Drunk driving accidents are a significant problem in Alabama. In a single recent year, 5,535 crashes statewide involved one or more drivers who were using alcohol or drugs, according to the state’s Highway Safety Plan. There were 178 fatal DUI crashes and 2,101 crashes in which someone was injured, resulting in thousands of lives lost or ruined just in that year alone.
The Alabama car accident lawyers at Stokes Stemle, LLC are here to help if you’ve been involved in a crash with a drunk driver in Alabama. We focus solely on personal injury cases to make sure our clients get exceptional legal representation and service.
Contact us right away for a free case evaluation by calling our office or visiting our contact page.
What to Do If You’re in an Accident with a Drunk Driver
Drunk driving accidents can result in severe or catastrophic injuries, so your first step after any accident is to get emergency medical treatment right away.
Once you’ve gotten medical attention, here are some next steps:
- Talk to a drunk driving car accident lawyer. The sooner you contact our Alabama personal injury lawyers, the sooner we can get started on your claim and protecting your rights and interests.
- Save all medical records, as well as receipts and proof of lost income. Evidence is key to seeking the maximum amount of compensation in any legal settlement, so you’ll want to save any potentially relevant records. This includes your medical records, any bills from the hospital or doctor’s office, any pay stubs or income statements from the time period around your injuries, and so on.
- Get a copy of the police accident report. The report will likely contain information noting if the driver was intoxicated and other information about the crash. This is crucial information when it comes to proving liability for a crash and getting full compensation for your injuries.
- Don’t make any public statements about the accident. You want to let a lawyer handle all your communications after an accident so you don’t say something that might jeopardize your claim. Don’t say anything in public about what happened, especially on social media. Other parties can find ways to use your statements against you.
- Keep a journal. To get compensation for your pain and suffering after an accident, you’ll need to show how your injuries have impacted your daily life. A journal can help you remember how your injuries affected your daily life while you were recovering. Record your pain levels, how your injuries prevented you from doing things you enjoy, their effect on your emotional state, and more.
- Don’t give any statement to any insurance company without talking to a lawyer first. Insurers will find any reason they can to lower or block your claim, so you need to be very careful about any information you give them. You’re best off letting a lawyer speak to any insurance companies for you.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Not following your prescribed treatment can be used as cause to block or lower your claim, so be sure to do what your doctor says.
The Other Driver Was Convicted of DUI. Now What?
While you cannot obtain any compensation from a drunk driver through the state’s criminal case against them, you could use a DUI conviction as evidence when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. A DUI conviction is a strong piece of evidence, but you’ll still want to get help from a lawyer to make sure you get all the compensation you could be entitled to for your injuries.
The Other Driver Was Acquitted on DUI Charges. Now What?
If the driver who hit you is acquitted of a DUI charge, that does not mean your civil case against them is doomed. Criminal trials require a higher standard of proof than civil disputes, and you may still be able to get compensation for your injuries.
Other evidence your attorney might look for to demonstrate that the driver was intoxicated and caused you harm might include:
- The police report from the crash
- The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) report
- Eyewitness testimony of the accident
- Testimony from other individuals who saw the other driver drinking and driving while intoxicated
- Surveillance video footage
- Receipts from restaurants, bars, or other establishments
- Photographs of the crash scene
The Other Driver Was Drunk but Never Charged. Now What?
There are times when a drunk driver is not charged for their role in a crash. It could be that there was not enough evidence or the evidence was lost, or the driver wasn’t charged for some other reason.
Regardless of why the person was not charged with driving under the influence, the important thing to know is that you can still file a claim against them to collect compensation. You may have a more challenging case on your hands than if the driver had been charged or convicted, but a dedicated personal injury lawyer can still help you get compensation for your injuries.
What Kind of Settlement Could You Expect If Injured by a Drunk Driver?
Every potential settlement in a drunk driving case depends on the unique factors of the crash itself. The amount you could receive will depend on how severe your injuries are, what kind of economic losses you sustained as a result of the crash, if your injuries left you unable to work, and other factors.
Some of the things you could potentially be compensated for include:
- Your medical bills
- Your lost income while you were healing from your injuries
- Your reduced ability to work as a result of your injuries
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Any mental trauma you’ve suffered
How a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help
To effectively pursue full compensation for your injuries after a drunk driving accident, you’ll want help from a legal team with specific experience handling drunk driving injury cases. At Stokes Stemle, LLC, our Montgomery injury attorneys have the right knowledge and resources to help you seek the justice you deserve.
We’re available by call or text, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Get a free consultation by calling us or by reaching out to us online right away.