Driving under the influence is a criminal offense. If a person chooses to drink and drive and causes an accident, they not only face the criminal penalties for doing so but can be punished with compensatory and punitive damages.
Victims of DUI accidents can suffer from serious, debilitating injuries that require long-term medical care. Some may even lose their lives because of the poor decisions of another.
To ensure you receive compensation for your DUI accident injuries, you need an attorney that has experience handling these types of cases. A good personal injury attorney will protect your rights and aggressively fight for compensation.
While the insurance company might offer you a settlement quickly, realize that it is your right to consult with an attorney. Do not think that if you hire an attorney, you will lose all your funds to a contingency fee. Instead, hiring an attorney often yields a higher settlement and more money in your pocket than if you negotiate with insurance companies alone.
10 Reasons Vancouver Victims Need a DUI Accident Lawyer on Their Side
Whether it is the idea of going to trial or you are worried about the costs, it is in your best interest to put aside your doubts and consult with an attorney. If you are still unsure, here are a few reasons to consider having an accident attorney on your side.
1. Attorneys Yield Higher Settlements
An attorney will receive a higher settlement from the insurance company than if you were to negotiate alone. This is because attorneys work alongside professionals to calculate the damages you deserve and ensure future costs are taken care of, too. Victims often do not realize the types of compensation they can receive or the actual costs of their injuries long-term: such as time off work, medical treatments, or pain and suffering.
2. A Potential for Punitive Damages
The insurance company will not automatically hand over punitive damages. Instead, you need to file a lawsuit to establish the liability against that drunk driver and request punitive damages.
Punitive damages do not apply in all accident cases. But in a drunken driving accident case, you may receive punitive damages because of the driver’s gross negligence. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant – not compensate the victim. Therefore, these are in addition to the compensatory damages you would receive.
3. You May Have a Case for Third-Party Liability
Sometimes, the facility that provided the alcohol can also be named in your lawsuit. If the bar, restaurant, or club continued to serve alcohol to a patron that they knew would drive home and was apparently too intoxicated, then dram shop laws apply. To explore your options of holding a third party responsible, you need an attorney to review the case and argue that third-party liability exists.
4. Insurance Companies Settle Faster with Attorneys
Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line. One tactic they use is to draw out the settlement phase and wait for the victim to become desperate. Once you find yourself over your head with medical costs, lost wages, and more, they assume you will accept the first seemingly large settlement they give to you.
Once an attorney is involved, insurance companies move faster. They do not draw out the process, and they settle quickly because they want to avoid a lawsuit.
When you have been injured in a DUI accident, your judgment is hindered by the fact that you are dealing with your injuries and economic losses. You cannot possibly be objective, but an attorney can. Attorneys have no personal stake in your case, and they will not only ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, but they can negotiate more effectively because they are not emotionally tied to the situation.
6. Getting Past the Red Tape
You do not have a thorough understanding of personal injury law or even how to get past the roadblocks that insurance companies like to place. Instead of worrying about legal procedures or learning the confusing legal jargon, you can focus on getting better while an attorney handles the red tape.
7. Access to Investigators
Even if the person was convicted of drunken driving, you still have the burden of proof to show the court that the defendant owes you compensation for your injuries. Sometimes, this requires an investigator to gather evidence.
Personal injury attorneys have access to investigators who can examine the case, interview witnesses, and gather strong evidence so that you win your claim.
8. Experience in Jury Trials
Not all cases settle out of court. And if your case makes it to trial, you want an attorney. There are specific procedures you must follow in court, and an attorney knows these procedures because they have been in the courtroom dozens of times.
9. No Fees
A personal injury attorney works on a contingency fee basis. That means that if they cannot recover compensation in your accident case, you do not pay them for their services. You may be required to pay for certain fees, but regardless, you have minimal risks for hiring an attorney.
10. It Makes It Emotionally Easier on You
One of the biggest reasons to hire an attorney is your emotional and mental well-being. Being involved in an accident is traumatic. You should not have to deal with the insurance company, defense attorneys, or even the paperwork required to file a lawsuit. Instead, you need someone who can handle these tasks for you, help you get the compensation you need, and look out for your best interests.
Speak with an Injury Advocate Today
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident involving a drunken driver and you suffered severe injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC, today.
You can meet with us risk-free by calling 206-488-1611 or contact us online with your questions.