Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents account for approximately one-third of all of the fatalities on the road. Even if a victim does not lose their life, these crashes often lead to serious injuries, such as paralysis or brain trauma, which may require a lifetime of care. The Nashville car accident lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC are dedicated to holding drunk drivers legally accountable for their actions. Although court proceedings cannot bring a loved one back or heal a permanent injury, compensation may prove critical in covering the financial costs that may arise after a crash.Holding a Motorist Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident
In general, most car accidents are caused by one or more drivers’ negligence, which requires a showing by an injured plaintiff that a defendant breached their duty to act as a reasonable person would have acted in similar circumstances. However, if a driver willfully goes behind the wheel while intoxicated and causes an accident, the simpler standard of negligence per se may apply.
Negligence per se, or negligence as a matter of law, applies when an individual violates a law that was designed to protect a certain class of people. Tennessee law makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above are presumed to be under the influence, and thus they are in violation of the law. Laws prohibiting intoxicated drivers are enacted to maintain safety on the road and protect others from injuries caused by accidents. As a result, a driver who was guilty of DUI may be held negligent as a matter of law, and an injured victim does not need to establish the other negligence elements as long as the driver’s intoxication caused the crash and the resulting injuries. Damages available to a drunk driving accident victim may include compensatory damages, which cover items like medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages, which are awarded as punishment and deterrent measures.
Moreover, Tennessee’s Dram Shop law allows victims to take legal action against a bar or restaurant that continues to serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual, or someone under the age of 21. This may be an additional option to pursue in some circumstances.
If a drunk driving accident leads to a tragic loss of life, a surviving spouse, child, or parent may pursue a wrongful death claim to seek damages for burial and funeral expenses. Victims and families have only one year to file a claim in Tennessee, so consulting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in a timely manner is important in determining who is at fault and the necessary steps that you should take.Discuss Your Car Accident Case with a Nashville Lawyer
If you have been hurt in a crash caused by an intoxicated driver, the Nashville car accident attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can fight for your rights in settlement negotiations or at trial. Our firm also represents victims in Franklin, Belle Meade, Hermitage, and Cool Springs, as well as other communities throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties. You can contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096 to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney and find out more about your legal options.