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Drunk Driving Accidents

Milwaukee Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

Can You Sue if You Get Hit by a Drunk Driver?

According to a recent study reported by SafeHome.org, Wisconsin ranks ninth in the nation for DUI arrests. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, nationwide, 10,511 people died due to drunk driving in 2018. This averages to about 30 people who die from drunk driving-related accidents every single day. In Wisconsin alone there were approximately 21,000 drunk driving convictions in the year 2019 (Wisconsin DOT).

If you were injured or if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. In addition to any criminal proceedings that may occur, you have the right to take civil action against the drunk driver, as driving while intoxicated is always considered negligent in the eyes of the law.

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Contact Dunk Law Firm at (414) 206-1295 to find out how our drunk driving accident lawyers in Milwaukee can assist you.

Are Drunk Drivers Always Liable?

police officer pulling over drunk driverWhenever a person chooses to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, they are liable for any accidents, injuries, or deaths they cause. However, they may not be the only liable party.

If a restaurant, bar, or any establishment that serves alcohol over-serves any patron and that individual then causes injury to another, the vendor can be held liable under Wisconsin dram shop laws. Additionally, the state’s social host laws hold individuals liable when they provide alcohol to a minor (anyone under the age of 21) who then injures someone in a drunk driving accident. However, a social host cannot be held liable for the acts of someone over the age of 21 who causes a drunk driving accident.

Compensation in Drunk Driving Injury Claims

Drunk driving accidents tend to result in some of the most serious, life-altering injuries. This is largely due to the fact that intoxicated drivers do not have the same reaction times as other motorists and are, therefore, much more likely to cause accidents at high speeds.

If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, our attorneys can help you seek compensation for all of your current and future damages, including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income/wages
  • Lost earning capacity (disability)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

If your loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident, we can help you seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses incurred prior to death
  • Funeral/burial costs
  • Loss of income/expected future income
  • Loss of companionship, love, and support
  • Loss of expected inheritance
  • Emotional distress

Additionally, whether you were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, we may be able to seek punitive damages on your behalf. Punitive damages are applicable when the defendant is found to have acted especially negligently and are meant to punish the defendant while simultaneously ensuring that similar incidents do not occur again in the future.

Can a DUI Conviction Help Your Claim?

When creating a drunk driving accident claim, it is important to utilize evidence of liability wherever it can be found, including other courts of law. Although the criminal court is intentionally separate from any civil courts, what is said and done in one can affect and benefit the other. Specifically, any evidence used to convict the person who hit you should also be considered for your car accident claim.

If the drunk driver who caused your accident is convicted, then you can even consider using that conviction as evidence of liability in and of itself. Essentially, if a judge and jury were convinced that the driver was intoxicated behind the wheel, then it stands to reasonably say that parties involved in your civil claim can or should be convinced as well. As your chosen Milwaukee drunk driving accident lawyers, we can find the best way to use a DUI conviction to benefit your claim while you focus on trying to rest and recuperate from your injuries.

Do I Have to Prove that the Driver Who Hit Me Was Drunk?

Unlike with criminal cases, where you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the guilty party was driving while intoxicated, in civil cases like wrongful death and personal injury all you need to prove is that the guilty driver was negligent and thereby responsible for the accident.

This means that even if there is not enough evidence for criminal charges, you still may have a chance at winning a personal injury claim. Different forms of negligence can include: Speeding, driving recklessly, disregarding traffic signals, etc.

Should I Get a Lawyer If I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver?

You are not required to have a lawyer in order to pursue compensation for your accident. However, having a lawyer on your site can help improve the odds of you getting a favorable settlement for your injuries. A professional drunk driving accident lawyer can help with the following:

  • Talking to your insurance company, especially if the accident was a hit-and-run
  • Taking your case to court to pursue civil charges in addition to the criminal charges they may be facing
  • Evaluating any settlement that is offered by the insurance company to ensure it covers all of your damages

At the end of the day, statistics indicate that injury victims are more likely to receive compensation, and to receive a higher settlement, when they are represented by injury lawyers. If you have sustained serious injuries in your accident, you should consider hiring a lawyer to fight for you.

How Do You Avoid Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver?

Obviously not every drunk driving accident can be avoided, however, here are some precautions you can take to help avoid being involved in a drunk driving accident:

  • Always buckle your seatbelt - In the event that you are hit by a drunk driver, a seatbelt may save your life and the life of your children, friends or family who are riding with you
  • Avoid driving late at night - Most drunk driving accidents occur in the evening and on weekends
  • Avoid driving over the holidays - Many drunk driving encounters occur over holidays because a lot of people drink while at parties and then attempt to drive home afterwards
  • Be particularly cautious at intersections - Always doublecheck to make sure no one is running a red light or stop sign
  • Keep a good following distance - This will allow you time to identify a drunk or erratic driver before you encounter them directly
  • Report any suspected drunk drivers by calling 911 - Whether they have caused an accident or not, reporting drunk drivers helps ensure that both they and other drivers on the road make it home safely

Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

At Dunk Law Firm, we understand just how devastating drunk driving accidents can be. Our team is here to help you pick up the pieces so that you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life. Our drunk driving accident attorneys in Milwaukee have been fighting for victims of negligence in our community since 2004, and we are ready to fight for you, too.

Call our office at (414) 206-1295 or submit an online contact form today to get started with a free consultation.

Related Reading:

Resources for Victims of Drunk Drivers:

If you or a loved one have been impacted by a drunk driving accident in Wisconsin, you're not alone. There are resources for you and your family as you navigate this difficult time:

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