What Types of Damages Can I Recover as a Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident in Philadelphia?
32 people die every single day across the United States as a result of a crash involving a drunk driver.
38% of those are not the impaired driver, but passengers, drivers and passengers in other vehicles, and pedestrians, according to the CDC.
Driving while impaired happens far too often and it can lead to serious consequences. In 2020 alone, drunk driving accidents killed 229 children ranging in age from 0 to 14 years. And for those who don’t die, the injuries that result from these types of accidents are usually quite extensive.
If you’ve been the victim of a drunk driving accident in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, you need to contact an attorney right away. They can help you determine what kind of damages you can recover and help you get a fair outcome in your favor. Plus, they can even educate you on the laws and the legal process to give you more peace of mind and help you know what to expect.
Speaking of which, what kind of damages can you expect in a drunk driving accident? That depends on the circumstances of your accident specifically, but there are a few different categories to consider. Read on to learn more.
What are the “Damages” in a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit in Philadelphia?
Damages is a word used to describe the compensation received from a lawsuit against a drunk driver. These damages usually come in the form of economic damages like compensation for lost wages, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are those designed to punish the party responsible, rather than compensating the victims. These may be able to be recovered in some cases, but not always. It’s harder to prove gross negligence or egregious behavior to the extent necessary for these damages, but it does happen in some cases.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover in Philadelphia?
When you speak to your drunk driving accident lawyer, they will help you explore what type of damages you should seek and how much you should ask for. Make sure that you take all of the elements into account. You can’t put a price on serious injuries or total disability, but you deserve justice and the driver deserves to be held accountable.
As a drunk driving victim, you can typically recover damages for things like:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitative care
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- And more
The last two are typically seen more often in cases where the victim is a family member or loved one who died as a result of a drunk driving accident. In that case, you can seek damages for the loss of their companionship, guidance, etc.
What You Need to Know About Your Legal Rights
When you’re the victim of a drunk driving accident in Philadelphia, you need to make sure that all appropriate parties are held accountable. Having a dedicated accident lawyer on your side will help, but you also need to educate yourself. In regard to your legal rights in a drunk driving case in Philadelphia, here’s what you should know.
Drunk Driving is Considered Negligence
Drunk driving is a crime committed as negligence. In fact, it’s pretty clear because this is against the law and the individual who was driving is liable for the consequences that have resulted from the incident.
Third Parties Could Also Be Held Liable
The driver is obviously the main party at fault for drunk driving accidents. However, in some cases of Philadelphia drunk driving accidents, there are third-party claims that may also be filed. These can include claims against:
- Bars, restaurants, and other businesses that served clearly intoxicated people.
- Establishments that served alcohol to someone underage.
- Social or event hosts who shared alcohol with others that led to the accident.
- Rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber, when their driver causes an accident.
- Claims against employers if a driver is working at the time of the accident.
Your attorney will be able to discuss the details of your case and determine if a third-party lawsuit should also be filed for your drunk driving case.
Accident Lawyers Work on Contingency Fees
A contingency fee means that you don’t pay until (or unless) your case is won and a settlement is achieved. Not only does this guarantee that you have a lawyer that is working on your behalf to get the absolute best outcome, but it saves you from having to come up with legal fees and other funds while you’re dealing with the aftermath of your accident.
Take advantage of this and get a consultation today!
How Much Can I Get for My Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit?
Unfortunately, there is no “average” or “estimate” that can tell you what your claim is worth. That requires an honest, in-depth discussion with an attorney that will look at factors like:
- How drunk the driver was.
- What the circumstances of the accident were.
- Whether there were extenuating circumstances or other factors at play.
- If third-party entities are at fault along with the driver.
- Whether someone died or sustained life-altering injuries.
- Whether surgery was necessary.
- Whether there are outstanding medical bills or future bills expected.
- How the injuries have impacted the person’s life.
- How the incident has impacted the spouse and family of an injured person.
In the event of a passenger vehicle accident, drivers with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of over 0.08% can be convicted of driving drunk. In commercial accidents, drivers are held to a higher standard and can be convicted if their BAC is over 0.04%.
The higher the BAC, the more serious the charges against the driver, and the more likely you are to recover more damages in your accident claim. And remember, you can get money for everything that is related to your accident, including:
- Medical bills
- Loss of use
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage (your car)
- Lost wages
- Permanent or temporary disability
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship, consortium, or guidance
- Rehabilitative services after the accident
When you sit down with your Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer, they will ask you about the details of your case so that they know where to seek damages and what amounts will be deemed “fair” by the courts.
Contact an Accident Lawyer Today in Philadelphia
It takes dedicated expertise and knowledge to get the best outcome in Philadelphia drunk driving accident cases. There is no substitute for that dedicated experience. The team at Mattiacci Law, LLC knows what it takes to get the damages that you are owed in your case. We have helped hundreds of clients recover millions of dollars in legal damages as a result of accident claims. Reach out today to discuss how we can help with yours by scheduling a consultation or calling 215-914-6919.
What is considered drunk driving in Philadelphia?
Pennsylvania has a legal limit of 0.08% BAC for drivers in the state. Anyone who is caught driving with that level of alcohol in their system (or more), can be arrested and charged for a DUI. This is true even if an accident doesn’t occur. Commercial drivers cannot have a BAC of over 0.04%.
How do I know if there are third-party damages?
Think about the circumstances of your accident. Is there the potential that other people were at fault? This could include the bar or establishment that served or sold the alcohol, a ridesharing company if someone was driving for them when the accident occurred, and so forth. Your lawyer can help with this, as well.
Can I get more for commercial drunk driving claims?
Typically, commercial drunk driving accidents have bigger impacts than passenger accidents. Therefore, it is likely that you may recover more if you were hit by someone who was drunk while operating a commercial vehicle. However, that again depends on the details of your case.
What is negligence?
Negligence refers to someone’s inability to be responsible and act “reasonably” under the circumstances. Negligence can happen as a direct result of action, or indirectly. When negligence occurs, your car accident lawyer will help you pursue justice against the right parties.
What is “loss of consortium” in an accident claim?
When someone is injured, their injuries can impact their spouse and families, including by causing difficulty with handling household responsibilities, taking care of their children, paying bills and providing financially for the family, and so forth. This negative impact can create an entirely new set of damages for the lawsuit in addition to injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and others.
Can’t I just get insurance to pay the damages?
While it’s ideal that insurance will step in and do its part to pay for the accident damages, insurance companies are not in the business of paying more than they should for claims. Therefore, you may need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation that you are owed and properly hold the responsible person accountable for their actions.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for a drunk driving accident claim?
While there is no law saying a lawyer is mandatory, it’s always in your best interest to have legal representation on your side. A lawyer knows the laws and they will be able to work to get the best outcome in your accident case. If you have been involved in any kind of drunk driving accident in Philadelphia, contact a lawyer right away.
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