Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. When they're caused by an impaired driver, however, it makes the matter that much more difficult. You're a responsible driver who wouldn't get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, and being injured as result of another motorist's negligence can feel personal. Impaired drivers are some of the most dangerous drivers on our roadways, and they cause some of the deadliest accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured by an impaired driver, you need an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney on your side.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares the following eye-opening statistics:
- Every day in the United States, an average of almost 30 people die in traffic accidents that are caused by drunk drivers.
- In total, the accidents caused by drunk drivers claim more than 10,000 lives each year in the United States.
- In 2010 (the last year for which cost analysis is available), drunk driving accidents led to $44 billion in damages.
- In 2018, there were 10,511 deaths caused by impaired drivers.
- A full 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018 were caused by drunk drivers, which amounts to almost one in three total accidents.
The Effects Alcohol Has on Motorists
Alcohol is measured in one's system by its concentration in blood (blood alcohol concentration, BAC), and in Tennessee – as in most other states – the legal limit is 0.08 percent. NHTSA reports the physical and mental effects that alcohol in the following concentrations has on a motorist's ability to drive safely:
- With a BAC of .02, the driver relaxes and may experience some loss of judgement, an altered mood, and increased warmth in the body.
- With a BAC of .05, the driver's judgement will be further impaired, and he or she may exhibit exaggerated behavior, may lose some control of his or her small muscles (such as ability to focus one's eyes), and will be less alert and less inhibited – all while feeling pretty good (typically).
- With a BAC of .08 (the legal threshold for DUI), the driver's muscle coordination suffers, including his or her reaction time, balance, vision, speech, and hearing. Further, he or she is likely to be less aware of impending danger and to experience diminished judgement, reasoning, self-control, and memory.
From here, things become progressively worse, and it can be definitively stated that none of these effects have a safe place behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
If an impaired driver leaves you or someone you care about injured, the damages sustained can be immense, including:
- Medical Expenses – Your medical costs will likely begin with emergency care and transportation and will move on to surgery and aftercare, treatment from doctors and specialists, rehabilitation, physical therapy, prescription medications, adaptive physical devices, home health care, and much more. If your damages are serious, you may require ongoing medical interventions and may face secondary health concerns.
- Lost Wages – If you're injured, you won't be returning directly to work, and if your injuries are serious, your absence from work can be protracted. Further, serious injuries can leave you facing diminished earnings into your future (if you are able to return to your job at all).
- Pain and Suffering – The physical pain and suffering associated with being injured in a car accident is difficult enough, but when you compound it with the emotional pain and suffering associated with being injured in a violent car accident that was caused by a drunk driver, it becomes that much more serious.
In order to regain your health and well-being to the best of your ability, you need to obtain just compensation.
In order to obtain just compensation, you'll need to go through the insurance company that's covering your accident, and toward that end, it's important to keep all of the following in mind:
- The insurance company is invested in settling for less rather than more – and they have plenty of techniques that help them accomplish this goal.
- The insurance adjuster in charge of your claim is adept at moving claimants like you to make damaging statements. You are not required to provide the insurance rep with a statement, and it's almost certainly in your best interest not to do so.
- The insurance company may make an early settlement offer – not out of the goodness of its heart but in an effort to coax you into signing on the dotted line before you're aware of the full extent of your injuries (and future health implications). Never sign an insurance settlement offer related to a personal injury claim until you've consulted with an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney.
- The insurance company may make the claims process so lengthy, complicated, or otherwise arduous that you contemplate simply giving up in frustration.
- The insurance company may deny your claim outright. Some claimants are too overwhelmed to pursue the matter further. Don't be one of these claimants.
- The insurance company may also attempt to divert blame away from the impaired driver and toward you by minimizing his or her impairment, by denying his or her impairment, and/or by claiming that you were also at fault.
Don't be swayed by the insurance company's tactics. While you concentrate on taking care of your health, allow your formidable personal injury attorney to skillfully negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of your best interests and your rightful compensation.
Don't Wait to Consult with an Experienced Nashville Personal Injury Attorney
If an impaired driver leaves you or someone you love injured in an accident, your recovery hinges on your ability to obtain just compensation. This is exactly why the dedicated Nashville personal injury attorneys at Labrum Law are committed to effecting your most robust claim in support of its most favorable resolution. Our resourceful legal team is focused on your rights, so please don't hesitate to contact or call us at (615) 338-9500 today.