Drunk driving accidents are not really accidents at all. When people drive drunk, they have made a decision to put themselves and others at risk for injury or death.
The Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at Carr & Carr Attorneys at Law provide aggressive representation for victims of crashes that involve drunk driving. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a collision caused by an intoxicated driver, call us at 866-510-0580 or contact us online to learn how we can help.
Initial consultations are free, and our attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Drunk Driving in Oklahoma
Although alcohol-related crashes have declined in recent years, drunk driving remains a deadly problem in Oklahoma and across the nation. In fact, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Oklahoma has a higher rate of fatal drunk driving crashes than the national average.
From 2003-2012, 2,205 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in Oklahoma. Of the 332 Oklahoma drivers killed in fatal crashes in 2015, 92 percent had at least trace amounts of alcohol in their blood and about 25 percent had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Nationally, about one-third of all traffic deaths are believed to be linked to drunk driving.
Compensation for Oklahoma Drunk Driving Victims
Drunk driving collisions often result in severe injuries or death to innocent people. If you were hurt in a drunk driving crash, you may be facing extensive medical costs, time away from work, and the need for long-term treatment.
Compensation for drunk driving crash victims may include money for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
If a loved one was killed in a crash caused by an intoxicated driver, surviving family members may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Proving the Crash was Caused by Alcohol
One of the first challenges that injury victims will likely face in their quest for compensation is proving that the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol and unable to safely drive a vehicle. Driving after having consumed too much alcohol is a negligent – if not reckless – act that can make the drunk driver liable for the expenses and losses of others, but it falls on the injury victim(s) to prove the at-fault driver was drunk. Unfortunately, the smell of alcohol or even proof that the driver consumed some alcohol before the crash is insufficient to prove the driver was “drunk.” Instead, there must usually be evidence consisting of:
- A criminal conviction in which the driver was found guilty of driving a motor vehicle while his or her breath or blood alcohol level was over the legal limit or while he or she was not able to operate a vehicle safely due to the impairing effects of alcohol;
- Breath or blood tests performed by either a hospital or a law enforcement agency that would suggest that the driver was impaired by alcohol because the alcohol concentration of his or her breath or blood was over the “legal limit”;
- Admissions made by the at-fault driver to others that he or she knew he or she was too drunk to drive, that he or she shouldn’t have been driving after drinking, or some other similar admission of fault.
Drunk Driving and Criminal Charges
Drunk or drugged driving also carries criminal implications. For example, consequences for driving under the influence (DUI) range from misdemeanor to felony charges to negligent homicide if someone is killed.
The criminal court system punishes drunk drivers who cause accidents, but it doesn’t compensate the victim of a drunk driver. Victims and families who’ve suffered a drunk driving tragedy have the right to hold that drunk driver accountable for the injuries, death, or property damage they cause.
Holding Others Accountable for a Drunk Driver’s Bad Choices
In certain cases, the establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver may also be responsible for the injuries you and/or your loved one suffers. Under what is known as “dram shop laws,” those establishments or social hosts who continue to serve alcohol in excess to another or who provide alcohol to a person who is obviously inebriated may also be sued for compensatory damages as a result of a drunk driving crash. Unlike other states that have actually passed “dram shop” laws, the ability of plaintiffs in Oklahoma to bring suit against social hosts and establishments that serve alcohol is founded upon past judicial decisions. This adds even more complexity to a drunk driving injury case.
Aggressive Representation for Drunk Driving Victims
Insurance companies work hard to limit what they pay to accident victims, and their primary settlement offers are often insufficient for victims’ needs. Furthermore, they may pressure victims to accept an unfair settlement with the promise of fast payment.
Our lawyers understand the extensive medical expenses and other costs associated with traffic accidents, and we also know the tactics insurance providers use. If you’re a drunk driving accident victim, it’s advisable to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement.
Carr & Carr Attorneys at Law has been helping injury victims since 1973, and we are dedicated to recovering the financial security injured people need to move forward with their lives. If you or a loved one was hurt in a drunk driving crash, please call us today at 866-510-0580 or contact us online for your free, no-obligation consultation.
We are proud to represent clients throughout Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas via offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Springdale.