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.
There are many more factors to consider when calculating how much your case is worth. Contact the drunk driving accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson at (800) LAW-0804 to discuss the unique details of your case to get an accurate estimate of the value of your case.
Drunk driving accidents usually result in settlements averaging between $80,000 to $125,000, but can range from a few thousand to over a million dollars.
Every accident is different, and so is the settlement. According to NOLO, a multiplier between 1.5 and 5 is used to calculate your settlement. Your lawyer will negotiate the multiplier with the insurance company depending upon the severity of your injuries.
Minimum insurance requirements in North Carolina are only $30,000 for bodily injury for one person and $60,000 for bodily injury for two or more people. Property damage minimum coverage is only $25,000, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
That leaves a maximum settlement through the defendant’s insurance company at $85,000 if you had someone else in your vehicle with you.
Settlements for drunk driving accidents vary as much as the severity of the injuries and property damage caused.
Say, for example, a 32-year-old man has a few drinks at a bar with his friends. He feels sober enough to drive, so he gets in his pickup truck and proceeds to drive himself home.
On the way home, he has trouble concentrating on the road and drifts into oncoming traffic. He collides with a small economy car.
The driver and front seat passenger are killed, and the two young passengers in the backseat are severely injured. When the police arrive, they give the man a breathalyzer test and find his blood alcohol content to be 0.95.
The settlement in this tragedy would understandably be large.
Consider another example. The same man leaves the bar and drives home. This time, he does not recognize that the work truck ahead of him has stopped at a traffic light.
He rear-ends the vehicle. The driver develops whiplash, and his truck has substantial damage to the rear, but it can be repaired.
The settlement for this accident would be substantially less than the first example.
There are several types of compensation available to victims of motor vehicle collisions.
When you are injured in an accident, you must get medical attention.
Medical bills in the United States are very expensive and add up quickly. They are often the most costly part of the accident.
Your medical bills include transportation by ambulance, emergency department care, hospitalization, diagnostic imaging, surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy, medication, specialized equipment and homecare, and more.
Most people are unable to work while they recover from their injuries. Losing your income is stressful, especially when bills are accumulating. These lost earnings will be included in your claim.
Suppose the accident has left you unable to continue your work, or you need to take on a role with a lower salary. In that case, you can also claim this loss as economic damage.
If you are no longer able to continue in your profession, your future earning potential will be used to calculate your lost earning capacity.
Your vehicle and anything else you had with you is your property. Any damage to these items will have to be recovered through payment for repair, replacement, or the reduction of their value.
Serious injuries cause excruciating pain. You deserve to be compensated for your discomfort that was caused by the accident. Pain is usually short-term and fades as your injuries heal. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes chronic and can last for years or even be permanent.
Drunk driving accidents are traumatic. Many victims find themselves feeling fearful after an accident.
Serious injury, entrapment, and fatalities escalate emotional trauma. Some people develop anxiety, depression, phobias, decreased mental capacity, difficulty concentrating, or post-traumatic stress disorder, among other mental anguish-related issues.
The accident itself or the subsequent injuries and disabilities can greatly impact someone’s life.
Long-term and permanent injuries are a harsh reality for many survivors of drunk driving accidents. Suddenly becoming unable to do something you love can lead to severe depression. Loss of autonomy is humiliating and makes people feel like a burden to their families. Even losing the ability to work or earn the same income level as before the accident and then watching your family struggle can be heartbreaking. These losses can change your personality and outlook on life, and you should be compensated for that.
The accident may leave you with injuries or disabilities that change your relationships with your loved ones. For example, how can you hug your family members if you have become paralyzed or when your arms have been amputated? Perhaps your spouse and children once saw you as strong and dependable, but now you can barely move and are constantly irritable because of your chronic pain. You can seek compensation for losing the dynamic of these relationships.
Permanent injuries quite literally change your life forever. They change the way you live, your relationships, and how others see you.
People may stare at your scars or look at you with pity when they see your disability leading to frustration, humiliation, and depression. Compensation for any permanent damage is usually substantial.
When someone is killed in a drunk driving accident, the family members of the victim have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the drunk driver. They would, however, have to prove that their loved one’s death was caused by the driver’s negligence.
The compensation for a wrongful death claim is similar to what the victim would have received had they not died from the accident.
Not all accidents warrant punitive damages. They are meant to financially punish the defendant and are reserved for the most reckless of drivers, but drunk drivers often qualify.
The victim would have to prove that the driver acted with either fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct in order to receive punitive damages.
North Carolina law prevents awards for punitive damages from exceeding three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
The best way to establish the value of your claim for damages is to speak with our experienced drunk driving acciddent lawyers. It is our business to know what to expect as compensation for your accident.
Call (800) LAW-0804 today, so we can discuss the details of your case and get you paid as soon as possible.