Roughly 40% of all driving fatalities involve someone driving drunk. Every year, there are an untold number of people injured and tens of thousands of people are killed in alcohol-related accidents across the United States. The sad truth is that all of these accidents could have been prevented if the driver had not gotten behind the wheel in the first place.
Avoiding Drunk Drivers
As a defensive driver, it is in your best interest to avoid drivers that you think might be intoxicated. Drunk drivers may not realize that they are driving poorly, which makes them even more dangerous. If possible, avoid drivers who seem to be:
- Swerving or drifting
- Driving too slow or too fast
- Being aggressive behind the wheel
- Changing lanes randomly, quickly, or aggressively
It is obviously difficult to avoid a drunk driver is some situations, but being extremely cautious around drivers who seem like they may be impaired will only benefit you in the long run.
Legal Liability in Drunk Driving Cases
Two major parties could be liable in a drunk driving accident (assuming you are not at fault as well). The first is the driver him or herself. Missouri law does not tolerate drunk driving, and anyone that is found to have a blood alcohol content higher than .08 is considered intoxicated. This driver will likely receive a DUI charge and receive a fine, license revocation, or jail time. The punishments are more severe as the occurrences increase.
If the driver is intoxicated, they are also subject to a civil lawsuit as well. In fact, winning a personal injury case against a drunk driver who received a DUI is much more likely because they were performing an illegal act when the accident occurred.
The other party that could be liable is the drinking establishment where the driver was previously served. This is not always applicable, but when it is, the bar or restaurant could be partially liable for the accident. This is because of Missouri’s Dram shop law, which holds drinking establishments liable for allowing patrons to drink and drive or if they are serving to minors. If the bar, tavern, club, or restaurant knew that the patron was already intoxicated but still continued to serve them, then the drinking establishment could face serious legal consequences.
Asserting a Claim Against a Drunk Driver
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by someone driving drunk, then you have legal rights. Those injured could include bicyclists, pedestrians, other drivers, and other passengers. Some clients are surprised to find out that it could also include passengers that were in the same car as the intoxicated person.
It is important that we all try to encourage others not to drive drunk. Take their keys, call a cab, or call a friend. They risk more than their own life when they get behind the wheel impaired. If you or a loved one has been affected by a drunk driver, call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Involving the Dixon Injury Firm early can help your case move quickly and increase your chances of success. Call us today at 319-409-7060.