Injuries and deaths resulting from drunk drivers are tragically common. A person is injured every two minutes in a drunk driving accident – that means approximately 800 people every day! On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident during their lifetime, according to MADD.
According to the CDC, about 29 people die in drunk driving crashes every day. That’s about 1 death every 50 minutes.
Many of these accident victims were not driving drunk! They unfortunately only happened to cross paths with a driver who was breaking the law and driving dangerously.
Did it happen to you?
Were you injured when a drunk driver hit your car? Or you were injured by a drunk driver as a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian? However a drunk driver caused your injuries, you deserve to get justice. Drunk driving is reckless, negligent behavior, and the penalties for drunk driving can be extremely high. By filing a personal injury case, you can make the drunk driver pay for their behavior and you can receive the compensation.
Steps to Take If You’re Injured
- Of course, the first priority is your medical care. Seek expert medical care immediately after your injury, even if you believe your injuries are minor, and even if you don’t feel symptoms right away.
- Get a copy of the police report. You can usually request this at the scene of the accident or by calling the local police department later. The report should contain important information relating to any drunk drivers involved in the accident.
- Make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. This is easier and more cost-effective than going to court. However, do not accept an insurance settlement without consulting with your attorney. Without legal advice, you might make the mistake of accepting an unfairly low settlement.
- Check if the other driver had previous drunk driving convictions. A personal injury attorney can help you with this. Proving that the other driver had a record of drunk driving will help your case tremendously.
How to Prove the Driver Was Drunk
- Did you smell alcohol or marijuana on the other driver?
- Did the other driver use eye drops?
- Did you see beer cans, bottles of alcohol, or drug paraphernalia in the other driver’s car? Or did you see the other driver dispose of such items?
- Pay attention to who was driving! Sometimes drunk drivers switch places with a passenger to hide the fact that drunk driving caused the crash.
- Did the police administer field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests? Lack of tests or inaccurate results could impact your case.
If you notice these or any other suspicious behaviors at the accident scene, alert police officers right away so that they can investigate. If your injuries or trauma prevented you from immediately alerting police officers, discuss these details with an attorney ASAP.
The Compensation You Can Claim
When you are injured – or your loved one is killed – by a drunk driver in New Mexico, you have the potential to claim significant monetary and non-monetary compensation. Monetary compensation will cover expenses related to medical bills, property damage (like a car replacement!), lost income because of missed work time, and other expenses that would otherwise come out of your pocket. Non-monetary compensation will cover less tangible damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and much more.
Why Punitive Damages Matter
Drunk driving is reckless behavior that puts others at extreme risk. Because of this, drunk drivers who cause accidents can be forced to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages go beyond the compensation needed for monetary and non-monetary damages. Punitive damages act as an additional punishment for reckless and criminal behavior. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in Albuquerque, you might be entitled to receive punitive damages as additional restoration. An attorney can help you fight for your rights involving punitive damages.
In addition to seeking punitive damages from the drunk driver, you might also be able to work with your attorney to claim punitive damages from another responsible party – such as a bar or liquor store who over-served the driver or allowed the driver to drink and drive.
How An Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in the Albuquerque area, it’s time to make them pay. A personal injury attorney can help you get the justice you deserve. Brian K. Branch can help you analyze the full extent of damages (including punitive damages) that you’re entitled to receive, prepare and argue your case, gather evidence that proves the other driver’s fault and negligence, and take a load off your shoulders during this stressful time. Call 505.764.9710 or send a message online.
Law Office of Brian K. Branch
715 Marquette Ave. NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102I