According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 32% of traffic fatalities in the United States for 2008 are the result of drunk driving accidents. While this number has gone down from past years, alcohol-related crashes remain one of the most common causes of injury on the road. Whether you are the victim or the defendant, there are important things to know if you are involved in a drunk-driving accident.
Drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .15 or more cause more than half of traffic fatalities today. The legal BAC limit to operate a vehicle in all U.S. states is .08 if you are over 21. And if you are driving and using a cell phone, your risk of causing an accident is four times greater.
If You are the Victim
Contacting an auto accident lawyer is important when you have been injured by a drunk driver. A lawyer can speak on your behalf to make sure you are awarded what you deserve. Often you may be filing more than one claim – charges for the defendant and a claim against the person who supplied the alcohol (this is called dram shop liability).
Your attorney will also know how to recover the maximum amount of damages possible for you as the victim. Damages could include state programs for victim assistance. He or she should also be responsible for communicating with the defendant’s insurance company, as they usually try to limit the defendant’s liability and damages from the accident.