who is responsible for paying for your medical expenses and vehicle. These expenses are called economic damages, and as long as you were not at fault for the accident, you can file a claim for damages from the driver who was at fault and their insurance company. Average Pain and Suffering Settlement After Being Hit by Drunk Driver The amount of compensation people…

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How Does My Own Insurance Policy Affect My Ability to Recover Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident?

North Carolina requires all drivers to carry minimum insurance in order to drive. This minimum insurance is liability coverage meaning it would pay for any damages the driver caused to someone else. If the other driver does not have insurance, you can turn to your own insurance policy for compensation under your uninsured motorist coverage. You can also turn to your own health insurance policy to pay for your medical expenses. If you are waiting for a settlement with the other driver's insurance company or are waiting for the results of a lawsuit, your health insurance company might put a…

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Can I Recover Damages if the Driver Was Not Charged With a DUI?

Victims of car accidents can recover damages from the driver who caused the accident. In North Carolina, as long as you had no part in causing the collision, you can recover damages regardless of whether the other driver is charged with DUI or not. Contact a drunk driving accident lawyer to discuss the unique details of your case to make sure you know your options and make the best decisions to get your full compensation. If Found Not Guilty, Can I Still Sue? When someone chooses to drive a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol, they are choosing to put everyone’s…

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How Does North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Law Affect My Ability to Recover Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident?

North Carolina has some tough laws regarding motor vehicle accidents. Possibly one of the harshest is the contributory negligence law. In most collisions, one driver is at fault for the accident, and the other driver has the right to claim compensation for damages. The contributory negligence law, according to Forbes, prevents this process from happening if the victim of the accident is partially at fault, even as little as 1% takes away the victim’s ability to receive compensation. Insurance companies are aware of this law and will use it to avoid having to pay for their clients. They will try…

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Can I Recover Damages if I Was Also Intoxicated at the Time of the Accident?

Some accidents are unavoidable by the victim no matter what condition they were in at the time. Unfortunately, the harshness of the laws against drunk driving and determining the amount of fault in a collision in North Carolina are often unforgiving. Possibly one of the harshest laws is the contributory negligence law, according to Forbes. In most collisions, one driver is at fault for the accident, and the other driver has the right to claim compensation for damages. Contributory negligence prevents this process from happening if the victim of the accident is partially at fault. Even as little as 1%…

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How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Drunk Driving Accident?

North Carolina has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim for damages from a motor vehicle accident. You have three years from the date of the collision to file your lawsuit or claim. If someone was killed in the accident, the family has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. It is never wise to wait until the deadline to file for damages. Evidence can disappear and facts become convoluted. It also takes time to gather all documentation and other evidence about your case and then adequately prepare your claim or…

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How Much Is My Drunk Driving Accident Case Worth?

Drunk driving accidents are often more devastating than other car accidents because of the reckless actions of the intoxicated driver. Drunk drivers are more likely to collide with another vehicle at high speeds and head-on, causing horrific injuries and death. The exact amount your drunk driving accident case is worth depends on the factors involved. Were you injured? Were there other people in your vehicle? What is the extent of everyone’s injuries? Was anyone killed? What was the value of your vehicle? Was the drunk driver underage? Does the drunk driver have a history of driving drunk? There are many…

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How Much Do Alcohol-Related Crashes Cost North Carolina Each Year?

There is no excuse for driving drunk in this day and age. There have been so many campaigns and warnings against impaired driving that everyone should know the dangers to themselves and others. Unfortunately, alcohol affects decision-making abilities. Intoxicated people often feel overconfident about their abilities and are not aware of their impairments. There are also people who drink but still feel sober when they begin to drive. They then become intoxicated as the alcohol enters their system while driving. North Carolina police reported 11,090 accidents with a driver or pedestrian having over a 0.01 blood alcohol content level. About…

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Who is Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident?

