There is no question about exactly how dangerous drunk drivers are, but despite this fact, far too many of them continue to roam our highways and byways. Drunk drivers cause nearly immeasurable damage and are some of the deadliest drivers of all. If a drunk driver leaves you injured in a car accident, don’t wait to consult with an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney.
We know that drunk drivers are dangerous, but the following sobering statistics shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) help identify exactly how difficult they are:
- Every day in the United States, an average of 29 people die in car accidents that involve drunk drivers, which translates to a drunk-driver-related death every 50 minutes.
- In 2016 alone, nearly 10,500 fatal drunk driving accidents, which amounts to 28 percent of all fatal crashes that year.
- The average annual cost of accidents caused by drunk drivers is more than $44 billion.
- In 2016, more than 1 million motorists were arrested for impairment, which accounts for only 1 percent of the total 111 million incidents of self-reported alcohol-impaired driving every year.
These numbers paint a frightening picture of exactly how prevalent and dangerous drunk driving is.
Common Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers
Drunk drivers are unpredictable, which means that they can cause virtually any kind of life-threatening car accident. Some, however, are more common than others.
Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous accidents – and they are certainly some of the most terrifying. For a motorist to barrel the wrong way down the road, they have to be seriously confused, and often, this means drunk. The impact of these accidents often leads to life-threatening injuries.
A T-bone accident happens when a motorist plows head-on into the side of another vehicle, and they are very common to intersections. Drunk drivers have a more difficult time paying attention to what is happening around them, making them more likely to cause T-bone accidents. Because the sides of vehicles have no buffer (such as the trunk provides at the rear and the hood provides at the front), T-bone accidents tend to be exceptionally dangerous.
Rear-end collisions are some of the most common accidents out there, and they are as dangerous as they are common. These accidents are often caused by driver inattention, and drunk drivers are notorious for being distracted. Drunk drivers frequently cause rear-end collisions.
Sideswipe accidents refer to those instances when a driver swipes into another vehicle on their left or right. These accidents are often caused by sloppy driving practices and inadequate attention, which are very common to drunk drivers.
Preserving Your Claim
After being injured by a drunk driver, you will file your claim with that driver’s insurance provider. Because obtaining just compensation is so important to your recovery process, it’s wise to do what you can to protect your claim – and your health – from the outset. All of the following can help:
- Pulling as far off the road or as far out of the path of oncoming traffic as possible
- Calling 911
- Rendering aid (if anyone is hurt and you can do so)
- Refraining from commenting on the accident at the scene (unless asked questions directly by the attending officer)
- Accepting medical attention at the location if it is offered and seeking it out as soon after the accident as possible if it is not
- Gathering evidence at the scene in the form of pictures and videos that depict anything that might be relevant to your claim
- Recording eyewitness testimony and gathering eyewitness contact information
- Jotting down your recollections about how the accident happened (to help keep your memories fresh)
- Consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer
- Carefully adhering to your doctor’s health instructions
The Car Insurance Company
The car insurance company handling your claim is making money, which directly involves settling claims like yours for as little as possible. In its efforts to achieve this goal, it has many methods at its disposal.
Offering You an Early Settlement
A drunk driver left you injured, and now you’re facing escalating medical bills and diminished wages. It’s a lot, and you’re very likely desperate for some financial relief. The insurance company is counting on it. Suppose the insurance rep handling your claim offers a speedy settlement. In that case, you can assume that it is far lower than the actual value of your claim, and you shouldn’t accept it before consulting with a dedicated car crash lawyer. If you have been seriously injured, you could be facing ongoing medical expenses, but getting a settlement from the insurance company halts your ability to pursue additional compensation.
Prolonging the Settlement Process
Another common approach that insurance companies take to discourage claimants is prolonging the settlement process to the point that accident victims simply throw up their hands and give up. There are laws in place to help prevent these nefarious practices, and your knowledgeable car accident attorney will help speed along the process and help ensure that the insurance company remains within the law’s boundaries.
When a drunk driver’s apparent negligence has injured you, any fault in the matter is fairly well determined. However, this does not mean that the insurance company will not attempt to shift the blame – or part of the blame – toward you. While this is discouraging, don’t be fooled by the insurance company’s less-than-forthright tactics – it is doing what it can to minimize your settlement, and your dedicated lawyer will skillfully endeavor to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Minimizing the Severity of Your Injuries
Another means of keeping your settlement as low as possible is denying that your damages are as severe as you say they are. The insurance company will be on the prowl for any information it can glean from any source that could help support this theory, and this is exactly why you should take a break from social media, refrain from talking about the accident, and follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. The insurance company is looking for a crack in your armor, and you should be careful not to provide them with one.
Fault and Your Accident
If you share some degree of fault in the accident, you should not let this discourage you. Driving drunk is a severe form of negligence that is exceptionally dangerous, and you are entitled to compensation that covers your full range of physical, financial, and emotional damages. Suppose some percentage of fault is assigned to you. In that case, however, you retain the legal right to pursue compensation in the State of South Carolina (as long as you are not deemed responsible for more than 50 percent of the injury-causing accident). This is how it works:
- If you were, for example, speeding at the time of the accident, you would be allocated a percentage of fault in your claim.
- If that percentage is 10 percent and your claim settles for (or the court awards you) $10,000, you will receive $9,000 in total.
- This is because your compensation will be reduced by the percentage that you are at fault, and 10 percent of $10,000 is $1,000.
The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions may help answer your questions.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
Your claim involves unique circumstances, which means that there is no way to identify a value before digging in much more profound. Some of the factors that help determine the value of a claim, however, include:
- The extent of your damages, including property damage to your vehicle, your medical expenses, your lost earnings, and your pain and suffering
- The strength of the evidence in your case
- The percentage (if any) that you are determined to be at fault
- Whether or not you have the professional legal counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer in South Carolina in your corner
Why do I need an attorney?
While you are not required to have an attorney after a car accident, doing so dramatically enhances your ability to obtain just compensation.
Will my car accident claim go to court?
Because most car accident claims settle out of court, a car accident claim is unlikely to go to court. If necessary, however, your practiced car crash lawyer will be prepared to do so.
Consult with an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today
The experienced car accident attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices in South Carolina have the experience, legal skill, and drive that you are looking for. We’re on your side and are here to help, so please don’t wait to reach out and contact or call us at 843-733-7662 to schedule your free consultation today.