Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Owings Mills
While public awareness campaigns have made sure that every motorist is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, far too many people choose to do it anyway. Even though law enforcement and the courts take drunk driving seriously, the penalties are still not enough to discourage every driver from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
Unfortunately, this means the consequences for others on the road are severe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people die in drunk driving collisions every day in the U.S. This means someone dies in an entirely preventable accident every 52 minutes.
Were you injured in a car accident, or did you lose a loved one in a collision with a drunk driver in Owings Mills? If so, you could be owed significant compensation. Don’t let someone else’s poor decisions cost you your health and financial stability.
How Can an Owings Mills Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Help You?
If a drunk driver hits you and caused severe injuries, you have the right to take legal action to hold them accountable for the harm they’ve caused and the property they’ve destroyed. It’s crucial to hire a lawyer to represent you since pursuing a claim can be challenging on your own.
In general, your lawyer will be able to help with:
- Evaluating your claim and informing you of your rights
- Investigating the accident and gathering evidence to support your claim
- Negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to secure a fair settlement
- Filing a lawsuit and seeking damages in court if necessary
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driving Crash?
When a drunk driver has injured you, you might be wondering who could be responsible for your injuries. Naturally, the person who decided to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol should be responsible for compensating you for the crash they caused. But, do any other parties share liability?
While some other states have “dram shop” laws that allow victims of drunk driving accidents to pursue legal action against bars, restaurants, and other establishments that over-served the motorist who caused the crash, Maryland does not. Maryland is one of eight states that do not have dram shop laws allowing victims to sue bars or retailers for over-serving someone.
It is against the law (in every state, including Maryland) to serve liquor to someone under the age of 21, so if the establishment served a minor who hit you, there could be a valid claim against that entity.
However, in most instances, your primary course of action would likely be to pursue an injury claim against the drunk driver who hit you and their insurance.
I’m the Victim of a DUI Accident, What Do I Do?
In the aftermath of a collision with a drunk driver, you should take immediate steps to protect yourself. You should:
- Call the police. You’ll want to make sure that law enforcement arrives on the scene to secure it and perform an initial investigation. If the driver was drunk, the police could arrest them and charge them with driving under the influence. Any citations or arrests made will be vital evidence for your injury claim. However, the driver could still be held civilly liable for your injuries even if they don’t face criminal charges or the charges don’t result in a conviction.
- Seek medical treatment. After an accident, getting immediate medical treatment is crucial. You’ll want to have your injuries treated, and a medical record created right away. Be sure to get a thorough medical exam even if you don’t feel immediate symptoms. The trauma of a crash can mask pain, and some potentially severe injuries don’t show signs at first.
- Collect evidence. If you can, take pictures at the scene of the vehicles, your visible injuries, and anything else you can document. Get the contact information of any witnesses. If you’re too hurt to do any of this, have a friend or family member try to do this for you.
- Keep everything. Make sure to hold onto all medical bills, vehicle repair estimates, travel receipts, pay stubs, and anything related to your accident and injuries. These documents will help account for all the expenses you’ve incurred and the financial losses you’ve suffered.
- Keep a recovery journal. While bills, lost wages, and other financial losses are easy to document, pain and suffering are often harder to quantify. By keeping a journal about treatment, recovery, and mental state, it will be easier to account for what you’ve endured.
- Contact a lawyer. Hiring an injury lawyer to represent you is something that should be done as soon as possible after the accident. You’ll want to have someone on your side who has your best interests in mind at all times.
Compensation After an Accident Caused by an Impaired Driver
If a drunk driver has injured you, you could be owed compensation for:
- Medical bills (both current and future)
- Lost wages due to time off of work for treatment and recovery
- Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
- Loss of future earnings if you’ve become disabled
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Repair costs or replacement of your vehicle if it was totaled
How Long Do You Have to File an Accident Claim?
After an accident that results in severe injuries, you have three years from the date of “discovery,” or when you knew (or reasonably should have known) that you were injured to file a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland. Maryland Code § 5-101 establishes this statute of limitations.
This means you’ll likely want to file an injury claim against the drunk driver’s insurance policy and let your lawyer handle the negotiations for a fair settlement. If the other side doesn’t offer a settlement that takes into account all your current and future losses, you’ll want to file your lawsuit before this statute of limitations runs out.
Laws Against Drunk Driving in Owings Mills
In Maryland, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Like the rest of the United States, a person is considered legally drunk if they have a blood alcohol concentration that is higher than 0.08%.
A driver who is found to be intoxicated could be asked to submit to a field sobriety test, breath or blood testing, or a combination of these tests. If they are found to be legally intoxicated, they would likely be arrested and charged with driving under the influence or DUI.
Maryland also has a lesser charge of “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). If a driver is found to have a BAC of more than 0.07% but less than 0.08%, they could be charged with DWI.
Any criminal proceedings against the driver would be entirely separate from your civil claim. Because the burden of proof is higher in a criminal case, your civil lawsuit could still be successful even if the drunk driver is not found criminally guilty of DUI or DWI.
Contact Our Experienced Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Today
If a drunk driver has injured you, turn to the Owings Mills drunk driving lawyers of Cohen & Dwin, P.A. for help. Our goal is to help you pursue the compensation you might not have gotten without an attorney on your side. Let us prove our value to you, and let us help you take action against the drunk driver who caused you harm.
For a free consultation, call us or fill out a contact form now.