Unfortunately, many people in Nevada’s largest city find themselves in need of a Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer. Alcohol-related accidents are tragically common throughout the United States. According to the CDC, impaired driving causes an average of 29 fatalities per day. Since Las Vegas is a major tourist and entertainment destination, it sees more than its share of these incidents. The city sees an average of 1,986 DUI arrests for every 100,000 citizens, which is the highest in the country for major urban areas. DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence” and goes beyond just alcohol use. The abuse of prescription medication, marijuana, and other recreational drugs can impair drivers in the same way alcohol does.
When an intoxicated driver hits you, it may turn your life upside down. In addition to dealing with vehicle damage, negotiating with the insurance company, and providing a statement to law enforcement, you need to recover from both physical injuries and mental and emotional trauma. This situation is where a Las Vegas drunk driving accident attorney can help. The right attorney can help you get the medical treatment you need and handle your claim so that you can focus on getting better.
At Bay Law, we can provide you with support as you recover from a drunk driving accident. Our attorneys work with DUI accident victims in Las Vegas, Henderson, and areas throughout Southern Nevada. Why choose us as your Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer? We take a firm approach with insurance companies when representing our clients, which is why our motto is “Make Them Pay with Bay.” This means ensuring our clients get the compensation they deserve for every aspect of their claims. Seeking our assistance is especially important after an auto accident. Insurance companies will try to settle quickly before the victim has a chance to speak with an attorney. They know firms like Bay Law will pursue full compensation for their clients, which will cost them more in the long run.
Also, like other personal injury cases, drunk driving accident settlements happen in the civil court system. However, these cases also often involve criminal courts. It is a felony to cause serious bodily harm to someone while driving under the influence in Nevada. At Bay Law, we have the experience and knowledge to use this litigation to aid your civil case.
How To Handle a Drunk Driving Accident in Nevada
Drunk driving accidents are unique when it comes to personal injury. “Accident” means an unintentional mistake. However, drunk driving is actually a form of negligence. Drug and alcohol use are always important factors in personal injury cases. In legal terms, intoxication (impairment by drugs or alcohol) is an “aggravating factor,” meaning the intoxication played a role in causing the accident.
Aggravating factors like intoxication often qualify the victim for a larger-than-normal compensation claim. This is why it is imperative to work with a Las Vegas drunk driving accident attorney like Bay Law. We can ensure that any aggravating factors are fully represented in the compensation received for an accident.
What can a drunk driving settlement include?
- Property repair. Like other vehicle accidents, the at-fault party has to repair or replace the vehicle or other property damaged as a result of their negligence.
- Medical bills. A drunk driving settlement usually includes payment for your medical bills. These costs can include both emergency treatment after the accident and other services needed for a full recovery. For example, if you need an ER visit, equipment like a wheelchair or crutches, or ongoing care to deal with accident-related injuries, the at-fault party and their insurer may have to pay.
- Lost wages. The settlement can also include income you lost because you were unable to work during your recovery period. If the accident leaves you unable to perform your job because of permanent physical damage, you can also sue for lost earning potential. This portion of the award would cover money you would have earned had you continued your career.
- Pain and suffering. This part of the compensation is for the mental and physical pain caused by the incident. It can include trauma directly from the incident and suffering from the effects of the incident, which could involve not being able to perform family duties, work, or do the activities you used to enjoy before the incident.
- Punitive damages. Drunk driving victims can sometimes sue for punitive damages in Nevada. This type of damages award is meant to punish the drunk driver for acting “maliciously” and is not applicable to every incident. Since causing serious injury because of intoxication is also a felony, the driver may face criminal charges. However, criminal punishment is separate from the civil case.
- Wrongful death. If a victim dies as a result of a DUI accident, their family can seek compensation for funeral expenses. They can also seek compensation to cover the financial support, companionship, and guidance the victim would have provided if they were alive.
Who are the defendants in civil DUI cases? The intoxicated driver is typically the main defendant in a drunk driving case. Other defendants might include anyone who allowed the driver to operate a motor vehicle knowing the driver was impaired. This second type of defendant is less common, and the liability case against someone who entrusts a vehicle to an intoxicated driver can be tougher to prove at trial.
Las Vegas Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
A drunk driving accident attorney can help you understand the details of your case and the legal process. However, here is a collection of some of the common questions DUI accident victims ask.
What Is Drunk Driving?
A drunk driver is anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. In Nevada, the legal limit is 0.08% for normal drivers and 0.04% for commercial drivers. It is also possible for a driver to get a DUI if they have a detectable amount of marijuana in their system.
