What to do When You are Injured in a DWI Accident
If you have been injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver, it may be in your best interest to discuss your situation with Montgomery County MD DWI lawyers. When someone is injured because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, the victim may be entitled to compensation for expenses that are the result of their injury. There are many reasons to enlist the help of a good lawyer when your injuries have been caused by another person.
Many injured people feel fortunate that they have health and/or car insurance to help pay for their medical bills and for other damages but the reality is, neither the victim nor the victim’s insurance carrier(s) should have to do this when someone else irresponsibly chose to drive after drinking or doing illegal or legal drugs, including prescription and over the counter drugs. Good Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyers may be able to help you hold this person (and their insurance companies) accountable for their irresponsible and dangerous behavior by making sure that they are liable for your financial hardships as well as for your physical and/or emotional suffering.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other mind (or body) altering substances is a crime in all 50 states in the U.S. When a person is suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Maryland it is a less serious offense than driving while under the influence- but it is a crime nonetheless. Regardless of whether the intoxicated driver who caused your injuries has or has not been charged and/or convicted of a DWI, you can still seek monetary compensation from them in a personal injury civil lawsuit. If you are in the unfortunate situation of being in pain on top of having to worry about mounting medical bills and other financial difficulties such as, loss of wages because you have been and/or are unable to work because of your injury, it may be time to call DWI lawyers who are licensed to protect DWI victims in Montgomery County and throughout MD.
Punishable Both Ways
Many people who have been injured by intoxicated drivers feel vindicated when these people are punished for their crime in a criminal case. No matter how a DWI victim feels though, only the government can charge a person and try them for a crime. Private citizens have the repercussion of a civil lawsuit which typically seeks money for damages the intoxicated driver caused. Many people recommend that this be done with the help of good Montgomery County MD, DWI lawyers.
When a DWI victim is suffering and in pain, they should not have to suffer financially as well. Having a team of compassionate and experienced DWI lawyers on your side will not take away your physical pain but we hope that by shouldering your legal burdens, you will be able to focus on healing and trying to get back to the life you had before your accident.
For highly rated Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyers, contact Cohen & Cohen for a free case evaluation with no obligations.
Elements of a DUI Case
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a driver that was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered. In order to prove in court that you should be paid for the harm you suffered, you will need a good legal strategy. That is where a lawyer can be essential. Skilled Montgomery County MD DWI lawyers will know what evidence to gather, witnesses to interview and experts to call to testify on your behalf. That’s why you should call our team at Cohen & Cohen P.C. to discuss your case. We can advise you on your options so you can decide on what course of action to take. We can assess if your case has the elements needed to win in court.
You will need to prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident. A lawyer may use police reports and eyewitness testimony to show fault. They will understand what parts of the report are important and what witnesses should be called to support your case.
Next you will need to demonstrate that the other party failed to act as an ordinary person would under similar circumstances.You will need to provide evidence that the accused party acted in a wreckless or inappropriate manner. A person may be found negligent in two ways – commission or omission. Knowledgeable Montgomery County MD DWI lawyers from a firm like Cohen & Cohen P.C. will know what form of negligence to pursue and what evidence to gather as proof.
Thereafter you must demonstrate that the responsible party caused the harm you suffered. There are two types of causation:
- Cause In Fact – The defendant was directly responsible for your damages.
- Proximate Cause – The defendant should have reasonably known that their actions would result in serious harm. This form of causation can be harder to prove because it is more subjective and based on what a “normal” person would know.
One or both of these forms of causation might apply to your case. Either way your lawyer will understand what evidence to gather and whether hiring an expert witness to testify on your behalf will benefit your case.
Finally you must be able to show that the defendant caused your harm. This can be tricky. You will need to prove that the compensation you are claiming is reasonable. Proving your expenses can be relatively straightforward for costs such as medical bills, but can be challenging for emotional damages suffered from the accident. An adept lawyer will know how to quantify your damages so you can seek reimbursement for your injuries.
