New Orleans is known for its festivals and parades. It’s also known for serving up a variety of cocktails, from Hurricanes and Daiquiris to Sazerac and Absinthe. There’s always a good time to be had in the Big Easy. But when an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, the festivities can come to a tragic end when a drunk driving accident occurs. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, or you lost a loved one in a fatal drunk driving accident, you need a New Orleans drunk driving accident lawyer from Wright Gray Law Firm on your side to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident Guide
- How Common is Drunk Driving in New Orleans?
- Louisiana Drunk Driving Laws
- Who Can You Sue in a New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident?
- What Compensation is Available in a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
- How Can a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in New Orleans Help Me?
- Contact the New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers at Wright Gray Today
Why Choose Wright Gray Law Firm for Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
Two New Orleans attorneys with over 60 years of personal injury law experience under their belts founded Wright Gray Law Firm in the heart of New Orleans to provide accident victims with personalized service and legal representation they could trust. Through the years, they have secured millions of dollars for their clients through verdicts, judgments, and settlements. The New Orleans personal injury lawyers at Wright Gray Law Firm are not afraid to stand up to negligent parties or their insurance companies and fight for fair compensation on behalf of their clients. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
How Common is Drunk Driving in New Orleans?
Drunk driving statistics are sobering, to say the least. Every day in the United States, 37 people die in a drunk-driving accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—that’s one person every 39 minutes. That translates to 13,384 deaths or 30% of all traffic accident fatalities. It also represents a 14% increase over the previous year.
Louisiana ranks above the national average in drunk driving fatalities and injuries, with Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Jefferson parishes leading the state with the most alcohol-related crashes. New Orleans Police arrest as many as 600 drunk drivers each year.
The tragedy of fatal drunk driving accidents is that all were preventable. Drunk driving accident victims and family members killed by a New Orleans drunk driver may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost income earnings, pain and suffering, funeral and burial expenses, and more. Contact a drunk driving accident attorney at Wright Gray Law Firm today to hear your legal options.
How Alcohol Affects Drivers
Alcohol can have a significant impact on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. When alcohol is consumed, it affects the central nervous system, leading to impaired cognitive and motor skills. Here are some ways alcohol can affect drivers:
- Impaired judgment: Alcohol can hinder a driver’s ability to make sound decisions, assess risks, and react appropriately to different situations on the road.
- Reduced coordination: Alcohol impairs fine and gross motor skills, making it difficult for drivers to control the steering wheel, brake, and accelerate smoothly.
- Slower reaction times: Alcohol slows down the brain’s processing speed, leading to delayed reaction times. This is critical when it comes to making split-second decisions to avoid collisions or react to unexpected events.
- Decreased concentration: Alcohol can cause drivers to become easily distracted and have difficulty focusing on the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Impaired vision: Alcohol can affect visual perception, depth perception, and peripheral vision, all of which are crucial for safe driving.
- Poor multitasking: Driving requires the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, such as steering, braking, and paying attention to road signs. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to multitask effectively.
- Overconfidence: Alcohol can lead to a false sense of confidence in one’s driving abilities, even when impaired. This can result in risky behaviors and poor decision-making on the road.
- Drowsiness: Alcohol can exacerbate drowsiness, leading to fatigue while driving. This combination can significantly impair a driver’s alertness and reaction times.
- Increased risk-taking: Under the influence of alcohol, drivers are more likely to take risks, such as speeding, tailgating, or ignoring traffic signals, which can lead to accidents.
Some erratic driving behaviors commonly seen when someone drives intoxicated include:
- Failing to turn on headlights or use turn signals
- Sudden and unnecessary braking
- Failing to stop at traffic signals or stop signs
- Swerving in and out of designated lanes
- Driving too fast or too slowly
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way road
- Failing to react to slowing traffic or other obstacles
Louisiana Drunk Driving Laws
Louisiana law forbids anyone from operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or any level of any controlled substance. Drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 with a BAC of 0.02% to 0.08% may face penalties in Louisiana.
Police may pull over anyone they suspect of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and give them a field sobriety test, which may include a physical agility test or breathalyzer test. People arrested for driving while intoxicated may face fines, jail time, community service, and driver’s license suspension.
Personal Injury Claims vs. Criminal DUI Charges
A common misconception among victims of DUI accidents is the belief that once the intoxicated driver faces criminal charges, they won’t need to pursue legal action to receive compensation for their medical costs and other losses. However, it’s crucial to understand that criminal DUI charges and personal injury claims are distinct legal proceedings.
In the event of a conviction in a criminal DUI case, the offender may be subject to fines, incarceration, and a suspended driver’s license. Yet, it’s unlikely that the court will provide victims with substantial compensation. To seek fair compensation for your damages, you must initiate a claim either through one or more insurance companies or by pursuing a civil lawsuit through the court system.
A verdict of the criminal case might bolster your civil claim, particularly if the driver is found guilty of driving under the influence. But even if the driver is not convicted of a DUI, you may still hold the driver accountable for the harm they caused you. To ensure a successful claim, retain the legal services of an experienced car accident lawyer in New Orleans.
Who Can You Sue in a New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident?
Drunk drivers are responsible for accidents they cause while under the influence. However, multiple parties may be held liable, depending on the specific circumstances. Here are a few parties that might bear some responsibility for a drunk driving crash:
If the drunk driver was operating a vehicle owned by someone else, the owner might be held liable under certain circumstances. This could be the case if the owner allowed an intoxicated person to use their vehicle, knowing that they were likely to drive drunk.
