In 2018, 10,511 people in the US died in drunk driving accidents, which means this type of accident kills about 29 people every day. In Ohio in particular, there are around 400 drunk driving fatalities per year, and about 24,000 arrests annually for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). Even worse, a whopping 1,800 Ohio drivers have been arrested at least 10 times for driving drunk! Clearly, drunk driving is a bad decision that affects thousands of people every year. If you or a family member have been injured in a drunk driver accident in Ohio, take a look at what your options are as you consider contacting a DUI accident lawyer to help.
Get the Medical Help You Need
The most important thing is ensuring you’re safe after a drunk driver accident. Even if you only have minor injuries, it’s critical that you get checked out at the hospital or by a doctor shortly after the accident. If you’re worried about the expense of medical care, know that the at-fault driver will be responsible for those costs if your health insurance doesn’t pay for them, so don’t avoid treatment just because you can’t afford it.
As you obtain medical care, it’s important to keep records of your treatments and resulting medical bills. Keep in mind that many medical necessities you need will be reimbursed by the at-fault driver once you begin your case with a drunk driving lawyer. More specifically, the following are often eligible to be paid for by the responsible party:
- Prescription drugs
- Cane or wheelchair
- Orthopedic devices
- Hospital expenses
- Transportation to doctor appointments
Of course, these are just the medical-related damages you can pursue from the drunk driver. Once you hire a DUI accident lawyer and start discussing your lawsuit, you’ll find out what other damages apply to your case.
Consider What Kind of Damages You Can Pursue
After a drunk driver accident in Ohio, you’ll want to start thinking about the kind of compensation you may be entitled to. In most cases, you’ll bring a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver, at which point you can ask for compensation for the following types of damages:
- Car repairs or replacement
- Current and long-term medical expenses
- Lost wages from taking time off work to heal
- Pain and suffering
If you’re wondering about the amount of compensation you may be able to get, note that Ohio has no cap on economic damages. That means as long as you can prove the expense—such as showing medical bills for healthcare costs and paycheck stubs for lost wages—you’re entitled to be compensated. If you’re pursuing non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, your compensation will be capped at either $250,000 or three times the cost of economic damages—whichever one is greater. Regardless, non-economic damages cannot exceed $350,000.
Another fact to know as you prepare to contact a drunk driving lawyer is that in Ohio, the statute of limitations is two years. This means you have two years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for property damage and personal injury. Make sure you do not miss this date if you want the chance to pursue compensation. This is why it’s so important to talk to a lawyer right after your accident, to ensure you do not miss important deadlines.
Learn How a Drunk Driving Lawyer Can Help You
If you’ve been injured in a drunk driver accident, you may be wondering why you’re encouraged to get legal help instead of immediately filing a claim with car insurance. The fact is that car insurance companies have their own best interests in mind, not yours, so they may offer less compensation than you deserve. Even if you settle with insurance, you need a lawyer on your side to ensure any offers you get are fair to you. The point of seeking compensation after drunk driving accidents is to ensure you’re made whole again, meaning you don’t have any lingering expenses that you have to pay out of pocket due to someone else’s decision to drive drunk.
An experienced DUI accident lawyer can help with your case from start to finish. He or she will be by your side to gather evidence from the scene, get in contact with witnesses who could help your case, and communicate with law enforcement as needed. And of course, a good drunk driving accident attorney will also handle communication with insurance representatives throughout the case. The goal is to get you the compensation you deserve after a drunk driver accident, whether that means settling with insurance or taking the driver to court.
Contact Friedman, Domiano & Smith Co., L.P.A.
Overall, one of the most important steps you can take after a drunk driver accident is hiring an experienced lawyer. At Friedman, Domiano & Smith Co., L.P.A., we have guided several car accident cases and various types of personal injury cases through the legal system, from settlement meetings to the courtroom. If you have any questions about the drunk driver accident you were involved in, contact us today to set up a free consultation so we can discuss your case with you!