Auto accidents involving drunk drivers (DWI) often result in horrific long-term injuries. These crashes are life events for most victims. While many highway incidents are actually accidents, most intoxicated drivers make the conscious decision to drive impaired and often violate the rules of the road in the process. Many times this is intentional, and certain factors like exceeding the speed limit or reckless driving are among the causes of accidents when DWI.
These negligent drivers are a menace to all who use the highway and it is important to pursue whole damages and, where possible, punitive damages to make an example of drunk drivers and show the community at large that this behavior is not tolerated.
The first steps of establishing a financial claim against a drunk driver will be the recovery for ‘General Damages’ such as 1 -medical bills, 2 – lost wages while being unable to work, and 3 – damage to property (vehicles, etc). DWI car accident victim lawyers will look at these claim elements first when crafting the case, as they a starting point for determining proper and full compensation.
General Damage Compensation
DWI victim lawyers work diligently on securing as much general damage compensation as possible for their clients because this sum is what makes injured DWI accident victims financially whole unless there are extenuating factors that warrant additional punitive damages. General damages can also include mental anguish along with emotional problems [PTSD, for example] associated with extensive injuries. These amounts alone often reach the maximum liability coverage limits that a drunk driver carries on their auto policy.
Potential Punitive Damages
Depending on the material evidence in a DWI accident case, the potential for punitive damages may also exist. This especially applies when an accident victim has suffered long-term debilitating or catastrophic injuries. Punitive damages are not necessarily claimable in a standard insurance filing, which means the drunk driver must be sued in a separate case that is presented before a jury by the DWI victim lawyers. The jury can then issue a verdict for a requested punitive damage award. These damages are not compensatory, but are rather intended to serve as punishment and sends a signal to the community that serious drunk drivers will indeed be held accountable even when there are not enough personal assets to cover the amount.
Suing A DWI Driver In North Carolina
North Carolina is among the most difficult states when it comes to being compensated for auto accident injuries involving drunk drivers. The state uses the most restrictive comparative negligence law in the nation that allows insurance companies to deny claims from drivers who have even 1% comparative negligence percentage assigned for causing an accident. The mere fact that an opposing driver was intoxicated does not indicate fault unless it causes them to drive erratically or violate the rules of the road.
While every auto accident in North Carolina is reconstructed by the local jurisdictional law enforcement agency, they do not officially determine fault. The accident is mapped out in an accident report that also will contain other evidence as obtained by the investigating police officers. A drunk driving accident lawyer can interview witnesses along with obtaining a copy of any citation issued to an impaired driver. They can also question police officers with respect to what they observed beyond what is stated on the accident report in addition to using any information the report contains.
Contact Our Law Firm for a Case Evaluation
Just because a driver was drinking at the time of an accident does not mean they are always held accountable for their actions when a case goes to court. Injured parties will commonly need a DWI victim lawyer to present their case for whole compensation when a settlement cannot be reached beforehand. Insurance company legal teams will still fight claims stemming from drunk driving accidents when they think there is even a remote possibility that a denial of liability can be validated. The attorney that is selected to represent the case can make a significant difference in the outcome. If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, call our firm today and let us evaluate your case for whole financial compensation.