Memphis Drunk Driving Accidents
Although there has been a strong campaign against drunk driving accidents across the country, people continue to drive while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. In 2015, for example, there were more than 250 drunk driving fatalities in Tennessee involving a driver with a .08 BAC or higher. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a crash caused by a drunk driver, the Memphis car accident attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are here to help you protect your rights. It is important to get the police to the scene of the crash and retain an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you. With more than 30 attorneys and 100 staff members, NST is the largest personal injury firm based in Tennessee.
Pursuing Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident
Most drunk driving accidents are preventable. A car crash plaintiff typically needs to establish the negligence of a drunk driver by a preponderance of the evidence. This is done by showing that the driver failed to use reasonable care and that the failure was the legal cause of the accident and the resulting injuries. Juries are likely to find that drunk driving was a breach of the duty of care. It may be helpful to have a police officer cite the driver for driving under the influence (DUI).
While criminal DUI charges are separate from a personal injury lawsuit through the civil court system, it is also potentially helpful to show that the driver was convicted. However, it is generally harder to obtain a criminal conviction than to obtain a favorable result in a civil personal injury lawsuit, due to the different burdens of proof. Even if a criminal conviction is not obtained in connection with the drunk driving accident, you may be able to prevail in a civil personal injury lawsuit. In general, it is wise to retain an attorney sooner rather than later, since there is a possibility that the criminal case will affect the civil case.
If there is a conviction, it may be easier to show negligence per se. This is a cause of action in which a plaintiff needs to establish that there was a violation of a safety law, that the violation was the legal cause of their injuries, and that the safety law was intended to protect against the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. In cases in which negligence per se is established, the emphasis of the case is usually the extent of the victim’s damages rather than the victim’s right to them.
Some states, such as Tennessee, have a dram shop law. In Tennessee, someone injured by a drunk driver may be able to sue a vendor that sold alcohol to that individual if the person who bought the beverage was either visibly drunk or under age 21, and the sale of the beverage directly caused the injury.
If liability is shown, you may be able to recover both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are economic and noneconomic losses that flow from the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, household services, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Punitive damages are damages intended to punish a drunk driver and deter future similar conduct. In some cases, drunk driving can be considered egregious enough that punitive damages may be warranted. The attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz know how to pursue all types of damages to which a victim is legally entitled.
Seek Guidance from a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Memphis or Beyond
If you or a loved one has been struck by an intoxicated motorist, the accident lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are ready to advocate for you. We represent victims in many areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky, including in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Jackson, Meridian, Tupelo, Columbus, Grenada, Starkville, Oxford, Hayti, and Caruthersville. Contact our office toll-free by calling 800-529-4004 or by completing our online form to arrange a free consultation. For people seeking a car accident attorney, NST is the way to go.