Hiring experienced Montgomery County MD DWI lawyers is essential to ensuring that you have a strong case with the right resources to support your damage claims. Don’t leave your case to chance. Call our trusted law firm today to discuss your case. Our staff at Cohen & Cohen P.C. are here to fight for you.
How to Spot a Drunk Driver
When you are behind the wheel, you should always be on the lookout for dangerous drivers, especially drunk drivers. People who have had too much to drink before operating a vehicle are more likely to cause an accident. Here are a few tips for spotting a drunk driver.
- Swerving in and out of lanes. As you are driving, be weary of drivers who constantly swerve in and out of lanes. This behavior may indicate that the driver can’t see clearly or is out of it due to excessive alcohol consumption.
- Tailgating. Drunk drivers are also more likely to follow the vehicles in front of them too closely. Too much alcohol can make it more difficult for drivers to judge distance properly. If you notice that the driver behind you is following your vehicle too closely, he or she may be drunk.
- Strange speed changes. It is a cause for concern if a driver speeds up, slows down and speeds up without a good reason. Drivers who have consumed too much alcohol may do this because they are not aware of their surroundings or falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Excessive braking. As Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyers can confirm, some drunk drivers hit their brakes frequently to avoid going over the speed limit. If you notice that a driver is braking excessively, try to steer clear of that person.
- Driving too slowly. At first, it might not seem like drunk drivers drive slowly. However, some of them decide to drive below the speed limit to seem less suspicious. Unfortunately, driving too slowly can be almost as dangerous as speeding. If you see a motorist driving way below the speed limit, he or she may be intoxicated.
- Ignoring stop signs and traffic lights. Drivers who have had too much to drink may not be able to abide by the simplest driving laws, such as failing to stop at traffic lights and stop signs. If you are near a driver who is ignoring stop signs and traffic lights, you should try to stay away
- Inappropriate signaling. Believe it or not, many drunk drivers still realize that they need to use signaling on the road. However, they may not have proper judgment and use the wrong signals or forget to turn them off.
Common DWI Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, car accidents involving drunk drivers can result in many types of injuries. Some of the injuries are fairly minor while some of them can be life-threatening. Here are some common DWI accident injuries.
- Head injuries. Motorists who are hit by drunk drivers may suffer head injuries. These injuries can occur if they hit their head against the dashboard or another or object or from the impact alone. Common symptoms of head injuries include headaches, nausea, loss of consciousness, dizziness, irritability and problems with balance. Severe head injuries may affect you for the rest of your life and require long-term medical care.
- Chest injuries. Chest injuries may also result from drunk driving accidents and can include broken ribs and internal organ damage. These injuries are more likely to affect drivers because they don’t have much room between their chest and the steering wheel. Symptoms of this injury include pain in the chest, bruising, swelling, difficulty breathing and coughing up blood.
- Scrapes and cuts. When involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, loose objects inside the vehicle, like cell phones and coffee mugs, can hit your skin and cause scrapes and cuts. These injuries might not seem like a big deal compared to other car accident injuries, but they’re not nothing to worry about. Scrapes and cuts can result in infection or scarring if they’re not treated promptly.
- Arm and leg injuries. If a drunk driver causes a side impact collision, you may suffer arm and leg injuries, such as scrapes, bruises and broken bones. There is a lot of force during these accidents and your arms and legs may be thrown against the door.
- Whiplash. As Montgomery County MD DWI lawyers can confirm, car accidents involving drunk drivers can also lead to whiplash. The neck injury can occur if your head jerks back and forth suddenly during a collision. Symptoms associated with the injury include neck pain and stiffness, dizziness, shoulder pain and numbness in your arm or hand. These symptoms might not appear initially, but can worsen over time.
- Back injuries. Back injuries, like herniated discs and fractured vertebrae, can occur after drunk driving accidents and may take a long time to recover from. A severe back injury can cause you to miss a lot of time from work and make it difficult to resume your normal activities.
