By now, everyone knows the dangers and harm of drunk driving. Yet, drunk driving and drunk driving accidents are still a common occurrence in the country, including North Carolina. In fact, NC is among the top 10 most dangerous states for drunk driving. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you deserve compensation for your injuries and damages. A Wilmington drunk driving accident lawyer at Ted A Greve and Associates can help you fight for justice.
Drunk driving can lead to some of the most serious car accidents, which often result in traumatic injuries and fatalities. It’s grossly irresponsible for anyone to consume alcohol before they get behind the wheel of their car. Innocent motorists should not be the ones to pay for the expenses and losses they incur when such a person ends up causing an accident.
At Ted A Greve & Associates, we work hard to ensure that the drunk driver is held responsible for their negligent and reckless behavior. You can rely on our extensive experience to fight hard to recover the maximum compensation possible on your behalf. To learn more about how we can help, call us at (800) 693-7833 to speak to one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers.
Drunk Driving Statistics in North Carolina
According to data sourced from North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Crash Data Fact Report:
There was an average of 11,249 alcohol-related crashes in a 5-year period between 2014 and 2018. 2019 saw a total of 11,492 alcohol-related crashes. The 5-year average for alcohol-related injury crashes stood at 7,961 for the same period, while 2019 saw a total of 7,665 injury crashes involving alcohol. The 5-year average for alcohol-related fatalities in North Carolina was 393, while 2019 saw a total of 348 alcohol-related fatalities.
Drunk driving accidents generally accounted for 23.7% of the total traffic fatalities in North Carolina, but only 4% of all crashes. This means that alcohol-related crashes result in fatalities 3% of the time, while all accidents combined are fatal 0.4% of the time. From these figures, we can deduce that in North Carolina, you are 6 times more likely to die if you are involved in an alcohol-related accident compared to an accident that doesn’t involve alcohol.
What Are the BAC Limits in North Carolina?
Here is what the law in North Carolina says concerning your blood alcohol level:
- It’s illegal to drive any vehicle while noticeably impaired or while with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 or higher. If you’re driving a commercial motor vehicle, the limit is 0.04.
- Any drivers below the age of 21 are considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol level is .01 or more
- Non-commercial drivers that are 21 years or older are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or higher.
- Commercial vehicles drivers are considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or higher. Keep in mind that in North Carolina, school bus drivers are categorized as commercial drivers.
What to Do After an Accident With a Drunk Driver?
Following a car accident with a driver who has been drinking, you likely have many different things running through your mind. But, try to keep in mind these six steps listed below to make sure you don’t do something that may harm a potential case moving forward.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you want to do following an auto accident is to attend to the injured and call 911 to seek medical assistance. Remember that some injuries might not be visible right after the accident, and it’s always advisable to be very cautious. Seeking medical attention essentially puts your health first, and serves as a record that can be used as evidence in an injury case against the drunk driver.
Call the Police to Report the Accident
You also want to report the accident to the police, and this is especially important for any accident involving alcohol. The attending law enforcement will determine if the driver is impaired by administering them a field sobriety test along with other tests to measure the amount of alcohol (or other controlled substances) in their bloodstream.
Catalog the Events
Keep notes about your experiences as soon as possible from the time of the accident. Your journal should include things like the injuries you sustained, medical treatment, expenses incurred, canceled checks, and anything else that involves the accident. This is because you might need to recall a few details of the accident when your case goes to litigation. Having a journal will help you remember all the details.
Exchange Contact Information
If possible, exchange contact information with the other party and any witnesses present at the scene. Get their full names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and addresses.
If you can, it’s a good idea to take a few pictures of the accident scene. You especially want to document your injuries (and those of others), damage to the vehicles, any damage to the surrounding properties (e.g., a broken mailbox), the road conditions, and any skid marks on the road.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Near You
If you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated when the accident happened, it’s wise to consult with a drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. Keep in mind that there is a time limit for filing lawsuits, and it’s vital that your lawyer has access to the criminal evidence such as physical evidence from the scene, breathalyzer results, the police report, and witness statements while it’s still fresh. It’s not uncommon for evidence to get lost or misplaced.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Drunk Driving Accident in North Carolina?
North Carolina Law allows for victims of car accidents to demand various kinds of compensation from the individual responsible for their injuries. The damages you can recover include:
Economic damages are the expenses you incur that are easy to calculate and prove with physical evidence. They include the following:
- Medical and Hospital Expenses: This entails compensation for the costs to cater for your hospital stays, doctor visits, Emergency room services, medications, rehabilitation, and any other related medical costs.
- Future Medical Expenses: Some injuries might still be undergoing treatment when you file your claim. In a DUI/DWI injury claim, you can seek compensation for the future medical expenses based on reasonable projections.
- Lost Income: If you’re forced to spend time away from work because of the injuries sustained in the DUI accident, you can seek reimbursement for your lost income along with your projected future lost earnings.
While economic damages are easy to calculate and project with the billing statement and invoices as evidence, non-economic damages are difficult to quantify and therefore calculate. They include the following:
- Pain and suffering: This compensates you for the physical pain and emotional suffering you go through as a result of the accident.
- Mental anguish, PTSD, and stress
- Loss of consortium or companionship in wrongful death cases
- Reduced enjoyment of life or quality of life especially in cases that result in disability
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the damages recovered in the injury lawsuit. They are usually meant to serve as punishment to the defendant for their behavior, especially if the court determines it to be grossly malicious or reckless. Some courts will award punitive damages in drunk driving cases to also deter other members of the community and discourage them from future drunk driving.
However, keep in mind that the jury rarely gives out punitive damages unless the circumstances are quite special. You also need to have clear evidence that the drunk driver displayed a great disregard for human life.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in North Carolina?
For all personal injury claims, there is a time limit in place within which victims can file a claim pursuing compensation. This time limit is referred to as the statute of limitations. If you want to recover damages, you have to file your claim before the statute of limitation expires, otherwise, your claim might be rejected.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for car accident cases is three years from the date of the accident. This follows that victims of DUI/DWI accidents have a 3-year deadline to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Failure to meet the deadline would be forfeiture of the rights to file a claim in the future.
How Much Will an Attorney Cost?
When it comes to personal injury cases, including drunk driving accidents, you are not necessarily required to pay your legal fees upfront. You only need to pay your lawyers once they recover compensation on your behalf.
This is referred to as a contingency fee arrangement, and the percentage amount you pay your lawyers will be agreed upon by you and your lawyer in writing based on the NC State Bar rules. If the claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay anything whatsoever to the lawyer.
Contact a Wilmington Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you deserve justice and compensation for the losses and injuries you sustained. Our Wilmington lawyers can help you build a strong case against the negligent drunk driver, and ensure that you recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you depending on the circumstances of your case.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t have to pay us until you recover financial compensation. So, call Ted A. Greve & Associates today at (800) 693-7833 and schedule your free initial consultation.