A Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Will Fight for the Injured
When someone chooses to drink and drive, they risk the lives of everyone around them. If you have been injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, the law is on your side. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Philadelphia drunk driving accident, it’s important to seek legal advice to ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.
$32 Million Wrongful Death
$26 Million Truck Accident
$17.5 Million Car Accident
$12 Million Product Liability
$9 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$7.5 Million Auto Accident
$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Accident
$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury
$5 Million Medical Malpractice
$5 Million Bus Accidents
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our experienced legal team is committed to providing you with the dedicated legal representation and compassionate guidance you need during this difficult time. With decades of combined experience and a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania drunk driving laws, our Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyers have the resources and knowledge to fight for your rights and get you the best possible outcome. Contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.
How Alcohol Affects Driving Ability
Drinking and driving is a problem because even small amounts of alcohol affect a driver, easily leading to reckless conduct and impaired judgment. Alcohol reduces brain functions, including reasoning and muscle coordination, which increases a driver’s impairment.
Alcohol affects the central nervous system. The more alcohol, the more significant the impairment. As a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) increases, the less control the driver has over his motor vehicle.
At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood, motor vehicle accidents are much more likley to occur. Because of this, it’s illegal in Pennsylvania for most drivers to control a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher. For commercial drivers, BAC of .04% is illegal. And .02% is the illegal BAC for bus drivers and drivers under 21 years old.
But even a BAC below the legal limit can cause a DUI accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 2,041 people killed in DUI accidents where the impaired driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.
What Should I Do After a Drunk Driving Accident?
Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents are common. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 44,531 DUI arrests in Pennsylvania in 2021. On average, there are 21 DUI accidents every day in Pennsylvania, and one person dies in a drunk driving accident nearly every day.
In fact, according to the NHTSA, about a third of car accidents in the US are alcohol-related. In 2020 alone, there were 11,654 traffic fatalities cause by intoxicated driving.
Immediately after a Philadelphia drunk driving accident, the most important thing to do is seek medical attention if you have experienced an injury of any kind. While injuries may not seem severe at first, many drunk driving accident injuries are serious.
If you have not suffered serious injuries, it’s important to gather evidence and document the scene of the automobile accident by doing the following:
- Take pictures of all vehicles involved, as well as the surrounding area. Try to capture as many angles and images as possible. Document the placement of the cars and damage to the surrounding area where the drunk driving accident occurred.
- Document your injuries by taking pictures and notes and seeking medical attention.
- Write down the license plate number and information (both personal contact information and insurance company information) for the other driver or drivers involved.
As with all Philadelphia drunk driving accidents, it’s also important to call local law enforcement immediately and file an accident report. The accident report, and the accompanying recorded statement or statements, will be the official record of what took place. It will be used by your insurance company, your drunk driving accident lawyer, and in your personal injury lawsuit if you pursue one.
What are the Common Injuries in Accidents Caused by a Drunk Driver?
Because many drunk drivers drive at high speeds and recklessly, DUI accidents cause serious or catastrophic injuries. The most common injuries suffered by victims include:
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Other head injuries
- Chest injuries
- Internal injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Back and neck injuries
- Fractured and broken bones
- Severe lacerations
Sometimes drunk driving crashes are so serious that your loved one suffers fatal injuries. If your loved one dies in a Philadelphia drunk driving accident, you may have a right to pursue a wrongful death action against the drunk driver and other responsible parties.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Case?
In the vast majority of drunk driving accident cases, the drunk driver will be held accountable in a civil lawsuit for the drunk driving crash. This means the drunk driver will be responsible for the injuries or fatalities the drunk driving accident caused.
In a personal injury case, when accident victims are harmed by someone else’s negligence, the negligent person can be held liable. In a drunk driving accident claim, the drunk driver is almost always the at-fault driver because they chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence. That action will be considered gross negligence and result in liability to the drunk driving accident victims.
It is also possible for multiple parties to be found guilty of negligence in a Philadelphia drunk driving accident. For instance, if the intoxicated driver is a person under 21 who was being served by a bartender who didn’t ask for proper ID, or knowingly served that minor, the bartender, or the bar itself, can also be held responsible.
In addition, under Pennsylvania dram shop laws, any business with a liquor license, such as a restaurant or bar, who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be held liable for any injuries caused by the visibly intoxicated person.
Because multiple parities may be liable to drunk driving accident victims, it is important to seek legal advice if you have been injured in a Philadelphia drunk driving accident.
If you are seeking compensation as a victim of a Philadelphia drunk driving accident, contact a drunk driving accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free legal consultation. You can reach us or use our online form.
What Compensation is Available to Victims of Drunk Drivers?
If you have suffered injuries and damages in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the other driver in a personal injury lawsuit. This may include money for any or all of the following:
Current and Future Medical Bills and Other Medical Expenses.
This compensation may include costs for medical bills, medical care, surgery, hospital stays, medical devices, medication, and more.
Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy.
Car accidents involving drunk drivers can cause all types of injuries that can result in long-term medical care which includes physical therapy, rehabilitation services, and ongoing care.
Current and Future Lost Wages.
If you have been unable to work as a result of the car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future lost income.
Lost Earning Potential.