If my child was killed by a DWI driver, what are my legal options?
If you have suffered the unimaginable tragedy of losing your child in an avoidable accident, it may be in your best interest to contact a Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyer. You may likely have the desire to help prevent another parent from experiencing a similar nightmare. Every year, people who are driving while impaired (DWI) fatally injure innocent victims, including children. Many law firms have helped families pursue justice when it seemed that all other avenues had failed. In fact, a skilled law firm may be able to help you send a message to the community at large that such behavior is reprehensible. We may also be able to negotiate a substantial settlement which will punish the DWI driver as well as cover the medical bills and other costs associated with your child’s passing. No amount of money can bring your child back, but your legal actions with the help of a Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyer may help to prevent another senseless loss.
Though a DWI is a motor vehicle offense, it is also a criminal offense. Should the state’s prosecutor decide to pursue criminal charges against the accused, if a plea bargain is not negotiated, a trial will be scheduled. Regardless of whether or not the driver is convicted, if you have reason to believe that person is responsible for your child’s death, you have legal recourse in the form of a civil lawsuit. More specifically in these circumstances, you can file a wrongful death suit against the driver, which an experienced Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyer can do.
Wrongful Death Suits
A wrongful death suit is a type of civil lawsuit that a qualified person can bring against the party they believe is responsible for the death of their loved one. Even if the driver was convicted of a DWI and is incarcerated as a result, you can move forward with a lawsuit with the help of a lawyer. There is a statute of limitations which sets a deadline by when you must file the suit. Your lawyer can determine when that deadline will pass and by when your wrongful death lawsuit must be initiated.
A skilled Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyer will know that eligibility for filing a wrongful death suit is limited and controlled by the court in an effort to minimize frivolous lawsuits. For example, if a well-known and popular public figure is killed by someone, simply being a big fan of that person is not reason enough to file a wrongful death suit against the killer. If your child was killed by a DWI driver, a judge may determine that you are qualified to file a wrongful death suit against the driver with the help of a lawyer. In advance of filing the lawsuit, a DWI lawyer can review your case and provide their perspective as to whether or not you have a strong case against the driver.
Call a Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyer today and schedule a free consultation for you to learn more.
Get the Justice Your Loved One Deserves
A wrongful death suit against a DWI driver can send a message that their behavior is not acceptable. It can also set an example to others that being impaired while driving is not okay. Talk to a DWI lawyer from Cohen & Cohen to learn more about your legal options after scheduling a free consultation.
When Poor Judgment Leads to DWI
If someone’s poor judgement has led them to drive while intoxicated and they have injured you in an auto accident, discussing your situation with Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyers can inform you about your rights and may help you to make more informed decisions about what to do next.
Those who have had alcohol before have probably felt its effects in one way, or another. Alcohol can be used as a way for people to unwind after a rough work week, or as a component of their celebration or get together. Having a couple drinks can lead to body changes that many enjoy, including a relaxed demeanor and a more joyful outlook. However, there are also downsides to alcohol, particularly when it comes to trying to drive after having even a small amount. One of the main mental functions that can become flawed when we drink, is the decrease in our ability to make sound decisions.
In the article to follow, we have answered a series of common questions people may have about DWI charges, and what you can do to seek justice with the help of Montgomery County MD, DWI lawyers if you or someone close to you has been injured by an intoxicated driver.
What does it mean to be arrested for a DWI?
The acronym DWI stands for driving while intoxicated or impaired. It is crucial to note that someone does not have to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level exceeding the legal limit of 0.08 percent, in order to be arrested for driving under the influence. A driver can be arrested for a DWI if the officer determined he or she was not able to drive safely due to any amount of alcohol or another drug.
What other functions can be impaired when someone is intoxicated?
