Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Impaired driving is an epidemic in the United States. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is one form of impaired driving. Some 40 percent of all vehicle accidents with fatalities involve drivers who were impaired by alcohol. One-third of those convicted of driving under the influence are repeat offenders. Regardless of the severity of newly enacted drunken driving regulations, driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated are commonplace.
For this reason, you need a Philadelphia drunk driving accident attorney on your side in the event of a motor vehicle accident that involved alcohol. If evidence is gathered promptly and accurately, alcohol impairment is easy to prove when compared to driving under the influence of drugs or driving while fatigued. Contact our firm to see how our Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyers can help.
Why Choose Us?
- We have more than 25 years of experience successfully settling and litigating personal injury and wrongful death claims in Philadelphia.
- We are dedicated to advocating for injury victims in Pennsylvania and have secured millions in compensation for our clients.
- We give each case the personal care and attention it deserves and only charge legal fees if we win.
Why You Need a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Car accidents involving drunk drivers can have life-altering consequences. An entire family can be killed or maimed due to the recklessness of one individual. The repercussions can last a lifetime, which is why anybody who has been involved in an auto accident needs to locate an experienced Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer to have the best chance of receiving compensation for injuries, for damage to your vehicle and for loss of future income.
You may also be entitled to punitive damages if you are injured by a drunk driver. These are damages intended to punish the driver for his or her reckless behavior and are in addition to the money you receive to compensate for your injuries and economic loss.
How Do You Prove a Drunk Driver Caused Your Accident?
If evidence is gathered promptly and accurately, alcohol impairment is easy to prove when compared to driving under the influence of drugs or driving while fatigued. Drunk drivers can face criminal and civil prosecution for an accident they caused while they were drunk or otherwise impaired. While all types of impaired driving are governed by the same regulations, some of the rules governing drunk driving are exclusive to accidents in which alcohol was a factor.
One of the most important factors in a case that involves alcohol impairment is blood alcohol concentration or BAC. BAC is the percentage of alcohol that is present in your bloodstream. Most jurisdictions have a BAC limit of .08 percent. The limit for drivers under the age of 21 is usually even less than .08. Police use a Breathalyzer to calculate a driver’s BAC. This breath test is not mandatory, but if a driver declines to submit to the test, their license may be suspended immediately, even though the driver’s BAC is not established. For that reason, you need to look to other evidence to establish intoxication and to collect compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.
This could involve hiring an expert to perform accident reconstruction, interviewing witnesses to get a better understanding of what they saw and any behaviors of the negligent driver they witnessed that suggested they were intoxicated, and, if possible, surveillance tapes from nearby businesses.
Steps To Take After A Drunk Driving Accident
If you are hit by a drunk driver, the aftermath can be chaotic and overwhelming. You may be in pain or experiencing a rush of adrenaline, but it is critical to try and remain calm. Take the following steps to protect your health and right to compensation:
Notify the police even if you do not believe anyone is injured. Emergency responders will treat and transport you to the hospital if necessary. When law enforcement arrives, mention that you believe the other driver is drunk. They will assess the situation, create an accident report, and arrest the driver if they are intoxicated. Information on the arrest and essential details of the collision will be included in their report, which can significantly influence an insurance company’s decision on fault. For example, statements made, vehicles’ positions, the extent of damage, whether the driver was arrested or issued a citation, etc.
Document the Scene
If you can stay at the scene, document as much as possible. Take photos and videos of the vehicles, their damage, the surrounding area, any debris or skid marks, and your injuries.
Ask For Contact Information
Ask for contact and insurance information if the other driver is coherent. However, law enforcement will obtain this information and include it in their report. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well and if they can make a short recorded statement on your phone of what they saw.
Get Medical Attention
See a doctor as soon as you leave the scene. Medical records must link your injuries to the drunk driving accident. Plus, some severe injuries can have delayed symptoms.
Speak to an Attorney
Schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Attorney to learn next steps and ensure you recover full and fair compensation.
Can I Sue a Drunk Driver in Philadelphia?
Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault state,” which means your own auto insurance may cover medical bills regardless of fault, depending on the coverage you purchased. Drivers can choose to carry no-fault car insurance or may opt-out and choose “Limited Tort” or “Full-Tort” insurance. This choice can have significant implications on the amount of compensation you recover.
You will turn to your own auto insurer and file a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses up to policy limits. You are only allowed to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver for additional compensation if your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold. Under this law, medical bills must generally meet a specific dollar amount, or your injury must be permanent, disabling, or disfiguring.
“Limited Tort” Insurance
You have the right to seek financial compensation from a drunk driver for all medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses, but not for pain and suffering or non-monetary damages unless your injuries qualify as “serious.”
“Full Tort” Insurance
With this type of insurance, you have the legal right to sue a drunk driver for any injuries suffered by their carelessness or negligence. That includes reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages and benefits, any other out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
Frequently, drunk drivers have been arrested for DUI previously and do not have a valid driver’s license. That means the driver is probably not carrying insurance. If the driver ends up sentenced to jail time, they won’t have any income. For those reasons, you may have a hard time receiving the money you’re due from them.
When it comes to property damage, for instance, the repairs to or loss of a vehicle, a claim can be made against an at-fault driver regardless of the type of insurance coverage you have chosen.
In some cases, the driver isn’t the only responsible party. An experienced Philadelphia drunk driving accident attorney knows that establishments that serve alcohol to an under-aged person or to a person who is already intoxicated can also be held responsible for the impaired driver’s actions under Philadelphia dram shop. That includes nightclubs, local pubs, restaurants and liquor stores. An adult who buys alcohol for a minor can also be held responsible if the minor has an accident after consuming the alcohol that was provided to them.
Limits on Damages in Philadelphia
Pennsylvania courts operate under a “modified comparative negligence” system. This law allows parties to recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for a drunk driving accident, but their amount of compensation will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages for an accident caused by a drunk driver but found 40% responsible because you didn’t fully stop at a stop sign, you will only recover 60% of the award or $60,000.
In almost all drunk driving accidents, the drunk driver’s impairment plays a significant role in causing the crash. However, determining liability can still be complicated, but as long as you are found 50% or less responsible, you can obtain compensation.
Philadelphia DUI Collisions And Fatalities
Drunk driving is a leading cause of car accidents and fatalities in Pennsylvania. In 2021, alcohol-related collisions increased to 9,220 from 7,700 in 2020. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) also reported the following data for DUI collisions and fatalities in 2021:
- 311 people were killed, rising from 293 in 2020.
- On average, 0.9 persons were killed in alcohol-related crashes every day, and an average of 16 people were injured.
- Alcohol-related fatalities made up 25% of the total traffic fatalities that took place in Pennsylvania.
- Of those fatalities, 94% were in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver, and 79% were drunk drivers.
- Of the drunk drivers killed, 46% were between the ages of 26 to 30, 39% were between 51 to 55, and 18% were between 16 and 20.
- Approximately 25 DUI accidents took place each day.
- 73% of the drunk drivers involved in accidents were male.
- 71% of DUI collisions occurred at night between 8 and 11:59 PM.
- Most DUI accidents took place on weekends, with the majority occurring on Saturday and Sunday.
Overall, DUI collisions were four times more likely to result in a fatality than other traffic accidents.