A car accident injury caused by a drunk driver may be compensated differently in court because a jury may be more outraged at the conduct. The same damages caused by a sober driver may not be compensated as highly as the injury caused by a drunk driver. Lawyers and insurance companies know that fact, so the settlement value will most likely be higher as well.
If you or a loved one has been in a car crash with someone who has been drinking alcohol, you do not have to pursue a lawsuit alone. An experienced car accident attorney can help you recover the losses you have suffered. Memphis drunk driver accident lawyer David E. Gordon has handled many cases such as these and is ready to help you hold the at-fault driver accountable for their mistake in civil court or during settlement negotiations.
What Are Some Common Scenarios Seen in Drunk Driving Accident Cases?
Drunk driving accidents are similar to other collisions in Memphis where drivers are sober. The main problem with the drunk driver is that their reaction time is impaired. As a result, the drunk driver may cause rear-end crashes that a sober driver would have avoided or he may miscalculate the distance between his car and an oncoming vehicle, thinking it is safe to turn left when it is not.
A drunk driver may exhibit dangerous behavior, such as crossing the center line drifting into oncoming traffic, especially on curvy roads. They are not only more likely to cause a rear-end collision, but are also more likely to be traveling faster, so accidents with drunk drivers can be much more severe.
Comparative Fault in Tennessee
When the injured person is also the drunk driver, it is going to be very difficult for him to be compensated. In Tennessee, damages are distributed by the court based on comparative fault. This means that in order to be compensated for injuries, a person must be less than 50% at fault in the accident.
If a person is injured in an accident and is found to have been drunk at the time, it will most likely be a situation where some degree of fault will be placed on the drunk driver. The only exception would be in the accident for which the drunk driver’s actions had no consequence on the accident whatsoever. For example, if a drunk driver is rear-ended by a sober driver, then it may be that the alcohol had no relationship with or effect on the collision at all.
In that event, the drunk driver should be allowed to recover from the sober driver even though they were intoxicated. However, this is a rare case. In most cases, the drunk driver is going to be found at least partially responsible for the accident. If they are found to be 50% or more at fault, then they will not be able to be compensated at all for their injuries. After a car crash in Memphis involving a drunk driver, involved individuals should speak with a local attorney to evaluate who might be liable for damages.
Recoverable Damages for Both Parties
If a lawsuit is filed by a person injured by a drunk driver, in addition to medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, the injured party may also be able to ask the jury for punitive damages. Punitive damage is a monetary award given to punish a person who engaged in conduct that is not tolerated in a civilized society. It is intended to discourage similar behavior in the future. Drinking and driving is one of those behaviors that we do not tolerate in the United States.
These awards to the plaintiff can be especially punishing against the drunk driver because automobile and truck liability protection do not cover punitive damages. This means that if someone is guilty of causing injury to another person while driving drunk, their insurance policy will not help them pay punitive damages.
The flip side of that situation is that the injured party cannot be compensated by the drunk driver’s insurance company. To be compensated with punitive damages, the claim must be made against the individual driver himself.
Even though liability insurance does not include punitive damages, lawyers and insurance companies know that the value of these cases can be great. When the jury hears that the driver was intoxicated, the money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life goes up. Even if the jury never awards punitive damages, compensatory damages will increase. A Memphis attorney could work to maximize available compensation for anyone who was hurt in a drunk driving accident.
Contact a Memphis Drunk Driver Accident Attorney to Handle Your Case
A driving while intoxicated incident can be devastating, yet it can also be a tricky claim to navigate. David E. Gordon is practiced in these types of cases and can help you file a personal injury claim and build a strong case to present to the jury.
A Memphis drunk driving accident lawyer could help you achieve the outcome you deserve. Call today to learn more and schedule your free consultation with David.