Drinking and driving or driving under the influence of drugs––whether those drugs are prescription or illicit––can impair the driver's ability to drive safely. Serious accidents leading to life-threatening or fatal injuries can result. If you or a loved one has been injured from an intoxicated driving accident, you need competent legal representation. These types of personal injury or wrongful death cases require technical and scientific knowledge of DUI or DWI tests, and for persons without legal backgrounds in this particular area of personal injury or wrongful death law, it can be hard to file a properly drafted lawsuit.
At Swindell Law Firm, PC, our auto accident lawyer in North Carolina has experience in accidents caused by intoxicated drivers and has the resources and knowledge necessary to successfully file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact us at 252-527-1711 to schedule a consultation and to get a better idea of how we can help you.
What Constitutes Intoxicated Driving Accidents in North Carolina?
An intoxicated driving accident is any accident that involves a driver driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This can even include legal prescription drugs if the driver was aware or should have known that the drug would impact their ability to drive.
Different types of drugs and alcohol can impact drivers in vastly different ways. When a person causes an auto accident due to intoxication, that person may be responsible for compensation to any and all accident victims.
Liability in North Carolina for Drunk Driving or Drugged Driving Accidents
Liability in auto accidents lies with the driver or drivers who caused the accident. If the accident involved an intoxicated driver, the assumption, initially at least, is that the intoxicated driver caused the accident and is, therefore, liable for it.
That said, liability depends on the facts and circumstances, not on a person's intoxication alone.
It is not automatic that an intoxicated driver will be liable for every accident. For example, if the other driver involved in the accident blew through a red light or was texting at the time of the collision, they will likely be held accountable. On the other hand, the latter driver could be found to have contributed to the accident by a certain percentage. Most states adhere to a comparative negligence theory, which means you can still recover compensation but it will be reduced accordingly.
Evidence and Proving Intoxicated Driving in Auto Accident Cases in North Carolina
Cases involving driving under the influence (DUI) accidents can be tricky to prove to some extent because you need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver was intoxicated. This burden of proof requires that evidence show it was more likely than not that the intoxicated driver caused the accident (and not simply that the driver was intoxicated). Fortunately, you can use evidence allowed by the court in the criminal case. Further, you can do so even before the criminal trial has been conducted.
Keep in mind, however, that you need to prove not that the other driver was intoxicated but that the driver was at fault for the accident––and it was the intoxication that caused it. Evidence you can submit in a civil case can include but is not limited to:
- Police reports
- Evidence of driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) (breath, blood, or urine tests)
- Eyewitness testimony
- Surveillance footage from nearby cameras
- Photographs of the scene
- Accident reconstruction reports
- Testimony of people who witnessed the other driver drinking and becoming intoxicated
Also, keep in mind that even if the alleged intoxicated driver is found not guilty of a DUI or DWI, that may not matter in your civil case. As mentioned above, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence in most civil cases, and in criminal cases, the standard is a much higher one: beyond a reasonable doubt. DUI defendants can often get off on a technicality, but the same may not apply in a civil case.
Compensation from Intoxicated Driving Accidents in North Carolina
Compensation is intended to make a victim of an accident “whole” (or as much as possible) after the losses they sustain as a result of the accident. A victim of an intoxicated driving accident may be eligible for different forms of compensation that involve both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages may include but are not limited to medical bills to treat the victim and any costs to repair or replace the vehicle. If the auto accident victim misses work as a result of their injuries, then they can demand lost wages, among other things.
It is also possible for accident victims to be compensated for the pain and suffering that they experience as a result of their injuries. These sorts of damages are less concrete, but the general rule is that the worse an injury is, the higher the dollar figure for pain and suffering could be.
Contact a Auto Accident Lawyer in Kinston, Greenville, or Goldsboro with DUI/DWI Accident Experience
At Swindell Law Firm, PC, we understand the laws applicable to your case and will be able to help you fight for maximum compensation for your injuries. We also have experience assessing similar claims and will be able to help ensure that you do not take a settlement offer that inadequately compensates you.
In addition, when considering insurance companies, an attorney is an asset. Insurance companies are businesses and do not represent your interests, even when you are their client. They live and breathe profit. Paying out the least amount as possible is their ultimate mission. Hiring an intoxicated driving accident attorney from Swindell Law Firm, PC ensures that you have an experienced partner in your corner to represent and fight for your interests. Call us today at 252-527-1711 to schedule a consultation.