Impaired driving is one of the biggest threats to public safety on the road. Those who drive drunk tend to struggle with coordination issues, blurred vision, slow reflexes, and poor decision-making. The result is a recipe for disaster. If you get injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, securing compensation can be critical to putting your life back together.
At the Morelli Law Firm, we know the dangers that drunk drivers pose to others on the road. We have a history of holding these parties responsible for their dangerous actions and securing financial compensation for those who have been injured. Let our Long Beach drunk driving accident lawyers help you.
Steps Your Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Will Take
Car accidents often result in serious damage. If you were hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver, the last thing you need to worry about is fighting a legal case to recover compensation. Fortunately, when you hire a DUI accident lawyer, they will take over every aspect of your legal case, leaving you free to focus on your health.
One of the first things your attorney will do is begin an investigation of your accident. The purpose of this investigation will be to establish liability and collect evidence to support your case. Some of the steps in this investigation will likely include:
- Taking photographs at the accident site and gathering evidence
- Talking to any potential witnesses
- Speaking with various experts
- Obtaining a copy of the official accident report
- Reviewing your medical records
After wrapping up their investigation, your lawyer will assess the damages you suffered and calculate how much your claim is worth. Next, they will talk to you about your legal options, let you know how strong your case is, and advise you about how best to proceed.
Once you have made a decision, the next move will likely be to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit with the court. If you choose to pursue a lawsuit, your attorney will go through all the steps of the pretrial process as they prepare to represent you in court.
Every step of the way, your drunk driving accident lawyer will be in communication with opposing counsel. They will work to hopefully reach a fair settlement agreement that will get you paid quickly and avoid the unpredictability of a courtroom trial.
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Compensatory Damages You May Be Eligible to Recover
If you get injured by a drunk driver, you are likely going to be able to recover several damages from the driver. The damages that apply to your case will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident and the injuries you sustained. All compensatory damages can be divided between economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the losses you suffer that have a direct impact on your finances. Any cost you incur, or money you miss out on because of your accident, falls into this category. Economic damages include both losses you have already faced and those you will encounter in the future due to your accident. Common economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
The rest of your losses are considered non-economic damages. While these damages are often profound, they are not direct hits to your financial situation. These losses can not be properly replaced through legal means.
However, the law must attempt to compensate you for these losses. Because of this, non-economic damages often make up the bulk of a compensation payout. Common non-economic damages include:
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
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Driving Under the Influence Is a Criminal Offense
The drunk driver who caused your DUI crash will not only be facing civil litigation should you choose to pursue a lawsuit. In addition, they will likely be facing DUI charges which can result in fines and time in jail or prison, depending on the specifics of the incident and their record.
Your lawyer may advise that you wait to fight your lawsuit until the criminal trial has concluded. The burden of proof in a criminal trial is higher than in a civil case, and a conviction for a criminal offense can be used as evidence in your lawsuit.
With the lower burden of proof in a civil case, even if they are found not guilty of a criminal charge, you can still pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
In addition to recovering compensatory damages, you will likely be able to pursue punitive damages if you were injured by a drunk driver. Punitive damages are only awarded in a small percentage of personal injury cases but in a high percentage of those where the at-fault party was intoxicated.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party and can be awarded if they acted in a manner that was criminally negligent or done with the intent of causing harm.
Bicycle Accident Lawyers Get Paid on a Contingency Fee Basis
While the majority of lawyers charge their clients based on the amount of time they spend working on their cases, personal injury lawyers operate differently. With a personal injury attorney, results are what count.
Your Long Beach DUI accident lawyer will collect their fee as a predetermined percentage of the money you recover from the at-fault driver. The more money they are able to secure for you, the more money they will make. If they fail to win you compensation, your lawyer does not get paid.
With this fee structure, your financial fate and that of your attorney are tied together. You can rest assured that they will do everything they can to get you as much money as possible. An added benefit of this setup is that anyone can afford to hire an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer. Your financial status won’t be a factor since you don’t pay your lawyer directly.
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Don’t Wait to Hire a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
It is critical that you hire a drunk driving accident lawyer in Long Beach as soon as possible after you get injured. Under CLPR § 214, New York gives accident victims three years from the date of their injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.
While your lawyer may advise that you wait to file your lawsuit if there is a criminal case, waiting to hire an attorney could lead to you missing out on your chance to recover compensation entirely. The three-year statute of limitations does not apply in every case. Some situations will leave you with a far smaller window in which to file.
Failure to file on time could lead to you missing your chance at compensation altogether. Additionally, hiring an attorney early will give them the best opportunity to gather evidence and build a strong compensation case on your behalf.
Reach Out to a Long Beach Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
At the Morelli Law Firm, we have helped countless injury victims get the money they need after being harmed by a drunk driver. Our Long Beach DUI accident lawyers have a proven track record of recovering fair compensation for their clients.
If you were injured by a drunk driver, fill out our online contact form or give us a call today for a free case evaluation.