Two New Jersey police officers are in stable condition but remain hospitalized as a result of a wrong-way crash in New York that resulted in two deaths. Law enforcement is investigating whether or not alcohol was involved in the crash. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD), 17 percent of car accidents in 2013 that involved children 14 and younger occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. In fact, approximately every two minutes a person in the United States is injured in a drunk driving crash. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of another’s drunk driving, contact a Charleston car accident attorney right away.
Car Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2012. That same year, more almost 400 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities occurred in the state of South Carolina, according to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. Studies show that alcohol-related crashes cost the economy over $37 billion annually.
South Carolina law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol when the motorist’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher or, alternatively, if the motorist is unable to drive safety due to impairment from drugs and/or alcohol. Because driving in such a state is considered unreasonable and reckless, a drunk driver may be held legally liable for accidents that occur as a result of the impairment, whether or not the BAC is above the legal limit.
The results of drunk driving accidents can be as small as simple property damage and minor injuries to more serious long-term health issues and even death. If a victim, or the close relative of someone who was killed as a result of a drunk driver, is able to prove fault, damages may be obtain for:
- Medical costs, past and future, incurred as a result of the accident;
- Compensation for pain and suffering;
- Compensation for emotional distress caused by the accident or injuries; and
- Lost wages, both past and future.
Additionally, punitive damages may be obtained in some cases if available. Some motorists may not have enough insurance – or any at all, for that matter – in order to cover the total losses that arise from an accident caused by their drunk driving. Other options may be available to a victim, including:
- Dram shop liability claim – in South Carolina, this law may allow the bar, restaurant, and or store that served or provided alcohol to an intoxicated patron to be held responsible for damages incurred as a result of a car accident related to the intoxication.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim – if a drunk driver has inadequate insurance, a victim may file a UM/UIM claim with his or her own insurance company for compensation.