Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion nationwide. DUI stats tell a grim story that we’ve all heard before: Drunk drivers are much more likely to cause car accidents, highway injuries, pedestrian accidents, and vehicular deaths than non-impaired drivers. It’s important to know your rights and seek representation with the aid of an experienced drunk driving lawyer.
Contact leading Oregon drunk driving lawyer today for a free consultation at 503-726-5960.
Drunk Driving: Sobering Realities
Despite the sobering headlines and untold heartache, people still get behind the wheel of their vehicles after drinking too much. This is startling, not only because of the avalanche of evidence that is at this point commonplace but also because preventing these tragedies is as simple as raising awareness of the dangers of alcohol as it can cause loss of control and detrimental risky behavior.
According to the organization Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, or simply MADD, about a quarter of car crashes with teens involve an underage drinking driver. Ninety-five percent of the 14 million people who are alcohol dependent began drinking before the legal age of 21. In 2017, 10,874 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 48 minutes – and more than 300,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes. In addition, 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
Oregon DUI Law & Tips
The legal alcohol limit in Oregon is 0.08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). However, contrary to public perception, a driver can still be charged with a DUII (Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicants) with a BAC below this limit, if the driver fails tests and/or shows signs of being “under the influence of alcohol”.
Tips from a Drunk Driving Lawyer
When a driver causes a car accident that injures or kills another person, the victim (or victim’s family, in the case of wrongful death), can file a civil claim against the drunk driver. Simultaneously, the drunk driver will also be involved with a criminal case through the District Attorney’s (DA) office. The process of filing a claim against a drunk driver is much the same as filing a claim against any negligent driver who causes injury to another person. If the drunk driver has auto insurance then the claim is against the at-fault insurance company. If that insurance policy does not provide adequate coverage, a claim can also be filed with the victim’s own auto insurance through the Underinsured Motorist (UIM) portion their coverage. If the drunk driver is driving while uninsured, then the victim’s own auto insurance will provide coverage through an Uninsured Motorist (UM) claim.
Like with any other car accident claim, the victim’s own auto insurance (PIP) will pay for the medical bills up to $15,000 or for up to two years, whichever comes first. At the resolution of the case, PIP will be reimbursed from the at-fault insurance. They will typically handle their reimbursement through inter-company arbitration, however, in some instances they will request that the plaintiff recover their subrogation amount as part of any potential settlement.
Tips from a drunk driving lawyer in Oregon emphasize the importance of gather information that can easily explain the events of a drunk driving accident where you may have been involved. For this reason, it is essential to obtain a copy of the police report which will outline the DUII charges and the BAC of the drunk driver. This will typically come from the DA’s office when they are able to release documents from the criminal portion of the case.
Common Injuries Caused by Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United State. Despite this well-known fact, there are countless lives taken each and every year due to the negligence of drunk driving. More community group and non-profit organizations seek to raise awareness of the realities of drunk driving. It can cause catastrophic injury and even death. Here are various accidents that are often caused by drunk driving:
- Head-on collisions
- Read-end collisions
- Wrong-way wrecks
Injuries sustained during motor vehicle accidents can range from minor sprains to drastic brain injury. The list may also include:
- Spinal cord
- Legs and Knee injuries
If a drunk or drugged driver injured you in Oregon, contact the Law Offices of Ryan Hilts. Our experienced injury attorney in Oregon can assess your case and help you fight for the highest possible settlement. Our firm has been representing the injured for decades.
Oregon DUI Lawyer
As with other personal injury claims, drunk driving claims encompass both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover all of the medical bills, lost wages, and other pecuniary losses (basically anything that can be proven financially). Non-economic losses encompass all of the intangible losses, commonly referred to as “pain and suffering”. If a lawsuit is filed on a drunk driving claim, “punitive damages” can also be included as part of the “prayer” amount. This amount is to punish the drunk driver and deter the drunk driver from making the same negligent and unlawful act again.
During the investigation and discovery process, it is important to determine where the drunk driver consumed alcohol. If it can be proven that the drunk driver was served alcohol while “visibly intoxicated”, then a Dram Shop claim can be filed against the establishment that served the alcohol. This provides another layer of insurance coverage for the drunk driving claim. Contact us for more information on our services as Oregon drunk driving lawyer.