Drunk driving is one of many types of impaired driving, and impairment, of all kinds, causes or contributes to large portion of accidents. While there are some general rules that apply to any kind of impaired driving, there are some aspects which are unique to accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
While consuming alcohol is not illegal, there are very strict and specific laws against drinking and driving. So, it is worth noting that while you are pursing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused your accident and injuries, a criminal case will almost always be in the works, too. While these cases are completely separate, they can sometimes affect each other.
About 40% of all fatal auto accidents are alcohol related, and even though the penalties for drunk driving are very stiff, about one-third of DUI convictions are repeat offenders. Our ever-tightening DUI laws may have reduced the number of drunk driving accidents and deaths, but we are far from seeing the day when alcohol related accidents are a rarity.
As opposed to other types of impairment, such as fatigue or even some drug use, alcohol intoxication is fairly easy to prove, when evidence is gathered properly.
Blood alcohol level
If you are involved in a drunk driving accident lawsuit, one term that you will see over and over, and that you need to understand, is BAC. BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration, meaning how much alcohol is in your bloodstream. The legal limit for adults is .08, in most states, with an even lower limit for those under the legal drinking age of 21.
A person’s BAC is usually determined by a breath test, but may also be determined by a blood test. Drivers do not have to consent to a breath or blood test, but if a driver refuses to be tested for BAC, his or her driver’s license may be immediately suspended, for a period of time, even if there was no alcohol involved.
After being injured in an alcohol related accident, the hope of recovering compensation for your injuries may seem dim. It is not uncommon for a drunk driver to be a repeat offender who is driving without a license and, therefore, uninsured. If convicted, he or she can face jail time, steep fines, and the loss of driving privileges which, for most people, means the loss of their income. You probably feel like pursuing a drunk driving lawsuit id like trying to get blood out of a turnip, but that is not always the case.
Drunk drivers can be held financially responsible for the accidents which they cause, and there are often additional responsible parties. Those who serve or sell alcohol to intoxicated or under age customers may also be held responsible. Bars, restaurants, and liquor stores when illegal furnish alcohol to intoxicated customers, as well as adults who give alcohol to minors, may be responsible parties in some cases.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed I an alcohol related auto accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today.