Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Wilmington, NC

drunk driver holding a beer bottle

Drunk driving is reckless and dangerous. When a driver chooses to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel, they put themselves and others on the road at risk of severe injury or death. When a car accident occurs due to a drunk driver injuring someone in Wilmington, they should be held accountable for the harm they cause.

At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience helping victims of drunk driving accidents get answers and seek justice. We know how devastating these accidents can be and how they can impact your life and future.

If you’ve been severely injured in a drunk driving accident in Wilmington or surrounding areas of North Carolina, contact us today for a free and confidential case review.

How Can a Wilmington Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Help You?

Drunk driving car crash cases can be complicated. Victims injured by drunk drivers have legal rights and deserve both justice and fair monetary compensation. Often, it takes a lawyer to accomplish both goals.

If you were injured in a collision caused by a drunk driver, you need an experienced Wilmington drunk driving accident attorney to help you seek the most from your claim. From investigating the accident to dealing with insurance adjusters and lawyers, an attorney can fight to protect your rights. We’re always ready to go to court if we have to.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driver Crash?

It might seem obvious that the intoxicated driver is to blame for the crash. But in North Carolina, the drunk driver may not be the only party liable for the crash. Other parties could also be responsible under the state’s dram shop law.

Under the dram shop law and social host liability, some negligent vendors and hosts can be held responsible for drunk driving crashes when they provided alcohol to the at-fault drunk driver.

Using the dram shop law, vendors may be liable for a drunk driving accident if:

  • The vendors negligently serve alcohol to minors who are under the age of 21.
  • The negligently served minor causes an accident.
  • The accident results in injuries covered by the legal concept of “proximate cause.”

Social host liability may come into play when:

  • A host provides or serves alcohol.
  • The host should have reasonably known the person they were serving was intoxicated.
  • The host knew the person would be driving after being served alcohol.

Speak to an experienced attorney to find out whether these situations might apply to your case.

I’m the Victim of a DWI Accident. What Do I Do?

If a drunk driver injured you, you have legal rights.

You can protect your ability to pursue compensation by:

  1. Remaining on the scene and calling the authorities
  2. If possible, take photos of the scene, damage, and your injuries
  3. Getting the contact information of any witnesses to the accident
  4. Contacting an attorney
  5. Letting your attorney handle communication with insurers and the driver
  6. Keeping records of all medical bills, repair costs, and out-of-pocket receipts
  7. Following all medical advice and treatment programs
  8. Never posting about the accident on social media

Compensation After an Accident Caused by an Impaired Driver

Typically, victims of drunk driving accidents can seek compensation for the following:

  • Accident-related medical expenses
  • Lost income due to missed work
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering related to the accident
  • Property damaged in the accident

In rare circumstances, victims may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages don’t cover a specific loss. Instead, they punish the driver to discourage wrongdoing. An experienced Wilmington DWI attorney at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, can determine whether punitive damages might be appropriate in your case.

How Long Do You Have to File an Accident Claim?

North Carolina allows victims three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver. This statute of limitations is strict, meaning that a lawsuit filed after the deadline will typically be dismissed. There are some exceptions to this rule, and therefore to avoid losing your right to compensation you should an attorney as soon as possible.

What Happens If the Driver Is Acquitted or Never Charged?

Driving while intoxicated is against the law. However, it’s important to note that there’s a distinction between the criminal consequences of drunk driving and the possible civil consequences. Law enforcement officials work with prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges are warranted. Depending on the available evidence, a driver may not be charged or could be acquitted in criminal court.

Victims of DWI accidents victims may pursue a civil, not criminal, claim against a drunk driver regardless of what happens with any criminal DUI charges. Civil courts have lower burdens of proof and allow victims to recover compensation for damages caused by an at-fault party, such as a drunk driver. They could do so even if the driver was acquitted of any criminal charges or if the driver was never charged.

Contact Our Experienced Wilmington Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Today

If a drunk driver has hurt you, help is just a phone call away. The team at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC is ready to help you demand the accountability and just compensation you deserve. Contact us to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate North Carolina drunk driving accident lawyer today.