The St. Louis drunk driving accident attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC are here to help you if you have been hit and injured by a drunk driver. Schedule your free consultation today to learn more.
According to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, 29 people lose their lives every single day in the U.S. at the hands of alcohol-impaired drivers. Many others are left with severe physical injuries and as well as emotional scars that may never completely fade away.
When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, they are making a choice to disregard their safety and the safety of others on the road. The consequences don’t just impact themselves, they impact innocent families.
At OnderLaw, LLC, our St. Louis car accident attorneys understand the grief and anger you must be feeling, as well as the financial strain caused by mounting medical expenses and loss of income. The most important decision you can make immediately following a drunk-driving accident is to call an experienced and caring attorney who can aggressively seek justice and compensation for you and your family. At OnderLaw, LLC, that’s what we do every day.
Give us a call at (314) 963-9000. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re here to listen to your story and help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Dangers of a Drunk-Driving Accident
The consequences of a drunk-driving accident are often catastrophic. Drugs and alcohol impair our mental and physical reaction times significantly.
A drunk driver may not have the capacity to understand that they are going the wrong way down a road and into oncoming traffic. Once they do realize the problem, they are often unable to react quickly enough to avoid a collision. High-speed head-on and rear-end DWI accidents are not uncommon, and these types of impacts cause devastating injuries and fatalities.
Frighteningly, studies have shown that people are often much more intoxicated than they believe they are. Even worse, the more that you drink, the harder it is to judge how intoxicated you truly are. One study found that after just two drinks, you can suffer a decline in visual functions, the inability to perform two tasks at the same time, and altered judgment.
At a blood alcohol level at 0.08, Missouri’s DWI threshold, a driver can suffer from a reduced ability to concentrate, short term memory loss, lack of speed control, and impaired perception and self-control. Should a driver with short-term memory loss and impaired self-control be in charge of a 3,000-pound vehicle barreling down your street?
Missouri DWI Laws and Penalties
Missouri takes driving while intoxicated very seriously. A driver whose blood alcohol concentration is at 0.08 can be charged with a DWI. A DWI can carry stiff criminal as well as civil penalties, including jail time and fines.
All Missouri drivers who are convicted of a DWI may face a license suspension or revocation as well. A first time DWI offense will result in a 90-day license suspension, though you may be eligible for “restricted driving privileges” with the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
A second time DWI offense will usually result in a one-year license revocation, while receiving two DWIs in a five-year period may result in a five-year license revocation. If you’re charged with three or more DWI crimes, you may have your license revoked for ten years.
The state also has in place an “implied consent” law, which means that a driver who refuses a blood, urine, saliva, or breath test will have their license taken away for a one-year period of time.
Compensation for DWI Victims
While drunk driving is a criminal act that can warrant criminal penalties, a driver may also face civil repercussions from the victims they have injured. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you are entitled to fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and more.
It can be tempting to take the insurance company’s first offer. Unfortunately, what they offer may not be enough to cover all your current and future medical needs. Discussing the situation with an attorney is your best option if you want to make sure that you are getting everything you are entitled to following a drunk-driving accident.
Also, many people don’t realize that the driver may not be the only one liable for your accident. The state of Missouri has in place what is known as the “dram shop” law. This statute states that a person injured in an accident may bring a civil suit against the bar, tavern, restaurant, or establishment that continued to serve a “visibly intoxicated” patron. The burden is on the victim to demonstrate that their injuries were the result of “clear and convincing evidence” that the vendor continued to serve a drunk person alcohol.
These cases can be challenging, but a seasoned lawyer will know how to help you proceed. Again, in this case, you could be entitled to damages that would cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Missouri does not cap, or limit, the amount of damages you can be awarded in a dram shop case.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Missouri is five years. But don’t wait that long. It’s important that you seek legal representation immediately following your accident, so that the attorney can effectively gather evidence before it is lost or destroyed.
Types of Injuries that Can Result from a Drunk-Driving Accident
Driving under the influence is grossly negligent behavior that carries serious consequences to both the driver, passengers, and other drivers on the road.
In 2016, 28 percent of all traffic-related fatalities were the result of drunk driving. While every car accident has its own unique set of circumstances, drunk-driving crashes, in many instances, result in significant injuries and even death, because of the driver’s inability to properly function and react.
Some of the more common accidents that impaired drivers cause include:
- Rear-end collisions – Impaired judgment makes it difficult for drunk drivers to estimate speed and distance. Combine that with slow reaction time, and it becomes difficult for impaired drivers to properly brake in time, leading to rear-end accidents.
- Head-on collisions – Alcohol can cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel and impair their short-term memory. Many times, they veer off the road into on-coming traffic, leading to a dangerous and sometimes deadly head-on collision.
- Wrong-way collisions – Alcohol can impair not only judgment, but vision as well. The inability to read or recognize road signs and warning signs contributes to wrong-way crashes.
- Pedestrian and bicycle collisions – With vision and reaction time impaired by drugs or alcohol, it can be extremely difficult for a drunk driver to spot pedestrians and bicyclists before hitting them.
Injuries from a drunk-driving accident can be serious and require extensive medical treatment. You may be left with extensive hospital bills and may be facing a long line of future medical expenses, as well. It is not uncommon for drunk-driving victims to suffer brain injuries, neck and spine injuries, broken bones, internal damage, chest and rib injuries, burns, even death.
An experienced attorney can help you secure the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, future expenses, physical therapy or rehabilitation, lost wages, and more.
How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one were the victim of a drunk-driving accident, you are probably feeling not only grief, but real anxiety over expenses and the financial challenges you are facing. We’re here to take that responsibility off your shoulders.
The St. Louis car accident lawyers at OnderLaw, LLC will tenaciously fight for your rights following a drunk-driving accident, while providing you with the compassionate service you deserve. Compensation can never undo the damage a drunk driver has caused, but it can be the foundation that helps you rebuild and regain some stability.
Contact OnderLaw, LLC at (314) 963-9000 in order to set up a free consultation about your St. Louis personal injury claim. We will help you make solid decisions about the direction of your future. We want to hold negligent drunk drivers accountable, call us today.