What Should I Do After a Drunk Driving Accident?
First, you should act to ensure your safety and the safety of other victims. You should also call 911 at your first opportunity. When law enforcement officers arrive, they will test the driver if they suspect intoxication.
You should also get the details of the other parties and witnesses to the incident. You will need the other drivers’ insurance and identifying information. You are allowed to ask for contact details of witnesses and others involved in the accident. These people could be key to your civil case because they could provide testimony that would support your compensation claims.
Finally, you should hire a Las Vegas drunk driving accident attorney. Bay Law can handle the details of alcohol-related accidents, represent you in civil court, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Can a Drunk Driving Accident Be My Fault if I Wasn’t Drinking?
Nevada has comparative negligence laws. These statutes allow victims to receive compensation but limit the award based on the amount of liability the victim had in the incident. For example, if you were injured by a drunk driver, but you were looking at your phone at the time of the incident, a jury may find that you were 25% responsible for your own injuries. If your compensation award was for $100,000, you would get $75,000 because your own negligence made your injuries worse.
You can receive some compensation as long as you were less than 50% responsible for the accident.
Can I Get Compensation as a Passenger in a Drunk Driver’s Car?
If you were riding with a drunk driver when they got in an accident, you may be eligible for compensation. However, there are other factors to consider. If you knew the person was drunk but chose to ride with them, a court may find you partially to blame for your own injuries. In some cases, you could actually be guilty of negligence for allowing the drunk person to be behind the wheel. In these cases, it is best to consult a drunk driving accident attorney before seeking compensation.
Can I File a Civil Suit if the Drunk Driver Is Being Tried in a Criminal Court?
Criminal and civil drunk driving cases are separate. You can file a civil case regardless of any other legal actions taken against the driver. It is best to act quickly and employ a drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. Nevada has a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. More importantly, you will want to act while the incident is still fresh in the minds of witnesses and investigators.
Who Can I Sue in a Drunk Driving Case?
In most cases, the drunk driver is liable for the accident. You will receive compensation from them, either directly or through their insurer. However, you cannot sue people who served alcohol to a drunk driver before they got behind the wheel unless the driver is underage, and the vendor served them knowing they were younger than 21.
Someone who knowingly allowed an intoxicated driver to get behind the wheel could also be partially liable, though their negligence could be difficult to prove in court.
What You Should Avoid after a Drunk Driving Accident
After an accident, you should ensure everyone is safe, contact law enforcement, and collect contact information from other drivers and witnesses. However, there are certain actions you should avoid.
- Do not leave the scene. Unless you feel in danger, you should remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives.
- Do not make any apologies or admissions at the scene. You should not make any statements about the incident to other drivers. Avoid arguing with them. Remember that private, in-person conversations between two people can be recorded with one one person’s consent in Nevada, so be careful with what you say to third parties.
- Do not accept insurance information and leave without calling the police. If you suspect the other driver is drunk, you will need law enforcement to verify this. Also, most insurance companies require that you call the police before they accept your claim for an incident.
- Do not accept any offers from the insurance company. You should hire a drunk driving accident lawyer to help you with your case. Insurance companies will usually make a low offer immediately after an accident. They hope to settle quickly to avoid a larger payout later.
Why Drunk Driving Accidents Happen
Alcohol impairs your ability to think clearly and react to situations on the road.
- To start, a drunk driver has slower reactions than a sober motorist. They may not be able to react to a situation in time to avoid a collision or make a necessary maneuver.
- Second, alcohol can impair decision-making, meaning a driver can put themselves in a dangerous situation without even realizing what they are doing until it is too late.
- Finally, alcohol can shift your attention away from the road, causing you to miss things like road signs, pedestrians, traffic signals, motorcycles, or other things that are not totally obvious.
These factors explain why drunk drivers are so dangerous.
Contact Our Las Vegas Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation Today
If you are in Las Vegas, Henderson, or anywhere else in Southern Nevada and you need a drunk driving accident attorney, consider Bay Law Accident Attorneys. Our attorneys are intimately familiar with drunk driving litigation. We can not only help you get a fair settlement for your vehicle damage and medical costs, but we can also help you pursue compensation for pain and suffering. We can use information from criminal and accident scene investigations to help aid your case.
When you need the help of a skilled Las Vegas drunk driving accident attorney, contact Bay Law before you accept offers from the insurance company or file a personal injury claim.