Shreveport Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Dedicated Shreveport-Bossier City Injury Lawyers Helping Accident Victims Hit by a Drunk Driver in North Louisiana
Drunk driving is a serious problem everywhere, and especially in Louisiana. Nationally, Louisiana consistently ranks in the top ten among the states with the most drunk driving deaths per capita. Between one-third and one-half of traffic deaths in the state are alcohol-related, and driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence takes the lives of hundreds of Louisianans every year. Thousands more are severely injured every year in drunk driving crashes.
What makes drunk driving car wrecks so dangerous, and what happens if you get hit by a drunk driver? Is it harder or easier to make an injury claim against a drunk driver? Will the driver’s insurance company even cover a driver who caused a crash by drinking and driving? Find the answers to these questions below, and call the Shreveport drunk driving accident lawyers at Rice & Kendig if a drunk driver hurt you or a loved one in an automobile accident in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana.
Why Are Drunk Driving Car Accidents so Dangerous?
Most of us take the task of driving for granted, especially if we have been driving for years or are taking a route we have traveled countless times before. It might feel like we can put our minds on auto-pilot and still drive safely, but nothing is further from the truth. Safe driving requires constant scanning of the road ahead and all around us, making adjustments for changes in traffic patterns and being always ready to react appropriately to sudden, unexpected situations. When sober and alert, we perform these tasks without thinking about them, but they require our skill and attention nevertheless.
An intoxicated driver does not have the same abilities to pay attention, process information, make judgment calls and physically handle a car or truck that a sober person does. Basically, every faculty that goes into safe driving is impaired by consuming alcohol. Alcohol negatively affects all of the following, for instance:
- Motor control – steering, keeping even pressure on the gas or brake
- Reaction time – responding to sudden traffic changes
- Judgment – not overreacting nor underreacting
- Concentration – staying focused on driving
- Vision – alcohol intoxication causes blurred vision and impairs peripheral vision (“tunnel vision”)
- Alertness – staying awake and aware of one’s surroundings
Not only does alcohol increase the chances of getting into a wreck, but it also increases the likelihood that any crash will be much more severe. Drunk drivers often do not react to an impending crash by braking or turning, so drunk driving car accidents frequently end in a more forceful impact. The potential for catastrophic injury or wrongful death to the people in the car that gets hit is higher.
Is It Harder or Easier to Make an Injury Claim Against a Drunk Driver?
Just because a driver was intoxicated, that fact alone is not always enough to prove a claim of negligence. It is still essential to prove some negligent driving behavior caused the accident. The fact that the driver had been drinking doesn’t necessarily prove how or why the accident occurred; these facts must still be discovered and put together in a compelling manner to convince an insurance company or jury that the driver is liable for causing the crash.
That said, drinking and driving is typically strong evidence of negligence that helps prove the injured victim’s case. If the driver was cited at the scene or later convicted of DWI, this information can be used in a civil claim for damages against the driver, but it isn’t required. Even if the driver was not arrested for drunk driving, Rice & Kendig could still use evidence of the driver’s intoxication to help you get a full and fair settlement or verdict in your favor.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, may be available as well. While most damages in a personal injury case are compensatory – meant to compensate the victim for losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering – punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for especially harmful conduct and set an example for others that Louisiana does not tolerate such behavior.
Punitive damages are extremely limited in Louisiana and are only allowed when specifically authorized by statute. While punitive damages are not available in most car accidents or other incidents causing personal injury or wrongful death, they are available in drunk driving car accidents. If you can prove that your injuries were caused by a “wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others” by a driver whose intoxication was a contributing cause to the injuries, then you can get a punitive damages award that is several times greater than the actual damages you suffered.
Will the Insurance Company Cover a Driver Who Caused a Crash by Drinking and Driving?
Some people assume that an insurance company won’t pay if their insured caused a crash due to drinking and driving. This is actually not the case. Even if a person knowingly consumed alcohol and voluntarily got into their car and drove, the fact that they caused an accident was still unintentional and should be a covered event under the driver’s liability insurance policy. Don’t let this misconception stand in your way of pursuing a claim of compensation for your injuries.
Call Rice & Kendig After a Drunk Driving Car Accident – A Firm With Over 40 Years Helping Crash Victims in Shreveport-Bossier City and North Louisiana
If a drunk driver hit and injured you or a member of your family, you need to call a skilled and experienced car accident injury lawyer who will hold that driver accountable and get justice and compensation for you and your family. Call Rice & Kendig in Shreveport-Bossier City (318-222-2772) or throughout North Louisiana (888-374-7423) for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.