Alcohol is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in Nevada. When a driver chooses to drive under the influence, he or she puts the lives of everyone on the road at risk. Every year, nearly one in three fatalities on Nevada’s roadways is the result of an alcohol-related crash. In 2017, there were 192 traffic fatalities in Clark County alone, with 32 of those attributed to alcohol. An additional 60 were caused by a driver being under the influence of multiple substances. Although all 50 states have established strong drunk driving laws to deter driving under the influence, drivers continue to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Nevada Takes Drunk Driving Seriously
Driving under the influence is never okay. In Nevada, anyone caught driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater will receive a DUI. At this level of intoxication, the National Highway Safety Administration has determined that a driver will likely experience reduced information processing, short term memory loss, and difficulty with concentration, all of which affect an individual’s ability to drive safely. For commercial drivers, a 0.04 reading will result in a DUI, and for minors, 0.02 is all it takes. State law requires anyone suspected of driving under the influence to submit to a breath, urine, or blood alcohol test. Refusal to do so will result in an automatic one-year suspension of one’s driver’s license.
A drunk driving conviction carries severe consequences. After the first offense, the driver will have his or her car impounded and face anywhere from two days to six months in jail. Convicted drivers will also be subject to fines, fees, and penalties on their driver’s license, including suspension. After a second offense, a driver will face an automatic felony charge. If you suspect that another driver is under the influence, notify the police right away.
Those criminal penalties, however, won’t result in compensation for your injuries. That requires taking action with the assistance of a car accident lawyer.
Impaired Drivers Put Everyone at Risk
Driving under the influence severely impairs a driver’s ability to make the right decisions on the road. A drunk driver’s actions can be erratic and unpredictable and can lead to unavoidable accidents. Some of the most common accidents caused by drunk driving include:
- Wrong-way accidents: An impaired driver may have difficulty seeing or reading traffic signs. When a driver enters a roadway against the flow of traffic, other drivers may have difficulty seeing or reacting to the wrong-way driver. When wrong-way accidents happen on high-speed roadways, the results are almost always deadly.
- Rear-end collisions: Rear-end collisions are some of the most common types of accidents. When a driver is under the influence, their reaction time is severely impaired. This means it will take longer for the driver to see your car and stop in time.
- Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions can happen when a driver moves into the opposite lane of traffic. This can occur when a driver swerves his or her vehicle, falls asleep at the wheel, or loses control.
- Pedestrian accidents: Delayed response time can make it difficult to stop for a pedestrian who is crossing the street. Pedestrians are especially at risk after dark.
Common Injuries Related to Drunk Driving Accidents
Injuries from a drunk driving accident can be severe. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that two out of every three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident at some point in their lifetime. Because of the nature of the crash, victims are often left with lifelong pain and injuries. When high speed is involved, injuries can be catastrophic. Common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord can lead to full or partial paralysis. Depending on the nature of the damage, the paralysis may be temporary or permanent.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can lead to memory loss, sensory issues, headaches, and other side effects.
- Broken bones: Broken bones may cause temporary loss of movement and recurring pain. Victims may continue to have pain in the area years after the initial injury.
- Cuts and burns: Shattered glass or sharp metal can cause minor scrapes or severe cuts, often requiring stitches. Permanent scars often result from cuts and burns sustained during an accident.
Know What to Do If You Suspect Another Driver Is Drunk
The way you respond to a drunk driver can not only prevent you from sustaining further injuries but also protect your personal injury claim. If you suspect the other driver involved in your accident has been drinking, contact the police right away. Inform them that you believe that the other driver is under the influence. Proving that the other driver was drunk can help your attorney show liability. It may also lead to punitive damages. An experienced attorney will be able to request any alcohol tests administered at the time of the accident.
If you are safely able to do so, check to see if the other driver and possible passengers are okay. Do not confront the driver. The driver may be belligerent, confused, or dangerous. Once you have ensured everyone is okay and called the police, move to a safe location. The police will want to talk to you when they arrive.
It is always recommended that you seek help from a medical professional any time you are involved in a serious accident. Even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms at the time of the crash, there may be underlying injuries that have not yet presented themselves. A health professional can do an exam and take images to make sure you’re okay.
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
A drunk driving accident can have devastating and lifelong consequences. Sadly, insurance companies often prioritize their bottom line over the well-being of victims and offer them settlements far lower than their claims are worth. If you or a loved one has been impacted by a drunk driver, you shouldn’t have to fight for fair compensation. Contacting an experienced lawyer can help you prove the other party’s fault and help you get the compensation you deserve. Your injuries matter. Contact an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer to learn more about your rights.