The Driver’s Employer
If the drunk driver was operating a vehicle for work purposes at the time of the accident, their employer might also be held liable under certain circumstances. This could involve situations where the employer was aware of the driver’s intoxication but still allowed them to operate a vehicle.
In some cases, government entities might be held liable if they contributed to the accident through negligent road design, lack of proper signage, or other factors.
Can a Restaurant or Bar Be Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident in New Orleans?
Some states have laws that hold establishments (bars and restaurants) and social hosts liable for serving alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated people who later get behind the wheel and cause an accident. However, Louisiana does not. In fact, the state protects establishments and social hosts from liability by recognizing the consumption of alcoholic beverages as the proximate cause of injury and damages rather than serving alcoholic beverages to another person.
What Compensation is Available in a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
In a drunk driving accident claim, damages can be categorized into two main types: economic damages and noneconomic damages. These categories help to differentiate between the tangible, measurable losses and the more subjective, intangible losses experienced by the victim. The availability of these damages can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case.
Economic damages refer to the quantifiable financial losses that can be directly attributed to the accident. These damages are generally easier to calculate because they involve tangible costs and expenses. Some common examples of economic damages in a drunk driving accident claim include:
- Medical expenses: This includes costs for emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and any ongoing medical care required as a result of the accident.
- Property damage: Compensation for the repair or replacement of damaged vehicles, as well as other personal property that was damaged in the accident.
- Lost income or wages: If the victim was unable to work due to injuries sustained in the accident, they might be entitled to compensation for the income they would have earned during that time.
- Loss of earning capacity: If the injuries sustained in the accident lead to a reduced ability to earn a living in the future, compensation might be awarded to account for this long-term impact on the victim’s earning potential.
- Medical equipment and assistive devices: the victim requires specialized equipment, prosthetics, or assistive devices as a result of the accident, the cost of obtaining and maintaining these items may be included in economic damages.
Noneconomic damages, often referred to as “pain and suffering” damages, encompass the more intangible and subjective losses that a victim experiences due to the accident. These losses are more challenging to quantify because they don’t have a fixed monetary value. Some examples of non-economic damages in a drunk driving accident claim include:
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress endured by the victim as a result of the accident and its aftermath.
- Emotional distress: Compensation for psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional struggles caused by the accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Compensation for the loss of ability to engage in activities that were once enjoyable due to injuries sustained in the accident.
- Loss of consortium: In cases where the accident has negatively impacted the victim’s relationship with their spouse or family members, compensation might be awarded for the loss of companionship and support.
- Scarring and disfigurement: If the accident results in visible scars or disfigurement, the victim may receive compensation for the physical and emotional impact of these changes.
It’s important to consult with an attorney to understand how economic and non-economic damages might apply to your specific situation and to ensure that your legal rights are protected when pursuing a drunk driving accident claim.
How Can a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in New Orleans Help Me?
A lawyer can provide valuable assistance and guidance throughout the process of pursuing a drunk driving accident claim, including:
Legal Expertise and Assessment
A personal injury lawyer with experience in handling cases involving drunk driving accidents has a deep understanding of the legal complexities and regulations involved. They can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and provide you with an honest evaluation of your potential for compensation.
Lawyers have the resources and experience to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident. They can gather evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs, and medical records, to build a strong case on your behalf.
In a drunk driving accident, determining liability can be complex. A lawyer can help establish that the drunk driver’s negligence led to the accident, and identify any other parties that may be held liable, thereby increasing your chances of recovering compensation.
Your lawyer can help you calculate the full extent of your damages, including economic and non-economic damages. They can ensure that you don’t overlook any potential areas of compensation.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may try to offer you a settlement that is lower than what you deserve. An experienced lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to seek a fair and adequate settlement.
Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations with the insurance company don’t result in a satisfactory outcome, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. They will guide you through the legal process, including filing the necessary paperwork and representing you in court if needed.
Legal Strategy and Representation
Your lawyer will develop a legal strategy tailored to your case. They will represent you in legal proceedings, including negotiations, settlement discussions, and court hearings if required.
Advising on Legal Options
A lawyer can explain your legal options and help you make informed decisions at every stage of the process. They can advise on whether to accept a settlement offer or proceed with litigation.
Ultimately, a lawyer’s goal is to help you receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. They will work diligently to protect your rights, and you’re fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
Contact the New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers at Wright Gray Today
Navigating a drunk driving accident claim can be complex, and having a knowledgeable lawyer by your side can alleviate stress, streamline the process, and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. It’s important to consult with an attorney with experience handling personal injury and drunk driving accident cases to get personalized advice tailored to your situation. Contact the drunk driving accident lawyers in New Orleans at Wright Gray Law Firm today at 888.912.4944 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.
“Professional, personable, diligent, and thorough are just a few of the words I can use to describe this firm. From day one I felt I was in safe hands. The communication was open, honest and every promise was delivered upon. I felt at ease knowing I had a team that was passionate handling my case and I’m ever so grateful.” -Hadassah J. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wright Gray Trial Lawyers – New Orleans Office
201 St Charles Ave Suite 2710
New Orleans, LA 70170
P: (504) 616-6462