When you think about drunk-driving, and an accident that has been caused by a drunken driver, you may immediately place the blame in the lap of the driver. After all, it was their decision to consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car and, as such, it is their fault entirely that you, or another, have sustained serious injuries as a result. While you are struggling to come to terms with what has happened, and perhaps also in a lot of pain due to your injuries, filing for compensation may be the last thing on your mind. However, as a Philadelphia drunk driving accident attorney will tell you, you deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages you have incurred due to the actions of a drunk driver. Your attorney may also find that a third party, other than the driver themselves, played a part in causing the collision.
Is a Drunk Driver Solely Responsible for Your Accident?
If you believe that the drunk driver involved in your Philadelphia accident was solely responsible for the incident, you may well be correct. However, did you know that the establishment who sold them the alcohol can also be partly to blame in some situations? If a bar or restaurant in Pennsylvania sells alcohol to a customer they know is already intoxicated, they could be held partially liable, thanks to a little-known aspect of law known as dram shop liability. This could mean that you are entitled to compensation you were not aware of.
In some very specific circumstances, a social host providing alcohol may also be held partly liable. As this area of the law is complex, particularly when the partial liabilities are brought into the equation, you will need the legal expertise of a Philadelphia drunk driving accident attorney to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.
Lifelong Injuries Resulting from a Drunk Driving Accident
It may seem obvious, but a person will never come out better than a motor vehicle when the two collide. One is made of flesh and bone, the other is made of several tons of reinforced metal. Add to that the fact that the car or truck is being driven carelessly by a person whose judgement is impaired by alcohol and you have a surefire recipe for disaster. Drunk driving accidents can leave victims forced to live with lifelong catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Head traumas
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe neck injuries
- Loss of limbs, fingers, or toes
- Loss of eyes or eyesight
- Severe burns
- Severe lacerations
- Internal organ damage
Drunk driving accident statistics in Philadelphia
When we turn to data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, we can see that drunk driving crashes remain a top safety issue across the Commonwealth. During the latest reporting year, there were 9,380 total alcohol-related collisions. Out of these incidents, there were 299 fatalities and 5,938 injuries. Drunk driving crashes were responsible for more than 28% of all fatal collisions during that year. Those that do survive a drunk driving collision regularly sustain severe injuries because the incidents often occur at high speeds and before any party involved has had a chance to slow down.
Time limit to file a drunk driving accident claim in Philadelphia
Drunk driving accident victims have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in their case. The personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This gives Philadelphia drunk driving accident victims a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Failing to file a lawsuit in this statutory time frame will result in the victim being unable to recover any compensation for their losses.
By working with a skilled lawyer, you can be sure that you have an advocate on your side who will be aware of any deadlines pertaining to your case. Please keep in mind that the personal injury statute of limitations in PA has nothing to do with the requirements put in place by individual insurance carriers. In general, all vehicle accidents need to be reported to the insurance carrier within a day or two after the collision occurs.
What evidence is needed to prove a drunk driving accident case?
There will be various types of evidence needed in the aftermath of a Philadelphia drunk driving accident collision in order to prove liability. Often, the evidence used in a personal injury case involving a drunk driver will coincide with the evidence used against the drunk driver in a criminal case. This can include field sobriety tests, the results of a blood alcohol content test, as well as statements from the arresting police officer. Additionally, a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will help uncover the following evidence in order to prove liability:
- Any video or photo surveillance of the incident
- Statements from eyewitnesses to the crash
- Any vehicle “black box” data
- Statements from those who saw the driver drinking
An attorney will gather all the relevant evidence as well as the medical bills, proof of lost income, proof of out-of-pocket expenses, and more to help build their case against the alleged drunk driver. The goal is to secure full compensation for the victim in the case, including:
- Complete coverage of the medical bills
- Lost wages if the victim cannot work
- Property damage expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
- Possible punitive damages against the drunk driver
Seek Expert Legal Representation from a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
If you have sustained injuries in a drunk driving-related accident, resulting in medical expenses and loss of wages, you could be entitled to recover damages. An experienced car accident lawyer can navigate the complexities of the legal system on your behalf, ensuring you recover the maximum compensation applicable to your case.