While the Coronavirus is affecting the way many people in North Carolina and across the country are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday is traditionally known as one where people head to the pubs and bars to celebrate. Unfortunately, some of these people make the often-tragic mistake of getting in their vehicle to drive while under the influence of alcohol. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year and also one of the deadliest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a victim is killed every 37 minutes on the holiday in alcohol-related accidents. Revelers should arrange to either have a designated driver or take a rideshare or taxi as a way to get home.
Some of the most common injuries suffered by victims of drunk driving accidents are fractured bones, brain injuries, neck injuries, spine injuries, and injuries to internal organs. The seriousness of these injuries often leaves victims with expensive medical bills, both past and future for ongoing medical care. Many victims are often left with long-term injuries or permanent disabilities, impacting their overall quality of life and their future.
Victims of drunk driving accidents can file a car accident claim against the driver responsible for the crash to collect financial compensation to help with the heavy losses they face, both economical and non-economical. Families of victims who are killed in drunk driving crashes can pursue wrongful death lawsuits against the alleged drunk driver for the loss of their loved one.
Dram Shop Liability
When a victim is injured or killed in an alcohol-related crash, they or their family may also be able to sue the business that served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused the crash. This is possible under the North Carolina dram shop law. Under this law, a business can be held partially responsible for the victim’s losses if it can be proven employees of the business were negligent in serving an already intoxicated customer.
A North Carolina car accident attorney will need to prove the following in order to be successful in obtaining financial compensation for the victim under the dram shop laws:
- The at-fault driver was legally drunk at the time of the accident
- The crash and the injuries occurred because the driver was drunk and not for any other reason
- Employees of the business named in the dram shop suit served alcohol to the at-fault driver before the crash happened
- It was that alcohol that caused or contributed to the at-fault driver’s intoxication
There are several ways an attorney can prove these elements. Employees of the business and other customers present can be called to testify during the lawsuit. Photos and videos posted on social media which could show that the driver was intoxicated but continued to be served, as well as any surveillance video the business may have, can also be used as evidence in the car accident lawsuit.
In addition to dram shop laws, North Carolina also has social host liability laws. A victim of a drunk driving accident can pursue damages against a host who served the drunk driver the alcohol.
Let a North Carolina Injury Attorney Help
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, contact a North Carolina car accident attorney to see what type of financial damages you may be entitled to. You may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, scarring, and disfigurement.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may also be awarded punitive damages, which are separate from the losses you may have suffered. Punitive damages are meant to punish the drunk driver for an, especially egregious act.
It is important to remember that any civil action against the at-fault driver is not connected at all to any criminal charges the driver may be facing.
The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled North Carolina car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.