What Types of Damages Can I Recover As a Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident in Philadelphia?
Drunk driving accidents kill thousands of people each and every year across Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. These incidents don’t need to happen, but too often, they result from people thinking that they aren’t “that impaired” and can still drive. It sounds cheesy to some, but that marketing campaign was right: buzzed driving is drunk driving.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of any amount of drugs or alcohol. That means that even if someone wasn’t obviously drunk, they could have enough alcohol in their system to impair their driving abilities. Being the victim involved in someone else’s reckless driving incident is never a good experience.
In most cases, you can file a claim against the person who hit you and their insurance company, holding them accountable for paying for any injuries, medical bills, property damage, and other costs related to your accident. However, what you can ask for and what you will get depends entirely on the circumstances of your case.
The best way to guarantee an outcome in your favor is to hire an experienced Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer. They can help you better understand the laws and understand what to expect from your settlement. The team at Mattiaci Law is ready to help you fight for what you deserve, so contact us now to get started.
What Are Damages?
In an insurance claim or lawsuit, the term “damages” refers to the events or types of situations for which you can claim that you are owed compensation. Some of the most common damages in drunk driving accidents include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Future income loss
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
If damages are considered economical, such as lost wages or medical bills, there is no limit to how much compensation you can request after a drunk driving accident. For non-economic damages, however, there may be a cap on how much you can earn for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Medical Bills in Philadelphia
If you are injured by a drunk driver and incur medical bills due to your care after the accident, you can make the responsible party pay these. This includes current and future medical expenses related to the accident directly. This is also a good time to point out that you should use caution when accepting a settlement to ensure that it doesn’t prevent you from seeking further compensation in the future if you realize it’s necessary.
Lost Wages and Future Income Loss
In many drunk driving accidents, people are seriously injured. This can mean that they need to take a lot of time off work or they may even lose their job. As such, anyone involved in a drunk driving accident can claim damages for lost wages, job loss, and other career-related losses.
If your drunk driving accident completely damages or completely totals your vehicle, you can also file a claim for property damage recovery. Perhaps a drunk driver hit a house or a commercial building and will be required to pay to repair the damage caused. If you have property damaged by a drunk driver, you should include it in your claim.
Emotional Damages in Philadelphia
Most people think of pain and suffering, which are the most common types of emotional damage people seek. This compensation says that while you can’t put a price on someone’s peace of mind, you can show that they deserve justice in some form. Emotional damages also include loss of companionship for spouses and partners and loss of consortium for those who lose their parents, for example.
Punitive Damages in Philadelphia
Punitive damages essentially hold the responsible party liable for wrongdoing. These can be recovered as long as you show that the drunk driver was grossly negligent or acted egregiously. Drunk driving cases usually make it fairly simple to prove that the liable party was acting negligently or egregiously.
Drunk Driving Is Serious in Philadelphia
According to PennDOT, the state sees over 9,000 drunk driving accidents yearly and over 40,000 DUI arrests. There’s an average of one death almost every day due to drunk driving. And for those who are victims who get in the way of these drunk drivers, the outcomes can be catastrophic or even deadly.
Drunk driving is a crime. It is considered negligence and can result in criminal and civil penalties, including fines, jail time, etc. Like many states, Pennsylvania takes drunk driving very seriously and the laws leave little room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
Check Your Insurance in Philadelphia
Although you can (and should) go after the driver responsible for the accident, you must also ensure that you have protected yourself from potential threats. Look at your insurance policy. Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorists’ coverage? That’s the protection that you want. Granted, like most insurance products, the goal is that you’ll never have to use it.
If you’re waiting for a claim to settle, your insurance company may offer to compensate for your damages upfront and then wait for reimbursement from the other party. This varies, though, and isn’t something that you should expect.
Pennsylvania only requires drivers to have certain insurance coverage to drive, but the basic coverage isn’t that much at all. Currently, minimum coverage includes:
- $15,000 per person
- $30,000 per accident
You might not realize it, but in the event of a serious accident, that’s not even enough money to handle basic medical bills. Of course, we know what you’re thinking: isn’t the person who hit me responsible for paying the insurance claims? Usually, yes. However, there are several factors involved here.
For starters, you have to count on the fact that the drunk driver had the right insurance coverage in the first place. That’s not always a guarantee. If someone is going to make the mistake of driving under the influence, they probably also engage in other risky behaviors, including potentially not having enough insurance (or any at all).
That’s why your insurance may be your saving grace. Eventually, you can get a settlement for your accident, but that takes time. In the meantime, you need to be able to get the medical care you deserve. Sometimes, your insurance will pick up the tab and go after the drunk driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
Can You File Claims Against Third Parties?
In drunk driving accidents, more than just a drunk driver is involved. For example, if a bar or restaurant served someone alcohol after knowing they were already impaired, you might also hold them accountable for the accident. Perhaps the establishment served someone underage, leading to an accident. That’s another reason to hold them accountable.
You can also pursue claims against social hosts (AKA parents or other friends) who served alcohol to or hosted a party for those under age 21 where alcohol was available. Some drunk driving accident claims involve rideshare drivers, which is a terrifying thought for anyone who catches an Uber regularly.
If someone hits you while they are working, such as during a delivery or while driving a company vehicle, you may also be able to file a claim against the employer who let them drive in the first place. Ultimately, it will be up to you to fight for the justice you deserve from all parties involved.
Hire a Drunk Driving Lawyer for the Best Outcome
There is a lot that goes into handling a drunk driving accident claim. You should not attempt it on your own, nor should you. Enough is going on in your world with the accident. A drunk driving lawyer can represent you against any kind of car accident claim, including those against drivers who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Lawyers know the law and how to fight for the compensation you deserve, no matter what kind of accident you’ve been in.
With a car accident claim like a drunk driving incident, you can hire a lawyer with no initial upfront cost. That offers a lot of relief for people waiting for a settlement or struggling with being out of work while recovering from their accident. This ensures that the lawyer is always working with your best interests in mind, first and foremost.
Reach Out to Mattiacci Law for Help with Drunk Driving Accident Claims
Drunk driving claims usually end up with very high settlements. These accidents are more catastrophic and have potentially worse outcomes than other types of vehicle accidents. They deserve the right representation to help you get the outcome that you deserve. No matter what type of drunk driving accident you’ve had, the team at Mattiacci Law has you covered.
Reach out now for a free consultation to learn how our injury lawyers can help you recover the damages you owe in your drunk driving case. We’ll walk you through the process every step of the way and ensure you know what to expect so there are fewer surprises. Plus, with our expertise, you can trust that you’ll get the best settlement possible, no matter what that means to you.
Contact Mattiacci Law now to learn more.
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