Every year, across the United States, more than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes. Alcohol quickly impairs a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. After even a few drinks, drivers may notice that their ability to divide their attention decreases. As blood alcohol content increases, so does the lack of function. As blood alcohol increases over the limit, drivers may behave increasingly dangerously: struggling to keep the car in its correct lane, speeding or braking abruptly, and weaving through traffic.
Unfortunately, inebriated drivers on the road can make it incredibly difficult for other drivers to avoid an accident. You may need an attorney after you suffer injuries in a drunk driving accident. Contact The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan today at (508) 588-0422 to learn more about your legal rights after an accident with a drunk driver.
Drunk Driving Accidents May Cause Increased Injuries
Drunk drivers struggle to maintain control of their vehicles. They often suffer from impaired reactions, which makes it incredibly difficult for them to minimize damage when they notice an accident coming.
As a result, drunk drivers may leave their victims with more serious injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury. When a victim suffers from traumatic brain injury, it can negatively impact every aspect of their life. You may experience memory difficulties, trouble focusing or concentrating, or difficulty regulating your emotions.
- Spinal cord damage. Spinal cord damage can leave victims permanently paralyzed. Even incomplete spinal cord injury can cause substantial loss of motor function.
- Amputation. The force from a drunk driving accident can cause immediate limb amputation or crush limbs to the point that doctors must remove them for the overall health of the victim.
- Burns. Whether the car bursts into flame following the accident or severe road rash leads to friction burns, burns can leave victims with substantial scarring as well as causing severe pain and suffering.
- Broken bones. Many drivers brace as they see an accident coming, causing broken bones in the hands and arms. Drunk driving accident victims may also suffer broken legs, which can cause mobility challenges, or broken ribs, which can make taking care of daily activities daunting and painful.
- Ligament and tendon damage. In some cases, damaged ligaments and tendons can cause more serious pain and long-term consequences for the victim than broken bones.
Seeking Compensation After a Drunk Driving Accident
A driver’s inebriation does not impact the compensation you deserve for your injuries, though the more serious injuries you suffer as a result of a drunk driving accident can lead to increased compensation after your accident.
Who Has to Pay for Your Drunk Driving Injuries?
You must pay the hospital bills and other medical expenses associated with your drunk driving accident. Ultimately, you cannot simply hand over those bills to someone else. You can, however, seek compensation from the entity or entities that caused your accident.
Most often, the drunk driver bears legal liability for the accident and for any medical bills you face as a result of it. Other factors, however, can also contribute to drunk driving accidents, including mechanical failures. The bar or restaurant that over-served a drunk driver may also share some liability for that accident according to Massachusetts law. Working with a lawyer can help you establish all entities who share liability for your injuries in a drunk driving accident.
How Much Compensation Do I Deserve for Injuries From a Drunk Driving Accident?
You may worry about the compensation you can receive from a drunk driving accident, especially as your medical expenses rise or you struggle to pay your other bills due to time out of work. No attorney can guarantee the compensation you may receive from your claim.
Most people, however, include these expenses as part of their claim:
- Medical expenses. You can include all medical expenses associated with your injuries: emergency medical care, a stay in a hospital or a long-term care facility if needed, and any treatment for your injuries. You can also claim the cost of therapy to recover from your injuries, including occupational therapy as you relearn how to handle activities that your injuries limit, physical therapy that helps restore strength and flexibility, and psychological therapy that aids in recovering from the trauma of your accident.
- Lost wages. Severe injuries in a drunk driving accident can cause you to miss substantial time at work. Not only can you miss work in the immediate aftermath of the accident, you may miss work due to appointments, therapies, and future procedures to aid in your recovery. You may need substantial time before you can return to your usual work responsibilities after severe drunk driving accident injuries.
- Lost earning potential. A drunk driver may cause injuries that prevent you from ever resuming your normal job responsibilities. If you must change industries or look for a new type of employment, you can claim lost earning potential.
- Pain and suffering. Drunk driving accident injuries can cause substantial pain and suffering: physical pain, as well as emotional anguish. An attorney can help you learn more about how to quantify that pain and suffering.
You may find that the coverage offered by the drunk driver’s insurance company will limit the compensation you can receive for your injuries. In Massachusetts, drivers who carry minimum liability insurance usually have $20,000 in bodily injury coverage for each individual injured in an accident. If the costs of your injuries exceed that coverage, you may not receive additional funds. Consult with an attorney to learn more about how much compensation you can expect from your injuries.