Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving can cause catastrophic injuries on Alabama roads. Although there are criminal penalties, many people still choose to drive drunk. After a drunk driving accident, a driver may face criminal DUI charges. These are separate from a civil case for damages that may be brought by an accident victim. In the criminal case, the drunk driver may face the possibility of incarceration and fines, but this does not necessarily help the person who was hurt due to the drunk driving. As an accident victim in Alabama, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic losses by bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver and any others responsible for your injuries. Decatur drunk driving accident lawyer Greg Reeves provides aggressive representation to victims and their families in car, truck, and motorcycle accident cases.Claims Based on Drunk Driving Accidents
In Alabama, a driver can be charged criminally for driving while being intoxicated or impaired based on what the police officer observes. A driver can also be charged if they drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. A person who is under the age of 21 years, a school bus or a day care driver shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle if there is 0.02 percent or more by weight of alcohol in his or her blood. The maximum BAC for the driver of a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in 49 CFR Part 383.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, is 0.04 percent. When a driver causes injuries to another person based on drunk driving, the driver may be held civilly liable.
To hold a drunk driver accountable for injuries that you suffered in an accident, you will need to show that the drunk driver owed you a duty, the driver breached this duty, and you suffered injuries, such as back injuries or broken bones, as a result. Generally, driving while intoxicated is considered a breach of the duty that all drivers have to use reasonable care while operating their cars.
In Alabama, there is also a Dram Shop Act (Alabama Code section 6-5-71), which sometimes allows a victim of a drunk driver to sue the establishment that served the alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated driver. A drunk driving accident attorney in the Decatur area can help someone injured by another person's intoxication sue a person or business that provided the intoxicated person with alcohol contrary to the provisions of the law.
The purpose of this law is to make sure that people and businesses that serve alcohol do this responsibly and strictly follow the rules of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. For example, a restaurant server is not supposed to serve a customer who is showing that they are visibly intoxicated. A server is also not supposed to serve a customer whom they should know, based on the totality of the circumstances, will become intoxicated. A server is not supposed to serve alcohol to minors. Generally, when alcohol is served by a bar or restaurant contrary to the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board, the establishment or vendor can be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Moreover, a Decatur drunk driving accident attorney can also try to hold a social host liable under this law, even though they are not bound by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board rules. For example, if the host of a party for a mixed crowd involving both minors and adults provides an open bar, the host could be held liable for injuries caused by a guest at the party because the alcohol was provided contrary to the laws about the legal drinking age. It could also be held liable for serving alcohol to visibly drunk guests.
It is important to realize that if you were a drunk driver and, for example, drove your car into a concrete median, which caused brain injuries, you could not hold the establishment or host that served you alcohol responsible for your own injuries. The Dram Shop Act protects only third parties.
You may be able to recover both economic and noneconomic compensatory damages after a drunk driving accident, including lost wages, medical bills, household services, and pain and suffering. The nature and quantity of the damages depends on the injuries that you suffered and the degree of impact that they have on your life.Consult an Experienced Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in the Decatur Area
If you suffer injuries due to a drunk driving accident in Decatur or surrounding communities, you should contact the Reeves Law Firm. Attorney Reeves has 30 years of legal experience. He has served as staff at Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer's College since 2011 and also has litigated for people in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, and California. Our firm also provides legal representation in personal injury and wrongful death cases in Huntsville, Athens, Hartselle, Madison, and Birmingham, as well as other areas of Madison, Morgan, Limestone, Lawrence, Jackson, Lauderdale, and Cullman Counties. Call us at 256.355.3311 or use our online form.