Every driver on the road is expected to demonstrate a certain level of responsibility. This is critical if we want to make sure drivers are safe on our roads. However, collisions and drunk driver accidents do happen and often, they are the result of the driver’s negligence.
Negligence is defined as the inability to demonstrate responsible behavior. Drivers are required to have a duty of reasonable care which means that they have to ensure they avoid actions that could possibly harm another party. If they fail to do so, they are said to be negligent.
Whenever a driver operates a vehicle knowing that he is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, he is being negligent. If he gets into an accident while being in this state, he is liable for any damages that result from his negligence.
Ohio Drunk Driver Car Accident Rates
According to statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), 305,964 traffic crashes occurred in Ohio in 2016. These crashes resulted in 1,133 fatalities and 112,000 injuries. Out of the total crashes, 12,243 were alcohol-related. More than 300 of these crashes were fatal and led to 346 deaths and 7,199 injuries. In addition, 30.5% of the deaths in 2016 were the result of alcohol-related crashes. This is a huge number and a significant area of concern as far as Ohio is concerned.
The fact of the matter is that being hit by a drunk driver can be one of the most frustrating experiences for any individual. This is especially true if the accident results in serious injuries that end up changing your life completely. Things can get even more frustrating if the driver, who was drunk and completely at-fault, turns out unscathed. However, do not let the situation make you panic at the time of the accident. Make sure that you report all the details of the accident to the officers who arrive on the scene. If you or any of your passengers are injured, seek medical attention immediately. Report the accident to your insurance company. Ohio uses a comparative negligence system but in this scenario, the drunk driver is clearly at fault, and you can rest assured that the law will be on your side.
Should I Take My Drunk Driver Accident Claim to a Ohio Court?
You can, and should, take your accident claim to court. The State of Ohio is very strict when it comes to drunk driving. If it is a first-time drunk driving incident, the driver will receive an administrative license suspension of 90 days. This suspension is independent of the court ordered suspension which could be from 6 months to 3 years. First offense drunk drivers may also be required to use an ignition interlock device. With respect to criminal penalties, a first-time drunk driving offense can result in a minimum 3-day jail sentence and a maximum six-month sentence if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is between .08%-17%. If the BAC is above 0.17, the driver may be incarcerated for a minimum of 6 days. There may be additional fines between $375 to $1075. For repeat DUI offenders, sentencing could increase to six years. Fines could be between $500 to $1625 with a license suspension from 1 to 5 years.
Clearly, you have a very strong case if the other driver was drunk or was intoxicated due to drugs. There is no question as to who the negligent party is in such circumstances.
If you have been in a car accident where the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in Cincinnati especially because Ohio is an at-fault state. The biggest thing in your favor if you are hit by a drunk driver is that there will not be much of a fight against your claim. Not only are insurance companies bound by their contract to pay you compensation if their client is clearly at-fault, if the case does go to court, even the juries are generally very severe on the drunk driver. They want to make sure that such negligence and recklessness is punished.
However, the pain and suffering for those who suffer major losses and injuries due to accidents with such drivers are sometimes not sufficiently compensated with money. That is why you should know that if you have been in a collision with a drunk driver and have suffered catastrophic injuries, you can often claim double or triple the damages. If the accident results in a fatality, the family members can file a personal injury claim for wrongful death against the at-fault driver.
Meet with a Skilled Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyer for a Consultation
If a car accident has taken place involving a drunk driver and if you are the victim, you can be sure that your rights are a priority for the legal system. If you are unsure of how to proceed, contact one of our attorneys at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers to find out your options, how you can seek damages, what claims you can make, what your entitlements are based on the injuries you have incurred and how you can be compensated. Keep in mind that in a drunk driving accident, where you are not at-fault, your case is very strong. A good lawyer can ensure you are adequately compensated.
The drunk driver’s insurance company is in a weak position. They may try to resolve the case as quickly as possible and may offer you a settlement within hours of the accident. While we do not discourage an out-of-court settlement, make sure that you do not rush into it and accept the very first offer. The law is very stern with drunk drivers and if you feel that you and your family has suffered more than what is being offered to you, remember that you can file a personal injury claim and you can sue the at-fault driver for damages much higher than the insurance company may be offering. Their goal is to resolve the matter as soon as possible but for you, it may be best to evaluate the situation further before accepting any offers. Call us now at 1-800-218-4243 for a free consultation and we can discuss your options in more detail.