If you have been involved in an accident, the first thing you should do is call the police. When they arrive, they can test the driver’s blood alcohol content to determine if they were legally drunk at the time of the crash. Intoxicated drivers are usually the ones responsible for causing the collision. The driver whose negligence caused the accident is the one responsible for compensating the victims for their injuries and other damages. Negligence is proven when: The driver owed a duty of care to the other people involved in the accident The driver breached this duty of care…

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What To Do If You’ve Been Hit By a Drunk Driver in North Carolina

All motor vehicle accidents are nerve-wracking. Colliding with another vehicle while driving is a nightmare that every driver hopes to avoid. Unfortunately, some situations cannot be avoided when high speeds, a lack of escape routes, or unpredictable driving are involved. Priority is always placed on preventing collisions, but your actions afterward are also important to avoid further injuries and possible legal headaches. If you see a drunk driver or suspect that the driver of another vehicle is drunk, you should report them to the police immediately. Your call could save lives, including the lives of the drunk driver and their…

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What Is the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case Related to Drunk Driving Accidents?

Civil and criminal cases involve two different types of courts. Cases that go to civil courts are typically victims seeking monetary compensation for damages they suffered. The victims have to prove that the defendant is liable for the damages by proving negligence. On the other hand, criminal court is where the government presses criminal charges against the defendant, and the prosecution has to prove that the defendant is guilty. The defendant faces jail time and fines if convicted in a criminal court. Is a DUI/DWI a Civil or Criminal Charge? Drunk drivers can go to both civil court and criminal…

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What Is a Dram Shop Lawsuit?

A dram shop is a commercial vendor of alcoholic beverages. North Carolina’s dram shop or social host laws allow a victim of a drunk driving accident to sue the restaurant, bar, or property owner that served alcohol to the drunk driver. A business or person can be found partially responsible for the accident if all of the following are true: The drunk driver was under the legal drinking age of 21 years old The person who provided the alcohol was negligent The accident was caused because the driver was drunk The injuries the victim suffered were caused by the underaged…

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What if the Drunk Driver Who Hit Me Was Underage?

Raleigh, North Carolina, is known for its multitude of colleges and universities. According to College Simply, there are almost 160,000 college students living here in and around Raleigh. Unfortunately, the college experience often brings underage drinking with it. Peer pressure is the main reason why underage college students drink alcohol, and most young people do not believe that something as terrible as a major car accident will ever happen to them. Their youth also brings inexperience, so they may not know how seriously alcohol will impair their ability to drive. North Carolina has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for…

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What if the Drunk Driver Was Driving a Commercial Vehicle?

Commercial vehicles take more concentration and skill to operate than regular vehicles. Commercial vehicle operators require special licensing and are held to a higher standard than other motor vehicles. Among these higher standards is a lower legal limit for blood alcohol levels. A blood alcohol content of 0.04 constitutes a driving while intoxicated violation, which is half of what motor vehicle drivers are allowed. If a commercial driver is found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or higher, they immediately face license suspension for 30 days and lose the ability to operate a commercial vehicle for one year.…

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What if I Cannot Afford My Medical Bills After a Drunk Driving Accident?

The medical system in the United States is very expensive. According to Consumer Finance, 43 million people had unpaid medical bills on their credit reports in 2021. Debt collectors contact patients about their medical bills more than any other type of debt. Health insurance is unaffordable for many people and high deductibles can leave patients with crippling debt. Many people are more worried about being able to afford medical treatment than their actual injuries and recovery. If you were injured in an accident that you did not cause, the driver at fault for the accident is responsible for your compensation.…

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What Evidence Is Necessary to Prove a Driver Was Drunk at the Time of the Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents cause disorientation and confusion, especially if you did not see the other car coming. If you have been in an accident, wondering what happened was probably one of your first questions. It is also the question everybody else is going to be asking you. The police, your family, your friends, the doctors, your lawyer, the insurance adjusters, the judge, and the jury, if your case goes to court, are all going to ask you what happened. If the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, there may be more serious repercussions than the damage…

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What Are Common Types of Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers?

All accidents caused by drunk drivers are preventable. There were 11,639 arrests made because of driving while intoxicated in 2019, and 323 people were killed by drunk drivers in that same year. Victims who survived these preventable collisions suffered horrific injuries such as: Traumatic brain injury Organ damage Spinal injuries Paralysis The most common types of accidents caused by drunk drivers are as follows: Rear End Collisions - Alcohol inhibits a driver’s ability to accurately judge distances and delays reaction times. The driver may incorrectly believe there is enough distance to stop, or the driver may be unable to react…

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