Drunk Driving Accident Injury Attorneys in Birminaham
Drunk driving is illegal and very dangerous. Each year, thousands of individuals are seriously injured, and hundreds are killed in DUI-related accidents throughout Alabama. Approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Sadly, these are all preventable deaths that would not have happened but for the reckless actions of some very irresponsible individuals.
In Alabama, a driver is considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Drivers may also be breaking the law if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point that they are not capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. There are stiff criminal penalties for this offense, which may include heavy fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges for the offender. But these penalties provide very little comfort to those who are seriously injured, or to the loved ones of those who are killed at the hands of a drunk driver.
In looking more closely at Jefferson County and its surrounding counties, it is clear that drunk driving is a consistent problem. The more populous Jefferson County experienced more alcohol-related fatalities than its neighbors but none of the counties were free from the problem.
For those who suffer serious injuries in a drunk driving accident, their lives can suddenly be thrown into turmoil. One minute, they are driving along minding their own business, and the next minute, they wake up in a hospital bed not knowing how they got there or what is going to happen next. Those who have to go through this nightmare scenario deserve to be fully compensated for their losses, and those who put them in this situation must be held fully accountable.
At Burge & Burge, we understand the enormous amount of suffering drunk driving accident victims and their families have to go through, and we do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience successfully representing individuals who have suffered all types of personal injuries in Alabama. We focus almost exclusively on this area of the law, and we have a proven track record with even the most complicated cases.
We have been recognized not only for our extensive experience and skill, but also for our highly personalized approach. We give each case the attention to detail it deserves, and we treat each client with dignity and respect. We work closely with our clients, providing strong legal guidance and moral support during a difficult time. We handle the entire process from start to finish, communicating frequently and providing ongoing updates on the progress of the case. And throughout the process, we are always available to answer any questions and address any concerns our clients may have.
Before you speak to anyone from the insurance company, call Burge and Burge to schedule a free no-obligation consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options, so you can make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed
Drunk Driving Accidents in Alabama
As mentioned earlier, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal violation, with harsh consequences for offenders. Penalties may also be enhanced when there are aggravated circumstances, such as in the case of a DUI accident with serious bodily injuries or fatalities. It is important to note, however, that even with enhanced penalties for the offender, this does not provide any restitution for injury victims. In order to be compensated for your losses, you must file an entirely separate civil claim for monetary damages.
It is also important to note that, with a civil claim, you only need to prove negligence and not necessarily a criminal violation. This means that even if the driver was not over the legal limit, if their negligence caused the accident, they can be held civilly liable.
While it may seem like negligence would be pretty clear-cut in a drunk driving case, this is not necessarily true. Sometimes, there are more complicated circumstances and it is not easy to determine who caused the accident. In situations like these, it is extremely important to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible in the process – so they can go to work right away gathering evidence and building your case.
Alabama Dram Shop Laws
When a drunk driver causes an accident, they may not be the only ones responsible. Under Alabama Code §6-5-71, a liquor store, bar, or other establishment may also be held liable if they provided alcohol to someone who appeared to be intoxicated. A social host can also be held liable if they provide alcohol to visibly intoxicated guests or minors who are under the age of 21. Dram shop liability cases are difficult to prove, and you usually need witness testimony, video evidence, or both to have a chance of success with this type of claim.
Damages Available in Alabama Drunk Driving Accident Claims
DUI accidents can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, which may include:
- Head, neck, and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Broken bones/fractures;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Severe burn injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Wrongful death.
Those who suffer these types of injuries through no fault of their own are entitled to monetary damages to compensate for their losses. There are many different types of compensatory damages that injury victims (and their families) may be able to claim:
- Hospitalization costs;
- Cost for surgeries and other medical treatments;
- Rehabilitation expenses;
- Costs for ongoing medical care;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Permanent disability;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of comfort, care, and support;
- Funeral and burial expenses.
When someone is injured by a drunk driver, they may also be able to ask for punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases in which the actions of the party responsible were willful, wanton, fraudulent, or malicious. This would normally be a very high bar to clear in a standard car accident claim, but plaintiffs have a better chance of showing that the driver’s conduct met this standard in a DUI accident case.
Contact Our Experienced Birmingham, AL Auto Accident Lawyers
If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, you need skilled legal counsel in your corner advocating forcefully for your rights and interests. Call Burge & Burge, today at 205-251-9000 or toll free at 800-633-3733 to schedule your free consultation. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our office in person at your convenience.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation for you