Most drivers understand that getting behind the wheel after a couple of drinks isn’t a good idea, yet thousands of people in Cleveland do so each year. In fact, from 2010 to 2019, the number of drunk driving fatalities in Ohio went up by 3.4%, compared to the nation as a whole, which showed a 5.7% decrease in drunk driving deaths.
Drunk driving is one of the main factors in auto accidents in Cleveland, and if you’ve been the victim of a drunk driving collision, you know that the accident can change your life forever.
Drunk driving is a hot topic across the state, with organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and BeMyDD (Be My Designated Driver) taking action to raise awareness of the problem and create solutions.
But even with these steps, drunk drivers are still a problem for Cleveland drivers. For over 30 years, Slater & Zurz, Cleveland drunk driving accident lawyers, have been representing families who have been victims of drunk-driving-related collisions.
If you or someone you love has been injured or was killed in a DUI-related accident, we can help. Call us today at (440) 557-2861 for a free consultation about your case.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI), sometimes called Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), is illegal in Ohio. Intoxicated, or under the influence, refers to someone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, usually about two drinks within one hour.
In Ohio, a DUI charge can result in stiff fines and even jail time.
However, while it’s satisfying for many families to see the drunk driver who struck their car facing a judge in criminal court, criminal charges won’t help reimburse you for medical bills, your damaged vehicle, the pain, suffering, and emotional trauma from the car wreck, or even burial expenses if your loved one died.
Fortunately, you have options for compensation under Ohio law to hold the drunk driver financially accountable for the damages you suffered. Our experienced Cleveland personal injury attorney can help you file a civil lawsuit to help you recoup your losses.
The first few minutes after a drunk driver has hit you can be scary and painful. Your adrenaline is high, and you may be hurt or worried about your passengers. Try to stay as calm as possible and call 911 immediately.
Emergency medical services are trained to treat car accident injuries carefully, while the police can help ensure that a drunk driver doesn’t flee the scene. In addition, following the proper steps after an accident can help your drunk driving lawyer build a solid case.
Usually, if the other driver has been drinking, the last thing that they want is for you to call the police. But in Ohio, it’s illegal not to report an accident when someone was under the influence or if one or more parties involved suffered an injury.
Besides the fact that it’s required by law, it’s always a good idea to have police on the scene if one of the parties involved in the crash was intoxicated. The responding officer will also take witness statements and compile a police report which can be used to determine fault for the crash.
Drunk-driving accident injuries can be severe and life-threatening. Even if you haven’t suffered a catastrophic injury, it’s best to have a thorough exam after a car crash. Some kinds of injuries, like soft tissue strains or neck, back, and spine injuries, don’t present right away; they may take a few hours or a day to show up.
Concussions are another injury that you may not realize you suffered. Many people may have a mild concussion that they dismiss as being “just shaken up” after a collision.
Cleveland EMS workers are trained to spot the signs of these kinds of injuries and can get you on the road to recovery right away. Additionally, your medical records after the crash will be another component of the case your lawyer for drunk driving accidents will build.
Anything you say to the other driver after the accident may be used against you by their lawyer or insurance company to shift some of the blame for the wreck on you. It’s okay to ask if they are alright but refrain from engaging with them.
Only speak with the responding officer when making your witness statement, and don’t give a statement to the other party’s lawyer or insurance company without having your own attorney for drunk driving accidents present. Your lawyer will ensure that your interests are protected in every conversation.
Although your first few thoughts after a car crash probably aren’t “I need a drunk driving accident attorney,” it’s important to get professional legal representation as soon as possible.
The other party’s insurance company may be trying to contest your claim, or they may be trying to get you to sign a low-ball settlement — one that may not even cover your bills! Your lawyer in Cleveland will negotiate with the other party’s lawyers and the insurance company so that you can concentrate on recovering and healing.
A civil lawsuit allows you to recover damages from the other party after a drunk driving accident. The damages and compensation you secure can cover the medical bills you now have because of the accident and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Additionally, many people may lose time from work because of the accident and the healing of their injuries. Your suit covers your lost wages, too, plus repairing your car or replacing it if necessary.
Finally, many drunk driving car accidents result in serious injuries that may need surgery or ongoing medical treatment and aftercare, like physical therapy or chiropractor services. Your lawyer for drunk driving accidents will take that into account when calculating the amount of your damages.
Besides the economic losses you suffered, you may also file a claim for non-economic damages, known as pain and suffering or emotional trauma. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to develop PTSD, trouble eating or sleeping, or even have depression or anxiety set in.
Finally, suppose that you lost someone in a drunk driving accident. In that case, your drunk driving accident lawyer will file a wrongful death suit on your behalf, with damages that include loss of companionship and loss of consortium.
In order to recover damages, your attorney for drunk driving accidents will have to determine fault. Sometimes, this can be tricky in a car wreck, but if it’s proved that the other driver’s BAC was over the legal limit, it’s pretty clear to a judge and jury whose fault the collision was.
The police report from the scene, including photos of your injury and the wreckage, plus your medical reports, will go a long way toward proving negligence on the other driver’s part.
No. Slater & Zurz is a Cleveland personal injury law firm. This means that we represent people, like you, who have been hurt in an accident they didn’t cause. We are victim’s lawyers, and we fight to help you get compensation to help put your life back together.
Yes! Both federal and Ohio state laws allow victims of a drunk driving accident to sue the drunk driver for damages. Your drunk driving lawyer in Cleveland will represent you, from filing the lawsuit to managing its process and participating in mediation on your behalf. At Slater & Zurz, we’re here to fight for your lawsuit, all the way to the courtroom.
If they are the only party involved in the accident, they’ll still face charges for DUI.
However, suppose that a drunk driver hits another vehicle, damaging it and hurting the occupants. In that case, they can face criminal charges, which vary depending on the severity of the injuries and whether it was the driver’s first offense. Furthermore, they can also be liable in a civil court if the other driver files a lawsuit for damages.
Drunk driving is illegal, harmful, and sometimes even fatal. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident where the other driver was drinking, you have legal recourse. A Cleveland drunk driving accident lawyer can help.
At Slater & Zurz, we focus on helping victims like you get justice after a drunk driving crash. We can file a lawsuit for damages and stand beside you every step of the way. Don’t try to navigate this difficult legal process on your own. Contact our Cleveland car accident lawyers today at (440) 557-2861 for a free consultation for your case.