Despite stiff fines, jail time and loss of drivers license privileges, drunk driving is still one of the leading causes of fatal automobile accidents in the state of Missouri. Most frustrating is that most drunk drivers walk away from the accident they caused unscathed, while the victims suffer from massive bodily injure or even lose their life. There are a few steps you should take if you are ever involved in an accident with an impaired driver.
At the Scene
If you are in an accident and suspect that the other driver has been drinking make sure that the police are called to the scene. They will either perform a field test to check his sobriety or insist that he be treated at a hospital where it will be tested.
Criminal charges will be filed against any Missouri driver over the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. That number is only .02% for drivers under 21 and .04% for drivers of commercial vehicles. Obtain copies of all police reports regarding your accident and bring them to your attorney for review. Follow his criminal case closely and if asked, provide your own testimony with the assistance of your attorney. The outcome of the criminal case against the driver could affect your civil case, it is important to pay close attention to how it is being prosecuted.
As with any type of personal injury case, avoid talking with insurance claim adjusters. Their goal is to lower settlement amounts and will do whatever they can to accomplish this. Repeat drunk driving offenders are often unlicensed and therefore un-insured, making it necessary for you to have to seek compensation from your own insurance policy. Their goal is the same, so make sure thatyour attorney handles corresponding with them.
Drunk driving is a serious offense that most jury’s will not overlook. Insurance companies know this and are more likely to try and settle this type of case than allow a jury to out of fear of punitive damages. This is when a jury sets an award above the amount of the lawsuit as a punishment for the negligent party’s actions. With the dangers of driving intoxicated so well known, these types of damages are common in drunk driving civil cases. As a result, expect to be offered a fair settlement, like the young Missouri couple who suffered facial injuries as a result of being rear-ended by a drunk driver. After negotiating with their attorney, the insurance company agreed to pay them $900,000.
St. Louis Car Accident Attorney
Being involved in a car accident is an awful event to endure, and even more so when you realize it could have been prevented had the other driver simply followed the law. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Missouri, contact a St. Louis car accident attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.
photo credit: anieto2k via Flickr