What’s The Average PI Settlement if You Were Hit By a Drunk Driver?

Car accidents are the most common type of accidents on U.S. roads. Thousands of Americans are maimed and killed every year through no fault of their own. The reasons for this appalling tragedy are many and varied. Some accidents are caused by drunk drivers; others because of aggressive driving, speeding, inattention to traffic rules and distracted driving.

If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you have a good chance that you could obtain fair compensation for the cost of your injuries and damage to your vehicle by filing a personal injury claim. The damages claimed would be proportional to the severity of the crash and could be anything from several thousand dollars through to hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have a long term or permanent disability. The use of an experienced personal injury attorney would help guarantee a fair settlement being reached with the drunk driver’s insurer.

Factors That Affect a Claim Against a Drunk Driver

When filing a personal injury claim, the demand letter is normally aimed at the at-fault driver’s insurer, who would have covered their client for third party claims. No insurer likes to make insurance payments, even when the plaintiff is seriously injured or even killed because of their client’s negligent driving. Personal injury claims must be accompanied by sufficient evidence showing:

  • that the fault lay with the insurer’s client
  • that an act of negligence caused the injuries you are claiming for

The amount of damages, i.e. the size of the settlement claimed, would depend on several factors, including the cost of medical treatment, how much the injuries affected the ability to earn the sort of level of income previously enjoyed, the emotional or psychological effect of the accident, the cost of the damage done to the vehicle and the future costs of all of these factors, if applicable.

Every car accident is unique and it is quite possible that an encounter with a drunk driver might just result in a gentle nudge when the driver forgets to use the hand brake in a parking lot. It could also leave you near to death if a drunk truck driver hits your vehicle from the side at an intersection.

What if I'm Rear-Ended by a Driver Expressing Road Rage?

Proving Negligence After a Drunk Driver Accident

It is likely that if you were hit by a drunk driver that the police would be involved. If the driver was DUI this may mean that he or she would be charged with a DUI offense by the police. This doesn’t directly affect you, as a conviction for DUI will not pay your medical bills or enable you to go back to work if your leg was broken or you were left paralyzed below the waist.

However, as proving negligence is half the battle when preparing a civil claim for damages, the fact that the driver who hit you was subsequently charged or convicted for DUI does indicate that negligence was probably the main factor that led to your injuries. It also influences what level of damages you could seek as an accident victim. You are much more likely to be awarded punitive damages, for example, which are awarded when there are serious examples of negligence involved.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney After Any Serious Car Crash Accident

It is not worth trying to claim damages all by yourself. Most PI attorneys provide free consultations to discuss accident claims and they also generally work on a contingency fee basis. That means you won’t have to face an upfront legal fee as this is absorbed into the settlement if damages are awarded. In most cases, insurers will make a payment without the attorney having to resort to a lawsuit. However, if you have been seriously injured and are seeking substantial damages, it is best to look for an attorney with recent trial experience as the threat of going to trial can put pressure on insurers to settle.

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