When drivers get behind of the wheel of any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, they knowingly put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk. The devastation from a drunk driving crash affects not only the victims, but also their families. Often these collisions result in serious, life-altering injuries, mounting medical costs and lasting emotional trauma.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, you may be eligible to recover significant compensation for your injuries and other losses.
At Bernstein & Poisson, we are prepared to help you understand your legal options after being injured in drunk driving crash. Partners, Jack Bernstein and Scott Poisson have been representing injury victims for decades, including those harmed by impaired drivers. We have a proven track record and are committed to fighting for maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.
Our partners have more than six decades of combined experience and our firm has secured more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements.
The initial consultation is free and there are no upfront fees for our services. That means we do not get paid for representing you unless you receive compensation.
Am I Eligible to Seek Compensation After a Drunk Driving Crash?
Drunk driving crashes are a big problem in the Las Vegas area and seeking compensation can be extremely complicated. Even if a drunk driver caused your crash, you would still have to prove:
- There was a duty of care owed to you
- The other party breached that duty of care
- That driver’s negligence directly caused the crash and your damages
- The damages you suffered resulted in financial losses
There are additional state laws that may impact your ability to seek compensation following a crash with a drunk driver, including:
Negligence Per Se
This legal doctrine applies when someone causes harm to another person while breaking a law that was intended to protect others, including the person who was injured. There are four elements for establishing a negligence per se case:
- There is an existing law – such as not driving while impaired – intended to protect a certain group of persons
- The injury victim was a member of that group of persons
- The defendant – in this case, the drunk driver – violated that law
- The defendant, by violating the law, caused the plaintiff’s injuries and other losses
Nevada’s Comparative Negligence Law
Even if the defendant was charged with driving under the influence, it does not mean he or she is at fault, or fully at fault for the crash. In some situations, the injured victim may share some fault for what happened. For instance, say the crash victim was distracted for a second. This could have caused him or her to have less time to react to the drunk driver. This could result in the injured victim being assessed with some liability for the crash.
That said, as long as the plaintiff – injury victim – is not more than 50 percent at fault, he or she can still seek a claim for compensation. However, any compensatory award would be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving Las Vegas, call (855) 605-2959
Why Hire an Attorney to Help Me with My Claim?
Hiring an attorney instead of trying to pursue a claim on your own may benefit the outcome of your claim in many ways. Crash victims who have experienced legal representation often end up being awarded significantly more compensation than those who do not. The reason for this, primarily, is that these lawyers handle car crash claims regularly, have extensive knowledge of the law and know what it takes to build a solid case. They also know how to properly calculate the value of a claim and negotiate with the other side to ensure victims are being fairly compensated for their damages.
Another benefit injury victims gain from hiring a qualified attorney is that he or she will fully manage the legal process on their behalf, including:
- Gathering evidence, such as police reports, to help support your claim
- Investigating the crash scene, including vehicle damage
- Obtaining photos and/or footage from traffic and/or dash cams
- Speaking with insurance companies on your behalf
- Reviewing medical records that are relevant to the crash
- Interviewing credible witnesses from the accident scene
- Hiring an expert, if needed, to reconstruct the crash scene
- Filing your personal injury claim
- Negotiating for a fair settlement with the other side
- Preparing for a trial, but only if it becomes necessary
Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me (855) 605-2959
What is the Typical Value of a Car Crash Due to Drunk Driving?
No two drunk driving cases are the same. There are also many factors that may impact a claim’s value, such as the type and extent of an injury and the victim’s long-term prognosis, for starters.
If you are deemed eligible to seek a drunk driving crash claim, you may be able to receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses – both for past and future treatment needs
- Diagnostic testing as needed, such as X-rays, MRIs and CT-scans
- Physical and rehabilitative therapy as needed to help you recover
- Transportation to and from any of your related medical appointments
- Medical devices you may need, such as crutches or a wheelchair
- Lost wages if you were unable to work while recovering
- Pain and suffering damages, such as for anxiety and loss of companionship
- Property or vehicle damages sustained in the crash
Learn more about the potential value of your Las Vegas drunk driving car crash claim by scheduling a free case review with one of our qualified attorneys. There is no cost or legal obligation for this meeting.
Does Nevada Allow Punitive Damages?
Yes, in a car crash caused by a driver that is under the influence, injured victims may be able to seek punitive damages. It is important to remember, however, that punitive damages are not intended to award the victim. Rather, they are meant to punish the defendant in an attempt to prevent similar behavior in the future.
