Besides the victims, the most tragic aspect of drunk driving accidents is that they are preventable. A choice is always involved, and people should be held accountable for their decisions. A drunk driving accident lawyer helps injury victims and their families get justice and compensation for their losses.
At Slater & Zurz in Columbus, we have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and never let them get away with paying our clients less than their injuries deserve. We focus all of our efforts exclusively on getting justice for our injury victim clients and never on defending drunk drivers.
The most important things to focus on after a drunk driving injury accident are your health and getting justice for the losses you have suffered.
Depending on your situation, your losses may be significant and wreak havoc on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Generally, the more serious the injury, the more devastating the losses.
Any car accident can lead to catastrophic injuries and death. When drunk drivers are involved, victims find themselves suddenly thrust into a new existence where they may be fighting for their lives.
Some drunk driving injury accidents may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and cranial damage resulting in debilitation
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
- Damage to internal organs and internal bleeding
- Cardiac arrest
- Broken and shattered bones
Each of these outcomes creates losses or damages. If a drunk driver caused them, the driver owes the accident victim monetary compensation.
The two principal ways drunk driving accident victims get compensated is through a settlement or a verdict at trial. As you might imagine, settlements are faster than trials, although a trial is where many injury victims receive substantial verdicts.
Many factors go into the determination of how much compensation a victim receives. The figure will be based on the calculated value of the losses. In Ohio, there are two types of losses: economic and non-economic.
Economic losses are those damages that cause you to directly spend or lose money, such as:
- Hospital and medical care and treatment expenses
- Income loss and loss of the ability to earn future income
- Transportation costs associated with the injury
- Home and car modifications needed to accommodate an injured person
These and other direct financial losses are figured into the compensation equation and verified by receipts and other objective means.
Non-economic losses are subjective in nature but can have a greater impact on a person’s life than economic damages.
Compensable non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Noneconomic damages can be difficult to calculate as they have no automatic dollar value, like a medical bill. An attorney for drunk driving accidents fights to get the highest figure possible, which, according to a cap set on non-economic damages by Ohio law, is three times the economic damages not to exceed $350,000.
In some cases, punitive damages may be appropriate. Punitive damages punish malicious and egregious behavior in Ohio.
Victims do not have access to punitive damages during the insurance negotiation process. A jury must consider punitive damages after finding that a defendant acted maliciously or egregiously.
You can count on our law firm to handle your claim in a way that helps ensure you get the maximum payout available for your damages. Throughout our long history as personal injury lawyers in Columbus and across Ohio, we have recovered over $500 million in compensation for our clients.
Our fierce negotiation tactics and vigorous style of representation prevent insurance companies from convincing our clients to accept unworthy compensation payouts.
We take our role in our clients’ lives seriously and always honor their faith in us to get them justice. While our clients are healing from their injuries and rebuilding their lives, they can expect their drunk driving accident attorney to be engaged in various tasks for their case, including:
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Filing all required paperwork
- Collecting evidence
- Performing depositions
- Meeting with opposing attorneys
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in the event negotiations are not fruitful
Your Columbus drunk driving attorney will also be your counselor and advise you on the case’s progress and relevant issues, such as whether you should reject or accept a settlement offer and the implications of doing so.
Your drunk driving accident lawyer must prove that the driver who injured you was negligent. If they are unable to do so, there can be no compensation.
Under normal circumstances, personal injury lawyers have to gather evidence of negligence from various sources, such as police reports and video camera footage. It can be a long process and require many resources.
However, in Ohio, an OVI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) conviction or a plea of guilty to the charge is irrefutable proof of negligence. Known as negligence per se, it relieves your lawyer for drunk driving accidents from a sometimes heavy burden of proof.
Others besides the driver may have acted negligently and shared responsibility for the crash. For example, a bartender or host at a party who serves an obviously intoxicated person can also face liability for any damages the drunk driver caused. In some cases, punitive damages against the host or bartender may apply.
The majority of drunk driving accident cases do not go to court. Instead, insurance companies offer payouts to injury victims.
However, injury victims interested in getting the maximum compensation for their losses should be prepared for trial because insurance companies routinely seek to pay less or deny victims’ claims for profit reasons.
With that being said, defendants in civil drunk driving cases don’t play well in front of juries, and insurance companies know this. If a defendant is guilty, their insurance company will likely want to avoid trial unless the facts are in dispute or the victim played a significant role in the accident.
A drunk driving accident attorney is a valuable advocate during insurance negotiations. Their job is to protect your rights and interests and to make sure you get compensated properly for your damages.
Remember that insurance adjusters and attorneys are professionals who deal with accident claims on a daily basis. They are representing the drunk driver and trying to limit their liability. You also deserve to have a professional looking after your needs.
It depends. If no injury or property damage were involved, the driver would likely face OVI charges and no civil liability. If there are injuries or property damage, the driver will also likely be liable for the damages caused by the injuries.
Don’t let an insurance company decide how much your injuries are worth. Contact Slater & Zurz to speak with our attorney in Columbus and learn what the true value of your case may be.
Remember, you need someone looking after your interests and fighting to prevent insurance adjusters from shortchanging you with inadequate compensation.
Going through the compensation process after an injury is frequently challenging, especially if you experience a serious injury. The process can also be complex and present various obstacles that block you from getting a timely and adequate settlement.
When you contract a personal injury lawyer at Slater & Zurz, you can focus your energy on recovering while your case makes its way to resolution.
Our clients already have a difficult time with their injuries. They do not need the added stress of worrying about the progress of their claim. With our lawyer for drunk driving accidents navigating their case, our clients can always expect vigorous representation and regular communication about the status of their case.
Don’t take on the other driver’s insurance company by yourself. Let an experienced Columbus personal injury attorney for drunk driving accidents fight for you. Call (614) 756-2714 for a free consultation.