When a drunk driver hits you, the injuries and damages you suffer can be life-altering. Not only do you have to worry about the physical pain and expenses, but also the emotional trauma of the experience.
- Types of Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
- Compensation from the Drunk Driver’s Insurance Company
- The Severity of Injuries Can Affect Drunk Driving Settlements
- Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
- Hit by a Drunk Driver: Liability in a DUI Accident
- Insurance Company: Average Settlement in a Drunk Driving Case
- Wondering How Your Illinois DUI Case Compares to Others?
Innocent victims deserve justice. They should not have to go without medical treatment because someone else was driving under the influence.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident due to another driver being intoxicated, you may qualify for compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company.
You can file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, to determine if you have a valid case.
Contact our car accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with your personal injury lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Types of Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
In addition to monetary compensation, victims of drunk drivers often seek legal recourse against the person responsible for causing the collision. It includes seeking reimbursement for the costs associated with repairing damaged vehicles, paying for medical treatment, and recovering potential lost income.
The type of damages awarded in a personal injury suit depends upon whether the plaintiff suffered “economic” or “non-economic” losses. If a victim suffers both types of losses, the court must decide how much weight to give each category of damages.
Compensation from the Drunk Driver’s Insurance Company
Economic damages are generally defined as the value of things such as cars, homes, and money the defendant caused the plaintiff to lose because of his negligence. Because these items can be quantified, courts usually award a specific dollar amount for economic damages paid by the at-fault party.
Non-economic damages are those harms that cannot be measured in dollars. For example, people suffer emotional distress when they witness someone else being hurt or dying.
Victims of drunk drivers often seek recompense for non-monetary harm, including pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish, and even loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to other damages when the at-fault party’s actions are particularly egregious. For example, if a drunk driver was speeding or had a history of drunk driving, a court may award punitive damages to punish the offender and deter similar behavior in the future.
Most insurance companies will make a settlement offer based on the policy limits of the driver held responsible for damages and financial losses to avoid taking the drunk driver’s case to civil court.
A personal injury lawyer can help identify who is at fault, what all involved insurance companies pay for an average settlement amount, and if punitive damages are available.
The Severity of Injuries Can Affect Drunk Driving Settlements
In personal injury cases, many factors determine what you deserve in damages. One factor that often plays a role is the severity of your injuries. A broken leg is more serious than a sprained ankle. But how does this affect your settlement?
The amount of money you receive depends on several things, including the type of accident you had, whether it involved another party, where the accident occurred, and how long it took to heal.
If you suffered a severe head injury, you could receive more money than someone who broke his arm for your pain and suffering. And if you suffer permanent disability because of your injuries, you might be entitled to additional compensation.
An Average Settlement Amount is Based on Relevant Evidence
When determining the value of your case, the judge will look at all relevant information, such as the extent of your injuries, the length of time it took to recover, and the cost of treatment.
When evaluating the severity of your injuries, however, the judge looks at the nature, the length of time you spent recovering, and the impact of your injuries on your life.
If you are injured in a drunk driving accident, the severity of your injuries will depend on how badly you were hurt. You might require surgery, take months off work, miss out on promotions, and even lose your job altogether.
These types of injuries can drastically alter your quality of life.
Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
If you are injured because someone else was drunk driving, you must know what physical injuries you can sue for. Below are some common ones.
- Broken bones: If you are hurt while riding in a car driven by a drunk driver, you could sue for broken bones in a personal injury claim, especially if the broken bone is severe and takes months to heal or requires surgery.
- Concussions: Typically, concussions are not minor injuries but trauma to the brain that can be challenging to diagnose, especially if symptoms are not identified immediately following the car accident.
- Internal bleeding: A severe car crash by a drunk driver behind the wheel could lead to internal bleeding that could cause organ failure.
- Organ damage: Drinking and driving can lead to organ damage in catastrophic drunk driving cases. Damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, pancreas, stomach, intestines, and bladder could involve internal rupturing and bleeding.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: Being hit by a drunk driver can cause emotional trauma that could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), affecting the negotiated settlement amount when resolving the drunk driving accident case.
- Other damages: Minor to catastrophic injuries or other damages that you might receive as a result of a drunk driving accident include:
- Medical costs for hospitalization and emergent care
- Ongoing and future medical expenses for additional surgery and physical therapy
- Property damage including vehicle repairs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Victims and surviving family members of DUI accidents often require financial compensation to pay for all damages. Nearly every final settlement for a drunk driving accident will involve substantial monetary recovery.
Hit by a Drunk Driver: Liability in a DUI Accident
In many states, drivers are legally responsible for what happens during their operation of a motor vehicle. If you’re injured because of another person’s negligence in a drunk driving accident, you could file a claim against him or her. But determining who is liable isn’t always easy.
Liability can be complicated when you’re injured in a drunk driving accident caused by another motorist. The law does not always hold drivers responsible for accidents involving alcohol, drugs, or fatigue.
However, even if the person causing your crash had no legal excuse, you still might be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help pursue monetary recovery from the negligent (drunk) driver.
Insurance Company: Average Settlement in a Drunk Driving Case
The amount of money an insurance carrier will pay for a settlement in a drunk driving case varies depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, the state where the accident occurred, and the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
In general, victims who suffer more severe injuries (e.g., paralysis, brain damage, quadriplegia) tend to receive higher settlements than those who suffer less severe injuries (e.g., whiplash, broken bones, soft tissue damage).
The state where the accident occurred also plays a role in settlement amounts in cases involving a drunk driver. For example, insurance companies may be required to pay more for settlements in states with no-fault laws than in states with at-fault laws.
The at-fault driver’s insurance coverage also affects the amount of money an insurance carrier will pay for a settlement. If the drunk driver has high liability limits, their insurer may be required to pay more for a settlement than if the at-fault driver has low liability limits.
Hit and Run Drunk Driving Accidents
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run drunk driving accident, you may be able to collect compensation from your own insurance company if you have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
You may also collect compensation from the at-fault motorist if you can identify him/her.
If you cannot collect compensation from either your insurance company, the uninsured motorist, or the at-fault driver, once identified, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against all those involved in the DUI accident.
Wondering How Your Illinois DUI Case Compares to Others?
Were you or a family member involved in a drunk driving accident and are seeking financial compensation for your damages? A personal injury attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you seek compensation for your bills, lost income, and other damages.
Contact our DUI accident injury law office at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation to pursue compensation and discuss how to receive a maximum settlement amount from the drunk driver.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no upfront fees until your personal injury lawyer resolves your DUI accident case.