A Senseless Injury: Drunk Driving And Personal Injury
Being hit by an intoxicated driver can make what at first seemed to be an accident even more upsetting. That other driver made the choice to consume an intoxicant and then to get behind the wheel, which might make the entire situation feel so much worse. Your level of compensation may be heightened if the other driver was under the influence, and there may be more at stake than civil actions. Read on to learn more.
Drunk or Not?
You may be too injured to have first-hand knowledge of the other driver's possible impairment, but most first responders (police and EMS) are trained to recognize certain signs of alcohol use. While a driver can be tested at the scene, it really depends on whether or not they are conscious at the time. If there is probable cause, the driver will undergo a blood alcohol test at the hospital, which may be more accurate than a roadside breathalyzer.
First responders look for several signs of use, such as cans and bottles of alcohol open or emptied of contents. The scent of alcohol on the driver's breath, clothing or in the vehicle may also send a red flag up about intoxication and the need to perform further testing. Roadside sobriety testing using a blood draw is now a thing of the past, but this test did prevent the results from being lowered due to the passage of time. Any results found should be verified for accuracy and timeliness.
Even when it comes to the most uncomplicated of personal injury situations, it's advisable to get the help of an attorney. If your accident involves a potential drunk driving situation, you will need help to ensure that you can assess the results of the sobriety tests, whether carried out at the scene or at a medical facility. A report of the driver's level of intoxication is often available a few weeks after the wreck, but your attorney may need to file a motion to obtain it due to HIPAA laws of medical confidentiality.
The Impairment and Personal Injury Liability Connection
The other driver's insurance is responsible for paying your damages, but it is not uncommon to encounter a roadblock in the form of liability. Liability is broken down into a percentage for accidents, and if the other driver was intoxicated, they should be 100% liable for the accident. You will need to show proof of the impairment, however, such as:
1. Testimony of the officers and medical personnel at the scene.
2. Eyewitness testimony to the driver's erratic driving prior to the crash
3. Witnesses to the driver consuming alcohol shortly before the wreck
4. Field sobriety test results, blood alcohol test results and urine test results.
5. Photographs showing empty liquor containers in the vehicle.
Speak to your local personal injury law services about your case, and follow up to find out if the driver is criminally charged with DUI and other more serious charges.