When someone makes the decision to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking excessively, they know they are taking a big risk. Their ability to drive the vehicle safely is severely compromised by the alcohol in their system, and they could end up causing an accident that leaves someone seriously injured—or dead. If you or a loved one is the victim of such a decision, you want to hold that driver accountable for their actions, and justifiably so.
As personal injury attorneys, we help victims of drunk drivers determine the value of their losses and demand compensation from the driver’s insurance company that makes up for those losses—as much as that is possible. Find out what factors come into play when we try to determine what a drunk driving accident victim’s claim is worth.
Drunk Driving Crashes Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries and Death
The fact that the driver who caused an accident was drunk does not automatically increase the value of the claim, but DUI crashes often result in the kinds of injuries that are very costly to treat. This is because drunk drivers often cause the worst kinds of accidents, including high-speed crashes and head-on collisions. These kinds of catastrophic crashes often result in injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of a limb
- Complex fractures
- Internal organ damage
These injuries can lead to permanent disabilities that require life-long medical care. It is vital that the extent of the injury is fully understood before making a demand for compensation, which sometimes means waiting until maximum medical improvement is reached before valuing a claim.
Damages That May Be Awarded in a Drunk Driving Crash
Medical bills are not the only damages a car accident victim will experience. The goal of compensation after an accident caused by a negligent driver is to make you whole again. In other words, the negligent driver is responsible for restoring what has been lost. Potential damages include the following:
- Medical treatment. Everything from emergency services at the scene through ongoing rehabilitation years after the accident should be accounted for when determining the cost of medical treatment.
- Lost wages. If you were unable to work for a period after the crash, you should be compensated for your lost wages and the paid time off you were forced to take. If you permanently lost your job as a result, that should also be factored in.
- Lost earning potential. If a disability caused by the crash prevents you from earning what you earned before the crash, your compensation package should account for that.
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages. The monetary value of the physical pain and emotional suffering you have experienced is not easy to determine. Experienced personal injury attorneys, however, have a good idea of what your pain and suffering are worth.
- Punitive damages. If the driver’s actions leading to the crash are considered egregious, a judge may order them to pay the victim additional compensation in the form of punitive damages. Very often, drunk driving is considered egregious, especially if the driver has previous DUI convictions, was significantly over the .08 blood alcohol limit, or was driving extremely recklessly.
A personal injury attorney with experience helping victims of drunk drivers will be able to determine what your claim should be worth and will provide evidence to back up the demand for damages.
You Can Count on Mahaney & Pappas to Get What You Deserve
Massachusetts is a no-fault car accident state, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hold a drunk driver accountable for your losses. If you prove the driver was negligent—a DUI is a pretty clear indication of negligence—and you incurred at least $2,000 worth of reasonable medical expenses or suffered injuries resulting in permanent disfigurement or disability, you can expect compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company. Call our Framingham office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and, in the meantime, download a complimentary copy of our book, You Were in a Car Accident: How to Maximize Your Settlement, to learn more.