Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Baton Rouge
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person is killed in a drunk driving accident every 45 minutes, averaging about 32 fatalities per day. Many more are injured in non-fatal accidents. With a history of winning sizable awards for our personal injury clients, you can trust Murray & Murray, LLC to offer you guidance and counsel throughout the legal process of recovering damages from your drunk driving accident.
Louisiana Drunk Driving Laws
Louisiana state laws prohibit operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, or while under the influence of any legal or illicit drugs that would impair your ability to drive. If pulled over for a DUI, the driver faces multiple consequences, including jail, fines, and license revocation. If a driver has a BAC of .15% or more, they must serve at least 48 hours in jail on their first offense and 96 hours in jail on their second offense.
Proving Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
In order to recover damages in a drunk driving accident, your attorney must prove liability. Drivers owe other road users a duty of care to be sober and use reasonable caution behind the wheel. In order to establish the drunk driver’s negligence, your attorney must prove that the defendant breached their duty to use reasonable care when operating their motor vehicle under the influence, which caused the drunk driving accident and led to your injuries. Then they must demonstrate how your injuries resulted in the losses you are claiming.
Damages You May Seek in Your DUI Accident Case
Three types of damages that your attorney from Murray & Murray, LLC will fight for you to recover are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Damages compensate you for your financial losses and non-financial losses and can be ordered to punish a drunk driver for their recklessness and negligence.
Being injured in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driver leads to expensive medical treatments such as surgeries, medications, follow-up visits with specialists, and physical therapy. You may have missed days or weeks of work and will be unable to return in the foreseeable future. You can recover these and other types of economic damages in a personal injury case. Economic damages also include the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Noneconomic damages are subjective damages such as pain and suffering. The law recognizes nonpecuniary losses, such as a loss of enjoyment of life, the loss of the use of a limb, the loss of the use of one of your senses (e.g. deafness or blindness as a result of the accident), and loss of consortium. Mental anguish and emotional distress are types of noneconomic damages.
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for exceptionally reckless behavior and are meant to deter them and others from engaging in similar acts in the future. However, punitive damages are only awarded under special circumstances. A judge or jury may only award them if they believe that the defendant acted intentionally. Having an experienced attorney with a successful track record of winning cases for their clients increases your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve. In the state of Louisiana, punitive damages are capped at $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages is less than $100,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages if they’re over $300,000.
How Much Can I Get in a DUI Accident Settlement?
The total amount of your economic damages is not necessarily the amount that you will be awarded. In order to determine your settlement amount, your attorney takes your total financial losses, encompassing everything from your medical expenses to your damaged property, and provides that to the insurance company, which then multiplies those damages by a factor between 1.5 and five. The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier.
For example, Angie is hit by a drunk driver on her way home from work. She suffers multiple broken bones and a brain contusion and needs two surgeries plus physical therapy to treat her back injuries. The drunk driving accident has had a significant impact on her life, like preventing her from working her job for several months. She suffers from depression from feeling like she is observing her family but is not able to participate in things with them like she used to. Because of the physical pain and emotional suffering that the accident has caused her, her multiplier could be as high as five.
Compensation After Drunk Driving Accidents
In order to receive compensation for your injuries, you must prove liability. The strength of your case and the ability to recover maximum compensation are dependent on the evidence that your attorney provides. We exhaust our resources proving your case. First, we depose witnesses of your accident. We also gather testimony from expert witnesses, who are authorities in specialized fields and whose testimony can be used to explain how an accident happened or elaborate on your injuries. The types of expert witnesses we may call upon in your case include law enforcement experts, medical doctors, and accident reconstructionists.
We have the staff to dedicate to gathering other documents and reviewing them for your case, including:
- Your medical records
- The photos and videos taken from the scene of the accident
- The police report
- The chemical test or sobriety field test performed at the scene of the accident
- Studies on drunk driving accidents that support your case
Injuries after a drunk driving accident are typically traumatic and include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Burns, road rash, and other skin abrasions
How An Attorney Can Help You
When you are facing enormous economic losses and the complexity of a drunk driving case, which may also have a criminal case paralleling it in another court, you need the assistance of a legal expert. You may quickly find yourself overwhelmed trying to do it all on your own.
Call (225) 396-5143 now to speak to one of the personal injury lawyers at Murray & Murray, LLC about your drunk driving accident. Before our attorney-client relationship begins, we provide you with a free case evaluation to determine if you have a valid drunk driving case. We then work tirelessly to negotiate with the insurance company for you. We care about our Baton Rouge clients, and we are ready to fight for you.