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Drunk drivers rarely think about the consequences of their actions. However, getting behind the wheel of a car and driving anywhere is a choice, and intoxicated drivers who cause devastating accidents in Wadesboro can be held accountable for that choice.
At the law firm of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, we are advocates for justice. We believe that drunk drivers need to be held responsible for their behavior, and injured victims should be fairly compensated for their losses in alcohol-related crashes. Our legal team has more than 40 years of experience helping North Carolina drunk driving crash victims demand the accountability and compensation they deserve.
If you were injured in a Wadesboro alcohol-related motor vehicle accident, do not hesitate to contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC. We are ready to discuss your situation and determine your best options in a free legal consultation.
Let us put our experience and resources to work for you and your family. We charge no legal fees for our services unless and until we recover compensation for you.
North Carolina DWI Laws and Statistics
In North Carolina, drunk driving is referred to as driving while impaired (DWI).
A driver can be convicted of DWI under the following circumstances:
- They have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more.
- Their faculties are noticeably impaired by alcohol or a drug.
- They have any schedule I controlled substance in their body.
North Carolina also has zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking. It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.
Drivers convicted of DWI can face jail time and other punishments. Repeat offenders with previous DWI convictions on their record or impaired motorists who cause serious accidents may face more significant penalties. A DWI conviction may result in prison time, fines, and the suspension of a person’s driver’s license.
DWI is not a victimless crime. Most drivers think they are fine to drive or that nothing bad will happen if they only go a few miles. Research shows that DWI is reckless and deadly. In a nine-year timespan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 3,848 total fatalities related to alcohol-impaired crashes on North Carolina roads.
How Are DWI Accident Claims Different from DWI Criminal Cases?
When an impaired motorist causes an accident, they can face legal issues on two fronts. First, since drunk driving is illegal, a drunk driver can be arrested and charged with DWI (sometimes called DUI in other states). They will then proceed through the criminal legal system to answer for their actions and potentially face criminal penalties, such as prison time if they are convicted.
A driver can also face repercussions for impaired driving in the form of a civil lawsuit filed by accident victims. Unlike a criminal case, which the government brings, a civil lawsuit is a way for a victim to seek compensation from a negligent person responsible for causing an accident and injuries.
The burden of proof is lower in a civil trial than in a criminal trial. So, even if a defendant is found not guilty in criminal court, they could still be determined to be liable in civil court, meaning they would be responsible for paying for the injured victim’s economic and non-economic losses.
Compensation After an Accident Caused by an Impaired Driver
The amount of money you may be able to recover after an accident with a drunk driver will depend on the nature of the accident and the severity of your injuries. In general, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Wrongful death benefits in fatal crashes
- Property damage
- Other costs
An experienced drunk driving attorney can help you calculate and fight for the full value of your claim.
Determining Liability for Drunk Driving Crashes in Wadesboro, NC
You may think a case against a drunk driver would be open and shut. Unfortunately, establishing liability in a drunk driving injury claim isn’t always easy. An attorney is essential for helping accident victims pursue compensation after a drunk driving crash. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of the accident and collect vital evidence to establish liability and strengthen the validity of your claim.
Evidence may include police reports, the driver’s BAC test results, photographs of the crash scene, surveillance footage, witness statements, expert testimony, medical records, and more.
North Carolina follows a pure contributory negligence rule. The rule dictates that if a civil court finds a victim even slightly responsible for the circumstances of a crash, the victim will be barred from recovering any compensation.
North Carolina’s Dram Shop Law
In Wadesboro, drunk drivers may not be the only ones who can be held responsible for causing an accident. North Carolina has a dram shop law. This law dictates that certain alcohol vendors may be at least partially responsible for a collision if the following conditions are involved:
- A vendor negligently served alcohol to a person under the age of 21.
- The minor caused the accident while under the influence of alcohol sold or served by the vendor.
- The accident was proximately caused by the minor’s negligent driving while intoxicated.
The law does not let a victim hold the vendor accountable for simply negligently serving alcohol. It only applies to businesses that negligently serve minors who then cause an accident.
However, it may be possible to file a traditional negligence-based lawsuit against a vendor, such as a bar or a restaurant. If a bartender or restaurant server negligently serves a visibility intoxicated patron, for example, and that patron causes an accident, you may be able to file a negligence claim against the vendor.
Social Host Liability in Wadesboro, North Carolina
Case precedent in North Carolina has helped establish that private hosts may be held civilly liable when intoxicated guests cause drunk driving accidents. A victim may be able to recover compensation from the social host if they:
- Provided or served alcohol at their event.
- The host knew or should have reasonably known that the person they served was intoxicated.
- The host knew the person would be driving after being served alcohol.
Statute of Limitations on Drunk Driving Accident Claims
North Carolina generally gives victims three years from the crash to file a civil lawsuit. Outside certain rare exceptions, if you fail to file the paperwork for your suit in time, the court will dismiss your case, and you will be unable to pursue compensation for your losses.
How a Wadesboro Drunk Driving Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
The legal team at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, is prepared to fight aggressively to protect your rights and see justice done. We can help you by:
- Completing a detailed investigation into the cause of the crash
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Managing communications with insurers
- Gathering medical documents and other vital information to strengthen your claim
- Negotiating with insurers on your behalf for full and fair compensation
- Preparing a civil case for court if necessary
Talk to Our Wadesboro Drunk Driving Crash Lawyer Now
If a drunk driver has injured you, contact the Wadesboro personal injury lawyers at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, today for a free consultation. We’re here to help you hold the driver who injured you accountable.