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Hit by a Drunk Driver? Here’s What You Need to Know About Settling Your Claim

October 19, 2021
  1. 1. What Is an Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident in Alabama?
  2. 2. Hurt by a Drunk Driver? Contact Our Mobile Drunk Driving Attorneys Today
  3. 3. Call the Mobile Car Accident Attorneys Team at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation

Drunk driving remains a huge and troubling issue in Alabama.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, out of 930 total traffic deaths in Alabama in 2019, 328 involved at least one driver with alcohol in their system. Of those crashes, 277 involved at least one driver who was over the legal limit. And when alcohol is involved, even crashes that don’t result in fatalities are more likely to cause significant, life-altering injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving crash that wasn’t your fault, you will almost certainly be entitled to financial compensation. But before you accept any settlement offer from the insurance company, you need to understand how much your personal injury case is worth.

By taking the first offer the insurance company makes you without doing your homework, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table—and potentially leaving yourself without enough funds to cover the long-term costs of your treatment, lost earning potential, and more. Contacting a car accident lawyer can help you protect your rights and maximize your settlement.

What Is an Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident in Alabama?

Because drunk driving damage calculations rely on so many different factors, talking about an “average” doesn’t really make much sense. Some cases settle for the state minimum liability insurance policy limits of $25,000. Other cases settle for millions. It all depends on your situation.

Some of the factors that impact your claim’s value include:

The above are all examples of “compensatory damages.” True to their name, they’re meant to compensate you for your financial and emotional losses after the crash.

If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving crash that wasn’t your fault, you will almost certainly be entitled to financial compensation. But before you accept any settlement offer from the insurance company, you need to understand how much your personal injury case is worth.

As you might guess, accurately and fairly calculating compensatory damages can be tricky. An accurate calculation requires understanding your estimated future economic losses and assigning a “fair” value for losses that are completely subjective, like pain and suffering.

That’s one reason why speaking with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney is so important and can help you avoid accepting an accident settlement that’s far too low.

There’s also another category of damages that often comes into play when it comes to drunk driving accidents: punitive damages.

RELATED: How to Calculate Your Damages After an Accident

What Are Punitive Damages and How Might They Apply to My Drunk Driving Case?

Punitive damages are designed to punish the person who hurt you “above and beyond” the financial value of your injuries and suffering. Punitive damages punish the defendant for their behavior, as well as to serve as an example to the public and discourage others from engaging in similar recklessness.

In order to claim punitive damages, you need to show that the at-fault driver’s actions were in reckless disregard for the safety of others—if not outright malicious.

It’s rare to award punitive damages in most typical car accident cases. However, drunk driving crashes are a little different than the average car crash. The dangers of drunk driving are well established and widely known, and those who choose to drive drunk have full knowledge of the potential consequences. So, punitive damages are more common in drunk driving injury incidents.

However, there are limits to the amount of punitive damages money you can collect. In Alabama, the maximum amount is whichever of the following is lower:

As you can see, the addition of punitive damages to your settlement or verdict can significantly increase your payout. But it’s important understand that winning punitive damages are far from guaranteed, even in a drunk driving case. In addition to extremely strong evidence, you need an aggressive legal strategy to successfully win punitive damages in your Alabama drunk driving claim.

Choosing an experienced and trial-tested personal injury lawyer to represent you can make a huge difference.

RELATED: Can I Get Punitive Damages in an Alabama Injury Claim?

Other Factors to Consider

Here are a few other questions that can influence how much you can expect from your settlement amount:

Hurt by a Drunk Driver? Contact Our Mobile Drunk Driving Attorneys Today

One of the best and most important decisions you can make after being injured in a drunk driving accident is to call a personal injury attorney with experience handling drunk driving cases.

Critical evidence that may be available to you in the immediate aftermath of an accident—the crash scene, eyewitnesses’ information, security footage, truck computer data—may be lost if not collected soon.

On top of that, you’ll start to receive calls from the insurance company claims adjuster assigned to your case. This person might act friendly and like they’re trying to be your friend, but don’t be fooled—they aren’t your friend, and they’re not on your side. They’ll be looking for any way they can to reduce the amount their company has to pay out. (Because Alabama is a contributory negligence state, if they can get you to admit any fault whatsoever, they could get themselves totally off the hook.)

RELATED: Injured Motorcyclist Get Results With Aggressive Representation

One of the best and most important decisions you can make after being injured in a drunk driving accident is to call a personal injury attorney with experience handling drunk driving cases.

Call the Mobile Car Accident Attorneys Team at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation

Hiring an attorney right away can help prevent the kinds of honest mistakes and oversights that can weaken or even ruin your case. The team at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys can protect you from the insurance company’s dirty tricks, thoroughly investigate your case, determine what kind of settlement would be fair, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. That allows you to have peace of mind, and to focus on your healing—while we focus on the rest.

Your initial case review is free, and you won’t pay any fee unless you win. There’s nothing to lose from making the call—and in the end, it could make a huge difference in how much your case settles for.

To request your free consultation, connect with us online using our simple contact form, or call or text us anytime, 24/7, at (251) 888-8888.

 

References

National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (July 2021.) Alcohol-Impaired Driving: 2019 Data. (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 813 120.) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Alabama Department of Transportation. Crash Facts 2019. Retrieved from https://www.dot.state.al.us/publications/Design/pdf/safetyPlanning/2019FactsBook.pdf

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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