Each person’s body may respond differently when it comes to drinking alcohol. For some, a drink or two may not even really be felt at all. While on the other hand, a couple drinks may be plenty enough for another person to feel outright drunk. When an intoxicated driver injures others, they may be liable for expenses related to the victim(s) injuries regardless of whether they just had one too many or were flat out drunk or intoxicated from other substances.
When a person is intoxicated, they may start to exhibit the following mental or physical function impairments:
- Blurry or double vision
- Saying or doing things they typically wouldn’t
- Feeling less cautious and more rebellious
- Slurred speech
- Inability to walk or stand strongly on two feet
- Loss of fine motor skills
- Incapable of performing complex tasks
If you have been injured in an accident with a driver displaying any of the above (or indicators not mentioned here) it may be in your best interest to get counsel from Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyers.
What could someone do if they are not sure whether it is safe to drive home?
Someone who has to question whether they should drive home, probably means he or she truly shouldn’t. If you have any doubts about whether you are fully sober, it may be best to just assume that you need more time. Those who are actually sober usually do not doubt whether they are in this state or not. There are plenty of backup options for those who intended to drive home, but have had too much to drink to make the journey after all:
- Calling a loved one who was not at the party for a ride
- Using a ride sharing app on their phone
- Catching a lift with a friend who was the designated sober driver
- Taking public transportation
If you or someone you love is the victim of an intoxicated driver’s poor judgement, you should try to hold the driver liable for your pain and suffering and other expenses related to your injuries with the help of Montgomery County, MD DWI lawyers.
What can I do to seek compensation if I was hit by a driver who was DWI?
If you were involved in an accident where the driver was intoxicated or impaired, and you suffered financial or physical damages, you may want to consider meeting with a lawyer. Depending on the details regarding how the crash happened, you may be entitled to receive compensation.
Which Factors Can Affect My Case?
Being injured by a drunk driver is a frightening experience. If you have suffered serious bodily injury due to the actions of a drunk driver you have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the driver and sue for the damages you suffered during the automobile accident.
The driver does not need to be convicted of a DUI before a civil lawsuit is filed. Passengers in the DUI driver’s automobile can file a complaint against the drunk driver. Also, other drivers and pedestrians have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.
The injured Plaintiff needs to prove that the driver was negligent under the laws of the State of Maryland. Specific provisions of the applicable code sections in the State of Maryland will provide guidance on the elements that need to be proved to establish liability.
What Damges Can I Recover After Being Struck By A Drunk Driver?
The damages that an injured driver can recover after being injured by a drunk driver include damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage. Also, an injured driver can recover damages for lost wages and lost earning capacity due to the injuries that forced the injured driver to miss time from work. In the case of a civil lawsuit involving a drunk driver you can claim punitive damages to punish the defendant for his or her wrongdoing.
If you are a family member of a person who was injured or killed during an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver you can also claim damages for wrongful death, loss of consortium, and under the survival statute.
A driver is drunk when alcohol impairs his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. The injured party must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the injured party suffered damages as a result of this negligent act.
Drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists and pedestrian using the roadways and highways in the state. When a driver fails to use reasonable care to prevent harm to other drivers and passengers the driver may be considered negligent under the laws of the state.
Negligence per se happens when a defendant violates a statute designed to protect a specific class of people from a specific type of harm. The violation of the statute is proof of negligence.
A defendant does not need to be found guilty of the crime of DUI before a Plaintiff can file a complaint for damages. Civil law and criminal law are separate fields of law and both fields serve different purposes. Civil law compensates victims of wrongful acts committed by negligent parties. Criminal laws punish drunk drivers and deter other drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Contact Cohen & Cohen Attorneys Today To Schedule A Free Consultation
Contact Cohen & Cohen today to schedule a free consultation during which we can discuss the facts of your case and how the law may apply to those facts. If you are seeking a Montgomery County, Maryland DUI attorney contact our office today. Call us at (301) 250-1957 to learn more about the legal services we offer.