New Year’s Eve is a big night for parties. That means there will be a lot of people out there who are drinking.
While Alabama’s drunk driving numbers have decreased in urban areas, possibly because of services like Lyft and Uber, there are still a lot of people getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you were injured by a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve when you were simply trying to have a good time, you need to know what you can do to seek justice for what happened.
What are the best steps to take after getting into an accident with a drunk driver?
The very first thing you need to do after getting into an accident with a drunk driver is to call 911. Not only do you need to make a report with the police to let them know about the situation and how it happened, but you also need to get checked out at the hospital. Even if you do not think you are injured, you could have broken bones or trauma to the brain. Medical professionals at the hospital could run tests and provide results, along with any treatment you might need to feel better.
After receiving medical attention at the hospital, you should contact a lawyer. If you have injuries, you may be able to hold the drunk driver responsible for any damages you sustained. When people decide to drive after they have been drinking, they are acting negligently and putting others at risk. You can be compensated for your losses if this is the case.
I was riding in a car with a drunk driver, and I got hurt. Now what?
The situation is different when you are involved in a drunk driving accident that involves the driver of the vehicle that you were riding in. Alabama has a “guest passenger statute,” and it could bar you from recovering damages if your driver caused your injuries. Under the law:
“The owner, operator, or person responsible for the operation of a motor vehicle shall not be liable for loss or damage arising from injuries to or death of a guest while being transported without payment therefor in or upon said motor vehicle, resulting from the operation thereof, unless such injuries or death are caused by the willful or wanton misconduct of such operator, owner, or person responsible for the operation of the motor vehicle” (emphasis added).
In the case of a drunk driver, you may be able to claim compensation because driving while drunk should constitute “willful or wanton misconduct.”
Who else can be held liable for my injuries in a drunk driving accident?
If you are injured by a drunk driver, the driver is not always the only liable party. Alabama’s dram shop laws allow an injured party to seek compensation from any person or entity who enabled the drunk driver. For example, if the driver was getting drunk at a bar and the bartender kept serving him/her, then the bar could be held liable. If a NYE host allowed his or her visibly intoxicated friend to get behind the wheel, that host could be held liable, too.
If you sustained injuries in a Huntsville drunk driving accident on New Year’s Eve, you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer. You may be able to seek compensation, but it does depend on the details of the case. Here at Martin & Helms, we are committed to helping our clients. We want to know more about the accident you were involved in while providing as much legal help as we possibly can. Reach out to us today at 256-539-1990 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Huntsville or Decatur office.