Everyone knows that alcohol impairs basic faculties like judgement and reaction speed. Any reasonable person would conclude that intoxication inhibits driving ability and can lead to an accident. Sadly, drunk driving crashes still occur far more often than they should nationwide, and Louisiana is no exception. Here’s what to expect in terms of injuries and your ability to recover compensation after being hit by a drunk driver in Louisiana.
Potential Injuries and Recovering Damages After a DWI Crash
Crashes involving a drunk driver aren’t known for producing mild injuries. They often involve head-on crashes or T-bone sideswipes, but even being struck from behind can still result in severe injuries. Depending on how your vehicle was hit, road conditions, and the drunk driver’s speed, you may end up suffering from the following:
- Back injuries
- Bone fractures
- Face or eye injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injury or paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wrongful death
Many of these injuries may interfere with your everyday life, as well as your ability to keep earning a paycheck. Damages owed by the liable party may be high, especially if you sustained a catastrophic injury or if a loved one passed away in the crash. Either through insurance or a lawsuit, compensation for surviving victims could include the following:
- Bills for your hospital stay, costs for medications or surgeries, or any other health care expenses related to the injury
- Costs for damage to your vehicle
- Emotional trauma and physical pain
- Estimated future medical costs if your doctor expects you will need other surgeries or therapies to reach maximum medical improvement
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages for days missed at work, as well as lost earning potential if the DWI crash caused a long-term disability
- Other lost benefits from employment, such as bonuses, expected raises, paid time off, and so on
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Rehabilitation, therapy, counseling, etc.
Identifying the Liable Party in a Drunk Driving Case
Before recovering anything, it’s crucial to have an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney investigate all aspects of the case. One of the most important parts of the investigation is determining liability for your injury.
Unlike a number of other states, Louisiana does not have a specific “dram shop” law that allows you to sue a host who overserved a patron. In fact, the ability to sue an establishment that overserved alcohol is extremely limited in New Orleans.
Liability for a drink server only occurs when you can prove the establishment either put alcohol in a non-alcoholic drink secretly, or if the driver was literally forced to consume drinks against their will. Since neither case is particularly likely, that effectively means the bar or restaurant that served the alcohol probably won’t be a source of compensation.
The driver is the most likely liable party, but there are circumstances where someone else may be ultimately responsible. For instance, if you were hit by a drunk truck driver, then you may end up pursuing litigation against the driver’s employer. There can also be cases where a third driver on the road, whether intoxicated or sober, bears responsibility for negligent behavior that caused the collision.
No matter who is responsible, your first step is to talk with an attorney about your case and find out if you have a clear path toward financial recovery. A lawyer can help with every aspect of the case, from gathering evidence to filing your lawsuit within the statute of limitations and even protecting yourself from common tactics to reduce your compensation.
Talk to a Qualified Louisiana Car Accident Attorney if You Were Hurt by a Drunk Driver
If someone decides to get drunk before driving, that person should be held accountable if they caused you harm. You need a professional on your side who understands the ins and outs of Louisiana’s legal system and can assist in protecting your important legal rights. Find out if the Scott Vicknair law firm is the right fit for your case by discussing your injury from a drunk driving crash online here. You can also call us directly at 504-500-1111.