Under state law, there are caps on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded. In cases where a victim is awarded $100,000 or less, the cap is set at $300,000. If compensation is greater than $100,000, the limit of the punitive damages is no more than three times the amount of compensation. For example, if the victim was awarded $85,000 in compensatory damages, the punitive damages cannot exceed $255,000.
Contact our Las Vegas Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys today
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
Most car crash claims must be filed no later than two years from the date of the drunk driving collision – or when the victim first became aware of his or her injuries. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. If you miss filing by that deadline, you will be barred from seeking compensation.
There are some exceptions, although they are rare, that may sometimes extend or modify the deadline. We do not recommend waiting under any circumstances. Your claim is more likely to have a better chance for success if you begin working with an attorney as soon after your crash as possible. Attorneys need time to investigate the crash, gather evidence and build a strong claim on your behalf. If an injury victim waits until the last minute to file a claim, he or she may have difficulty finding an attorney who is willing to take it on.
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What if the Driver Was Uninsured or Fled the Scene?
Leaving the scene of an accident is a felony in Nevada. Unfortunately, this happens far too often and typically it is because either the driver is uninsured or intoxicated. Even if the police later locate the at-fault driver, it can be difficult to obtain compensation if they do not have insurance.
In a case like this, you may have to seek a claim under the Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) of your personal insurance policy. This insurance coverage is optional in Nevada, but we strongly recommend that you carry it. The additional cost is minimal, especially for the peace of mind of having the coverage you need.
Anytime a victim is injured in either a hit-and-run crash or a collision involving an uninsured driver, it can be complicated seeking compensation to help your recovery. Seeking out a qualified drunk driving accident lawyer in Las Vegas can help to ensure you have legal help on your side, fighting to protect your interests.
Truck Drivers and Driving Under the Influence
Did you know that specific drivers on the road are held to a higher standard of care? These include truck drivers, bus drivers and other professional drivers who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). These professional drivers must adhere to the strict rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
One reason these drivers are held to a higher standard of care is the risks are much higher for victims in accidents caused by larger vehicles than smaller vehicles. Someone who is driving drunk in a commercial vehicle not only poses a serious risk to themselves but to the public at large. The driver also exposes his or her employer to liability.
Most states enforce the FMCSA regulations for commercial drivers and the consumption of alcohol. This means that the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for a commercial truck driver is 0.04 percent, which is half the BAC limit for those who are non-commercial drivers. The FMCSA rules also state that commercial truck drivers are prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle within four hours of consuming alcohol.
Injuries That Are Common to a DUI Crash
Injuries suffered in a Las Vegas drunk driving crash are often serious or life-altering. This may be due to drunk drivers being too impaired to take preventative measures that could avoid or lessen the impact of a crash.
Common injuries victims may sustain include:
- Spinal cord damage: While a spinal cord injury may sometimes be temporary, often they result in severe damage. Victims may suffer partial or complete paralysis, which can result in a number of secondary medical conditions and complications. Even if the victim is not paralyzed, he or she may face a lengthy recovery, nerve damage and ongoing/chronic pain.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): TBIs are a common occurrence in serious crashes. The long-term prognosis can result in devastating changes to the victim’s personality and also impact his or her memories, vision, emotions, hearing and ability to reason.
- Limb injuries: Victims of drunk driving crashes may suffer severe crush injuries or fractured limbs. Sometimes these injuries may even cause the victim to have to undergo an amputation.
- Soft-tissue injuries: Soft-tissue injuries following a drunk driving crash can lead to torn ligaments, muscles and other soft-tissue damage. These injuries can result in chronic pain, even after recovering.
- Organ damage: Internal injuries are very common and can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Many victims may require surgery for injuries to their spleen, kidneys and lungs after a serious drunk driving crash.
- Burn injuries: Serious car crashes can lead to unexpected explosions and cause severe, disfiguring burns. Victims may suffer emotional trauma, the threat of infection and need multiple surgeries.
Our Law Firm is Ready to Help After a Crash Caused by a Drunk Driver
Contacting a qualified Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer can be an important first step for victims injured in this type of crash.
At Bernstein & Poisson, we have a proven track record, recovering over $100 million on behalf of our clients. This includes a $450,000 settlement for a victim who suffered a neck injury in a drunk driving crash. We have been helping injury victims in Las Vegas since 2007, and we are ready to work tirelessly on your behalf.
Find out whether you may have a valid case by setting up your free initial consultation today. There is no legal obligation to hire our services, even if we validate your claim.
Partners Jack Bernstein and Scott Poisson are personally involved in every drunk driving case our firm handles. We are deeply committed to fighting for the maximum available compensation on your behalf.
Our offices are conveniently located just an eight-minute drive from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.