Every car accident is unexpected and challenging. Collisions caused by a drunk driver, however, are particularly upsetting, because the driver engaged in an activity most people understand to be dangerous and risky. Every victim of a drunk driver has the terrible burden of knowing their accident could have been prevented.
It’s a startling fact that, in Ohio, the frequency of drunk driving seems to be increasing. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 19,362 operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) enforcement stops between January 1 and September 4, 2017. That is up from 17,834 during the same period in 2016.
Drunk driving is illegal for good reason: the potential to cause serious injury to others. If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by an intoxicated person, you can sue the at-fault driver and possibly the drinking establishment that served the alcohol. A successful lawsuit gets you money to cover expenses and, in the case of punitive damages, to send a message that driving drunk is unacceptable.
Legal Liability in Drunk Driving Cases
In Ohio, the victim in drunk driving accidents can sue the intoxicated driver under the law of negligence. Negligence means your injuries were caused by the careless act of another person. This lawsuit is entirely separate from any criminal proceedings the driver would face for choosing to drive drunk.
Under Ohio’s dram shop law, it is also possible to sue the bar where the driver got drunk. Specifically, an establishment may be liable if a bartender continued to serve the driver even in the face of obvious intoxication before he got on the road and caused the accident.
Legal action can help you recover lost wages and economic losses. It can also compensate for past and future medical expenses, including prescriptions, rehabilitation, hospital stays and assistive devices.
A drunk driving lawsuit will also claim punitive damages, which are intended to punish negligent parties for their actions. With the help of a drunk driving accident lawyer, you can also recover any and all insurance benefits possible in order to help you recover.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
In Ohio, you have two years to file a lawsuit after the accident occurred. Since evidence disappears quickly after a crash, however, it’s essential to meet with an accident lawyer handling DUI-related collisions as soon as possible.
To prepare to meet with an attorney, try to gather the following information:
- The who, what, where and when of the accident
- Photos of the accident scene
- Witness names and phone numbers
Often, the lawyers at FDS Law can help you gather time-sensitive information to help your case, especially if you contact us soon after the accident occurred. It’s free to meet with us, so get in touch right away.