November 21, 2022
Auto Accident

Being injured by a drunk driver might seem like a guaranteed way to receive compensation from their car insurance company. However, determining fault relies on more than a driver’s blood-alcohol content. Receiving compensation requires proof that the other driver holds full responsibility for the accident, regardless of their sobriety.

A skilled personal injury attorney can help you recover compensation from a drunk driver. Learn the requirements to receive compensation for a drunk driving accident with The Vance Law Firm.

How Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident Works

Alabama is an at-fault state, meaning the driver responsible for the crash is liable for covering the other driver’s accident-related expenses. The negligent party’s car insurance typically covers these damages. Alabama requires drivers to carry liability insurance at the following minimums:

  • $25,000 for physical injury to one person
  • $50,000 for injuries in an accident
  • $25,000 to cover property damage in a collision

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a crash with a drunk driver, you may face high medical bills and a long recovery time. These costs may exceed the coverage offered by the other driver’s insurance.

In this case, you can file a personal injury claim against the impaired driver. A personal injury claim allows you to potentially recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

You may also be able to receive compensation from whoever sold alcohol to the driver. Alabama’s dram shop laws allow you to pursue a claim against someone who sold alcohol to a minor or visibly intoxicated person.

What to Do Right After Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver

Many people are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do after a car accident. Understanding what to do and how your actions impact your compensation claim can help you take the right steps after a collision.

Insurance companies will try everything possible to reduce payouts to accident victims. Taking the following actions can help you build a solid claim with a Montgomery drunk driving accident lawyer to maximize your potential settlement:

  • Call 911

After a car accident, call 911 and tell the operator you were in a collision with a suspected drunk driver. The operator will send police officers out to file an accident report and an ambulance to treat anyone injured in the crash.

Under Alabama Code § 32-5-192, the police cannot force the other driver to consent to a sobriety test. However, a car accident lawyer can use their refusal to argue the other driver’s fault in the accident.

  • Exchange Insurance and Contact Information

You will need the other driver’s car insurance and contact information to file a compensation claim. Exchange your contact and insurance information with the other driver and give it to your lawyer as soon as possible.

  • Document the Scene

Photo or video evidence of the crash can work in your favor if you file a claim against the drunk driver. If it’s safe for you to do so, take pictures of the crash site, photos of the damage to the cars and yourself, and any dashcam footage you may have.

Depending on where you are, and the time of day, there may be witnesses to the crash. For instance, other drivers on the road or pedestrians walking nearby. Talk to any witnesses and ask if they’re willing to give a statement. If they agree, exchange contact information with them so your attorney can get in touch.

  • Talk to a Lawyer

Once you’ve received treatment for your injuries, schedule a consultation with an attorney. A lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to earn you a higher payout.

Auto lawyers understand insurance companies’ tactics to lower or deny compensation, such as strict filing deadlines and twisting statements into admissions of fault. The team at The Vance Law Firm can protect you from these elements and use their experience to get you a fair settlement.

Difficulties in Obtaining Compensation from a Drunk Driver

Drunk driving alone is not sufficient for proving fault in a car accident. Instead, fault is determined by whether the negligent actions of either driver directly caused the crash. Your personal injury lawyer can’t argue that the driver is at fault just because they were drunk. However, your attorney can assert that their intoxication caused them to drift into the wrong lane and hit you.

Even with irrefutable proof that the drunk driver was at fault, car insurance companies often try to avoid compensating the injured driver with what they deserve. For example, they may try to take advantage of Alabama’s pure contributory negligence law by claiming you had some fault in the crash, such as speeding.

It’s vital that your attorney works to show that you bear no liability in the incident with proof such as photos, videos, cell phone records, and eyewitness statements.

Receiving compensation under the state’s dram shop laws can be similarly difficult, as you must prove that the driver was visibly drunk or underage. Since you weren’t at the bar with the drunk driver, you may not have evidence that the establishment unlawfully sold the driver alcohol.

A drunk driving accident lawyer can gather records and witness statements on your behalf. They can speak with bar or restaurant owners, servers, or patrons who saw the other person drinking to support your claim.

Tips for Strengthening Your Claim

A strong claim relies on strong evidence. Gathering as much evidence as possible will help sway the claim in your favor. Take plenty of pictures of the accident, talk to witnesses, and document your car repairs and medical bills. Your attorney can even help you gather evidence that you might not be able to access by yourself, like footage from nearby security cameras.

Schedule a Free Case Review With The Vance Law Firm

It’s difficult to build a solid legal claim on your own. The Vance Law Firm can construct a claim to earn you the compensation you deserve after a drunk driving accident.

Contact us to schedule a consultation today via phone, online contact form, or chat.

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