Drunk driving accidents cause devastation in the lives of innocent victims. Injuries and losses throw day-to-day life into turmoil. Victims ask themselves: What do I do now? How can I pay for these medical bills? Who can I hold accountable for my injuries? Here, we discuss how hiring the experienced Nevada drunk driving accident injury lawyers at Benson & Bingham can help answer your questions and put your life back on track. We have helped many people just like you and look forward to discussing your case with you.
A drunk driver that causes an accident likely faces criminal charges, but that does not mean that you cannot also recover civil damages whether via settlement or jury trial. Those indicted in criminal court can also face civil lawsuits for their actions, and the two processes are generally considered separately from one another. A criminal prosecution usually does not set aside money for those injured because of the crime, unless the criminal court orders restitution—a plaintiff must usually sue in civil court to get damages for physical and emotional injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day, almost 30 people die in the United States in an alcohol-related crash, more than one fatality per hour. In fact, in 2018, about 29 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involved alcohol. These statistics reflect the sobering reality that despite decades of public awareness campaigns and crackdowns, drunk driving remains a significant threat to Nevadans.
Still, statistics alone cannot convey the true and devastating impact of drunk driving in our state. Victims of drunk drivers—which includes anyone injured in a crash and the families of those who die—endure agonizing physical, emotional, and financial pain. Injuries take months, even years, to heal, some leaving victims with permanent disabilities.
Many crash victims never fully recover from the emotional trauma inflicted by a drunk driver. The costs of addressing these challenges can run into the hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars per victim. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates the total annual cost to Americans of drunk-driving related accidents at $37 billion.
As with any accident, if you are able, check everyone involved and call first responders immediately. Take photos of the scene, including damage to your vehicle, the road, fences, and other property. Be sure to get the contact, insurance, and registration information of all drivers involved in the accident. Speak to witnesses and get their contact information and, if possible, what they saw. You should also call your insurance company and let them know you were involved in an accident, the date and time of the accident, the location, and your attorney’s contact information.
It’s the responsibility of other Nevada drivers not to get behind the wheel while they’re drunk, not your responsibility to avoid Nevada drunk drivers. If only they would obey the law.
Thus, it helps to know what to look for in a drunk person’s behavior while that person is behind the wheel.
If the driver weaves, straddles the centerline, swerves, makes sudden stops or has delayed starts, doesn’t have the headlights on, is driving too fast or too slow, tailgating, or even making an illegal or an abrupt turn, the person may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you can safely get the license plate number, vehicle description, and location, do so and call it in to the police. Never follow a drunk driver or attempt to stop that person yourself.
If the police suspect a driver is intoxicated and the driver refuses to take a chemical test, that driver could lose his or her license for at least a year. If the driver cannot take the test, do not worry; multiple forms of evidence can establish liability on the part of the drunk driver, even without a sobriety test. Your attorney can help establish important evidence in pursuing your claim for injury.
Drunk driving is illegal, and many drunk drivers face stiff criminal penalties for their actions. However, criminal punishment for drunk drivers often provides suffering victims and grieving families small comfort. They still must face the challenges of physical and mental health recovery, and the mountain of expenses involved in getting their lives back on track.
An experienced Nevada drunk driving accident lawyer works to obtain compensation for those innocent victims from anyone who has legal responsibility for the drunk driver’s actions.
Every drunk driving case has its own features, but knowledgeable Nevada attorneys will frequently:
The clock begins ticking for Nevada drunk driving accident victims to assert their legal rights to compensation from the moment the crash happens. The sooner victims contact an experienced Nevada drunk driving accident injury lawyer, the better their chances of recovering the maximum compensation they deserve under the law.
In the meantime, those victims and their families can protect their rights by:
The injuries you could suffer depend on where you are in the vehicle, the speed at which the vehicles collide, the size of the vehicles involved, and other factors.
Injuries could include:
The amount you might receive often depends on the severity of your injuries. Nevada offers three types of damages for those injured in a drunk driving accident: Economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages are meant to make you whole again.
Economic damages are those with a fixed price and include:
Medical expenses also include therapy sessions, including cognitive, physical, and psychological therapies. Some might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder if the accident was particularly severe, while others may suffer from depression or anxiety because of long-term injuries or fear of getting into a motor vehicle after a serious accident.
Non-Economic damages are those that do not have a fixed price attached, and may include:
Punitive damages are only offered in certain situations of egregious negligence or malicious conduct, including when someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes an accident. The court orders the defendant to pay punitive damages as a punishment to the defendant—this compensation is not meant to make you whole again. The statutes do not cap a punitive damage award if the defendant was under the influence when he or she caused the accident.
No. The insurance company is in business to make money. Any amount it pays out decreases their profit margin. An insurance company may twist your words in an attempt to deny your claim or offer you a low settlement. Additionally, you could inadvertently say something that could work against you in getting a fair and reasonable settlement. Let our Nevada drunk driving accidents attorneys speak to the insurance company for you.
The family of the decedent can file a wrongful death claim against the defendant. While money cannot bring a loved one back, it does go a long way in reducing the stress caused by the financial downturn of losing your loved one’s income. The money can also help pay medical expenses incurred by your loved one, including ambulance or life flight charges and emergency room charges. It will also help you keep your bills paid while you are working through the grieving process.
Other than the driver, you may sue the person or establishment that allowed a drunk driver to get behind the wheel if that person or establishment knew or should have known that the defendant was intoxicated. You might also hold liable a vehicle manufacturer if the vehicle contained a defective part or was otherwise defective, and that defect contributed to the accident. Multiple parties can sometimes share liability for an accident—your attorney can help ensure that all potentially liable parties are identified, and help you obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries following a Nevada DUI accident.
If a drunk driving accident in Nevada has left you injured or mourning the loss of a loved one, you may have the right to recover substantial compensation, if you act quickly. For a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation, contact the team of experienced Nevada drunk driving crash injury lawyers at Benson & Bingham, or call us right away at (702) 382-9797. You have nothing to lose from learning about your legal rights, and potentially significant amounts to gain.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
“Benson & Bingham handled my case so quickly and professionally. After my car accident left me hurt and shaken up, Dana and Alexis did everything they could to get my situation back to normal. I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs proper representation.” -Holly H.