St. Louis Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Choose a Team That Will Fight for You
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30 people die every day in the United States due to drunk driving. This amounts to over 10,000 drunk driving-related fatalities every year. Hundreds of people are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. every day. According to drunk driving statistics published in 2017, the issue of drunk driving is so common, that “one out of every three people in the world will be involved in a drunk driving crash at least once during their life.”
When alcohol enters a person’s bloodstream, it alters brain normal functions—such as judgment, coordination, and reflexes—all of which are vital to the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence inhibits a person’s ability to be aware of other drivers on the road, follow speed limits, and abide by other traffic laws.
If you suffered severe injuries in a drunk driving accident, or if an intoxicated driver killed someone you love, you could be eligible to recover compensation. At The Dixon Injury Firm, we are ready to fight for your rights and will work tirelessly to hold the negligent drunk driver accountable. Our St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyers have a proven record of success in all types of car accident claims; we have secured more than $50 million for our clients, and we are dedicated to obtaining justice on behalf of victims of drunk drivers throughout Missouri.
How Our Firm Can Help You After a Drunk Driving Accident
Although drunk driving accidents have been on a steady decline over the past decade, more than 10,000 lives are still claimed in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. every year. In non-fatal drunk driving crashes, victims and their families often still struggle with lasting damages from the accident, whether financial (medical bills, loss of income, etc.), emotional (trauma, PTSD, depression, etc.), or physical (disabling injuries) in nature.
If you were injured in a drunk driving crash and are struggling with the effects of the accident, you don’t have to struggle alone. Under Missouri’s injury statute and traffic laws, the at-fault driver could be liable for any harm or losses you experienced as a result of the crash. Our St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyers can help you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the drunk driver’s insurance company and seek compensation for your damages.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, as well as the resulting injuries and losses, this may include compensation for damages such as:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room/hospital fees
- Ongoing and future medical care
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Counseling services
- Medications and medical equipment
- Modifications to a home
- Loss of earning capacity/disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Lost income/wages, including future lost earnings
In some cases, it may also be possible to secure punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish individuals who commit acts of egregious negligence or misconduct, as well as to help ensure future accidents of the same nature do not occur again.
Drunk Driving Laws in Missouri
The state of Missouri prohibits anyone from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of 0.08 percent. Similarly, Missouri law states that a minor (20 years of age and younger) will receive a DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent and above.
In Missouri, “driving while intoxicated” and “driving under the influence” are not considered to be separate violations. Both acts are referred to as a DWI, which carries penalties, including points and driver’s license suspensions.
A driver can be examined if an officer feels that evidence suggests the driver is intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. The driver will then be subject to a blood test, urine test, or breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol concentration. In the event that the driver refuses a test, other penalties and suspensions will be incurred.
The criminal penalties for drunk driving in Missouri range from:
- First Offense: Up to 6 months in jail, fines up to $500.00, a license suspension of 30 days, and the possibility of having an ignition interlock device placed on your vehicle
- Second Offense: Up to 1 year in jail, fines up to $1,000, a license suspension of 1 year, and an ignition interlock device placed on your vehicle
- Third Offense: Up to 4 years in jail, fines up to $5,000, a 10-year license suspension, and an ignition interlock device placed on your vehicle
Criminal DWI laws also go hand-in-hand with civil laws designed to reimburse the victims of drunk driving for their losses, as well as send a message to the community that drunk driving will not be tolerated.
Talk to Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Today
If you were injured by a drunk driver in Missouri, The Dixon Injury Firm can help. Our team has fought for the rights of countless drunk driving accident victims, and we are passionate about recovering the maximum amount of compensation for our clients. Whether you’re struggling with medical bills or lost wages, our attorneys are ready to fight for you.
To learn more about how our firm can help you, call us at (314) 208-2808 and request a free consultation. We are available 24/7.
Civil Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuits
Missouri laws mandates that drunk drivers pay the victim for all of their accident-related damages. These includes past and future medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain, suffering, inconvenience, and any other accident-related damages. A lawsuit against a drunk driver also often carries with it a special set of damages called “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault driver and deter them from driving under the influence again in the future.
Additionally, if you have lost a loved one as the result of a drunk driver, you could be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim to seek reimbursement for your loss. A drunk driving wrongful death claim will generally provide money for medical expenses, burial expenses, lost wages of the deceased, and certain other wrongful death damages.
How Long Do You Have to File a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
It’s important to note that there is a statute of limitations on drunk driving accident claims in Missouri. If you are the person who was injured, you have five years from the date of the accident to bring your claim. However, if your loved one died in a drunk driving accident or as a result of their injuries, you only have three years to file a wrongful death claim in Missouri.
In either case, it’s important that you act quickly, as the sooner our St. Louis drunk driving accident attorneys can get started gathering evidence and investigating your claim the better. Our attorneys understand the real physical and emotional hardships you are facing. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you need a lawyer who understands your needs. When you hire The Dixon Injury Firm, our experience goes to work for you as we fight for the money you deserve.
Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident
If you were the victim of a drunk driving accident, the more evidence there is from the crash the better. If you or a witness can call 911 after the accident, this gets the police involved and ensures that you’ll get prompt treatment for your injuries. After filing a police report of the crash and getting examined by a physician, you or someone close to you should hire an experienced lawyer to represent your case.
The period right after an accident is vulnerable, not just in terms of your condition but in regards to evidence of the crash. Certain types of evidence—such as the driver’s BAC level, road debris, and witness reports—can deteriorate or get lost if they aren’t immediately documented. While a police report contains evidence of the crash, the police might not gather every piece of possible evidence. A drunk driving accident attorney’s job is to ensure that details of your case are preserved and that you have the best odds of recovering damages.
How the Civil Drunk Driving Accident Claims Process Works
If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving car accident, you likely have a valid personal injury claim (or wrongful death claim, if your loved one died in a DWI accident) and could recover compensation. In regards to drunk driving accident claims in Missouri, several elements are considered when it comes to determining a settlement. Most injury claims settle outside of court, with a compelling demand letter and negotiation with the negligent party’s insurance company.
Most of the time, if there is a DWI conviction against the at-fault driver, an adequate settlement can be recovered quickly. But in situations where the fault isn’t one-sided, it can be more challenging to obtain a satisfactory settlement. If both parties are partially at fault, the other party’s insurer could use that as a point to offer you a lower settlement or pin more blame on you.
Hiring an aggressive attorney to represent your case offers protection from the other party and helps ensure that you can recover the maximum settlement for expenses caused by the drunk driver’s carelessness.