Chattanooga Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer 

Drunk driver cases are different from other car collision cases because there is a greater degree of bad behavior on the person who caused the collision. Drunk driving is a crime. Getting drunk, in most situations, is an intentional choice. A person intentionally chose to drive while intoxicated, so their responsibility is higher and their punishment can come into play, even in a civil case.

A person can recover the same damages, but in a drunk driving case, they can also recover punitive damages, which are damages intended to punish the behavior of the person who caused the wreck by driving while intoxicated. The person can recover more damages. Juries and finders-of-fact are usually more willing to hold a drunk driver accountable than a person who makes a momentary mistake. If an individual has been injured in a drunk driving accident, they should consult a Chattanooga drunk driver accident lawyer. An experienced car accident attorney can help individuals recover the damages that they deserve.

Common Fact Patterns in Drunk Driving Accidents

Common fact patterns with drunk driving accidents involve a few things. One reoccurring fact is people who have a history of substance abuse and have lost their license, driving without a license while intoxicated. Other fact patterns include people who have been observed at a restaurant or at a party and people let them get behind the wheel, knowing that they are not safe to drive.

Younger drivers make bad decisions as far as alcohol and driving. They drive recklessly and too fast while intoxicated. Oftentimes, it leads to greater amounts of damage and greater amounts of injuries as a result of a person making a series of bad decisions.

Another thing particular to drunk driver situations is people going down the wrong side of the road. Collisions happen on the exit ramps of interstates when a drunk driver goes down an exit ramp as though it were an entrance ramp. Sometimes they go south on the northbound side of the interstate or vice versa are completely on the wrong road. They are too drunk to understand where they are and where they are supposed to be. These types of accidents are often catastrophic and frequently are not seen except when someone is severely intoxicated.

Involvement of the Injured Party in Legal Proceedings Following the Accident

Chattanooga drunk driver accident lawyers try to insulate potential clients from the legal process. They try to work with the plaintiffs to help them recover from their injuries, get the medical treatment they need, and focus on healing their bodies and getting them back to their normal lives.

At the same time, attorneys try to handle all of the legal aspects of their case, involving the client as little as possible to save them the worry, grief, and anxiety of going through the legal process.

In cases that require a lawsuit, the potential client has to be more involved. They have to provide a lot more information, but attorneys help them the entire time. A legal advocate can explain everything as they go along and insulate them from that process as much as they can to decrease the worry and the fear as much as possible.

Does the Plaintiff Have to Press Charges?

The injured driver does not have to press charges against the drunk driver, but oftentimes it is not under the injured driver’s control whether those charges get pressed. If a law enforcement officer comes to the scene of a collision and finds that one of the drivers is intoxicated, the law enforcement officer can press that claim even without the injured victim. That charge may go forward with or without the injured driver. Even if the drunk driver is not prosecuted, the injured person can still pursue a claim against the drunk driver and prove the defendant was intoxicated, with the help of a Chattanooga drunk driver lawyer.

Do the Injury Case and the DUI Case Get Handled Separately?

Injury cases and the DUI cases are almost always handled separately. The DUI case is a criminal case, trying to hold the drunk driver responsible in criminal court, which includes jail time and fines. The two can overlap when it comes to restitution because a criminal case can include restitution, which impacts the civil case. The injury case is the civil case and it seeks to make the drunk driver pay for the damage that the drunk driver caused. It also may seek to make the drunk driver pay punitive damages, but punitive damages would also come to the victim. In most cases, the DUI case and the injury case are handled separately, but the injured victim can use the evidence and the testimony from the DUI case to help the injured driver in the civil case.

What Happens if the Injured Party Was the Drunk Driver?

If a person is injured while being a drunk driver, it is very difficult to bring a claim and win that claim, because people have very little tolerance and almost no sympathy for a person who gets injured while driving drunk. If a drunk driver gets rear-ended or hit while going through a green light by a car that runs a red light, technically that drunk driver would have a claim. They should also be able to win that claim, but if they were drunk and charged with drunk driving, it will be very difficult to win.

If an injured driver is partially at fault, but a drunk driver is more at fault than the injured driver, the injured driver can pursue a negligence claim against the drunk driver for their portion of the fault. The amount of damages the injured driver is able to recover is decreased by the portion of fault assigned to the injured driver. As long as the injured driver’s fault is less than 50% in Tennessee, the injured driver can recover from the drunk driver. The injured driver would also be able to potentially pursue a punitive damages claim against the drunk driver, which would not be decreased by the injured driver’s fault.

Value of a Chattanooga Drunk Driver Attorney

Being involved in a drunk driving accident can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, consult a Chattanooga drunk driver accident lawyer. Your attorney can work relentlessly to build your personal injury case and can fight to protect your rights. Contact a skilled attorney today and know that you are in good hands.