North Dakota Drunk Driver Accident Attorneys
Accidents involving a drunk driver can be terrifying. When someone is drunk, they lose the ability to concentrate on their driving. They also have slower reaction times and are often confused. Picture someone swaying back and forth after having too many drinks. Now imagine that person driving. Clearly, driving while drunk is a bad idea. It can cause many problems, including fatalities, if the driver gets into an accident.
Every day, 30 people die in drunk-driving related car accidents in the United States. That means that every 50 minutes, one person is the victim of an accident like this. Because alcohol affects the brain, there’s a decrease in reasoning, thinking, and muscle coordination upon intoxication.
With a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of above .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, the chance of crashing is much greater. At lower concentrations, like .02 and .05, the body begins to feel warm and your mood begins to alter. You may have exaggerated behavior or loss of small muscle control, like focusing your eyes. After .08 grams your coordination becomes much worse. Drivers with this BAC will have a hard time detecting danger.
North Dakota is a hot spot for drunk driving accidents, with some of the highest rates in the country, alongside Texas and Massachusetts. In North Dakota, about 41% of traffic related deaths involve intoxication.
How Drunk Driving Affects a Claim
When someone drives drunk, a criminal case is made against them. In these cases the prosecutor will have to prove that the defendant is guilty of drunk driving beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a much higher standard than in a civil lawsuit. In a civil case, the evidence simply has to be better (and more credible) on one side than on the other.
In your civil lawsuit, you will need to prove that the driver was drunk and that their actions caused the accident. For example, if the driver was drunk but you caused the accident, you won’t win the case simply because they were drunk. You still need to be able to prove that their actions caused the accident.
Collecting Evidence of Impaired Driving
It’s important to collect evidence for your lawsuit. The more evidence that you have, the better chance you have of winning your case. In your case, you can use the police report from the accident, evidence of the driver’s BAC, eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, photographs, accident reconstruction reports, and testimonies from people who witnessed the driver getting drunk, like a bartender.
An experienced lawyer will also be able to help you collect evidence, investigate, and gather statements from people who witnessed the accident. After your accident, you’ll want to document as much evidence as you can. This includes pictures of the crime scene and statements from witnesses, if you speak to anyone.
Should I Settle My Drunk Driver Case?
Settling a case is a big decision, and whether or not you settle depends on your own thoughts on the matter. If you don’t have a lot of injuries, your case will likely settle for $50,000 or less. If your injuries are more severe, you may not want to settle, as it may be hard to get the amount of money that you deserve from the insurance company. In most situations, insurance companies want to get out of cases without paying too much money. If they think they can get away with low-balling you, they will.
Fault vs. No Fault Insurance Laws
North Dakota is one of the few states that has a “no-fault” law. This means that even if someone causes an accident, they’re still able to get compensation for their own injuries. For no-fault insurance, you can’t claim pain and suffering or any other non-monetary damages. These damages are only available to the victim. However, the at-fault party may collect money for their lost wages and injuries.
What if the Driver Wasn’t Convicted?
If the drunk driver wasn’t convicted, it can become much harder to win your case. There are many reasons that the driver may not have been convicted. First of all, their blood alcohol concentration may have been lower than .08 grams. Although a driver may still be drunk, they’re not necessarily over the legal limit. This is why it’s important to gather evidence at the crime scene. If the driver isn’t convicted of a DUI, you’ll want to make sure you have enough evidence to prove they were still at fault.
Contact an Experienced Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been in a car accident with a drunk driver, please contact our experienced lawyers at Sand Law. Our lawyers are standing by to help you get the compensation that you deserve. Our offices are located in Minot, Bismarck, Williston, and Watford City. DUI cases can be complicated, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. For more information, or a free case evaluation, please contact us online or call us at 701-609-1510