If your injuries made it impossible for you to continue working, or continue working in the same capacity, you may be entitled to receive compensation if the car accident permanently or temporarily lowered your earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering, and Emotional Distress.
The damages a victim suffers goes beyond medical bills. The psychological damage caused by drunk driving accidents is too often overlooked. If you have experienced PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other mental or emotional difficulties as a result of the DUI accident, you are owed compensation for that pain and suffering.
Loss of Enjoyment of Daily Activities.
Similar to emotional distress, severe car accidents may cause an injured victim to lose enjoyment in their usual daily activities. They may withdraw from social interactions and lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy.
Loss of Consortium / Loss of Companionship.
If you have been severely injured in a car crash, you may experience a loss of consortium. Simply put, loss of consortium refers to the deprivation of the benefits of parenting or married life due to the inability to show affection or love.
Wrongful Death Damages.
If your family member was killed, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver in order to get justice for your loved one and to ensure you and your family are secure financially in the future. These damages allow you to grieve, move forward, and build a life without worrying about providing for your family. You may be entitled to receive some or all of the following forms of compensation:
- Payment for damage to your vehicle, or to buy another vehicle
- Payment for your and your loved one’s medical expenses
- Payment for past and future lost wages
- Compensation for emotional anguish and mental pain and suffering
- Reimbursement for funeral expenses
How Do I Receive the Compensation I Am Owed After a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident?
In order to recover financial compensation, you and your drunk driving accident lawyer will need to gather documentation that shows the financial burdens you’ve experienced as a result of the car accident.
An experienced Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer can first negotiate with your and the other driver’s insurance company to obtain the insurance coverage you are entitled to receive. This can include compensation for your medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
If the insurance companies do not agree to settle for an amount that provides you fair compensation for the injuries caused by the DUI accident, you can file a drunk driving case as a personal injury civil lawsuit. This may be necessary if you suffered serious injuries that require costly and extensive medical care.
If the drunk driving accident was caused by a wholly inebriated driver who was grossly negligent or reckless, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party or parties.
An experienced Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer can help ensure you navigate this system well.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys offers a free consultation so you can get all the information you need before making a decision about how to proceed. If the insurance company or insurance companies involved are not able to provide the level of compensation you are owed, our law offices are ready and able to file a personal injury civil lawsuit and take your case to trial.
What Are My Legal Options As a Victim of a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident?
In Pennsylvania, you have the right to sue both the drunk driver that hit you, as well as any other parties whose negligent actions may have led to the accident. Legally, you need to prove that the at-fault party failed to take proper care in some way, and that failure caused your injuries.
In the case of a drunk driving accident, the impaired driver is automatically deemed negligent for their decision to drive while intoxicated. This means that the drunk driver failed to take proper care as a driver and a citizen. You and your lawyer must also show that other parties, such as a bar or restaurant who served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, failed to take care and caused the accident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers
Q: What Are the Drunk Driving Criminal Laws in Pennsylvania?
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08% is considered a “per se” DUI in Pennsylvania. For commercial drivers, BAC of .04% is considered a DUI. And the legal limit for a DUI is .02% for bus drivers and drivers under 21 years old.
The amount of jail time and the fine imposed by the criminal court for drunk driving depends on the BAC level and any prior drunk driving convictions. Drunk drivers may receive:
- Jail time for drunk driving ranges from 6 months of probation to 5 years in jail.
- Fines for drunk driving range from $300 to $10,000.
Another penalty for criminal charges for drunk driving is license suspension up to 18 months.
Q: How Does My Insurance Play a Role?
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers have the right to choose their own type of insurance coverage. The choice is often between full tort coverage and limited tort coverage. Limited tort coverage only covers compensation for “economic loss,” such as medical bills and lost wages.
Full tort insurance, on the other hand, also covers the costs of pain and suffering. For example, a limited tort insurance claim might cover the cost of a surgery, but if you are in need of lifelong medical or psychological care because of an accident, limited tort coverage may not be sufficient.
Fortunately, there are some situations where you will receive full tort coverage even if your policy is for limited tort insurance. One situation where full tort coverage applies is when a drunk driver is involved in the accident. This means, if you have limited tort coverage and are hit by a drunk driver, you will receive full tort coverage (unless the other driver dies because of the accident, in which case your coverage changes back to limited tort).
Even if you have been severely injured, insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible. This can cause many challenges to navigating the insurance system. If your injuries exceed insurance caps, or if the driver involved was uninsured, you may need to take legal action and file a personal injury suit.
Fortunately an experienced Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, whether in a settlement with the insurance company or at trial.
Q: How Do I Protect My Claim Following a Car Accident?
What you do after a car crash is important in proving fault. Here are a few things to keep in mind to protect your claim:
Request a copy of the police report. The police report will have all the information you need about the car crash. The police report will also give the opinions of the police as to what happened and who may be at fault. Insurance companies use this information when assigning who is at fault and negotiating a settlement.
Contact the insurance companies. Even if you weren’t at fault, you must contact your insurance company to let it know you were in a car accident that involved injuries.
Keep a record of all expenses after the crash. Not only should you keep track of medical bills but also time off from work and property damage.
Make all your medical appointments. It’s very important for you to get healthy, which means you have to follow up with your doctor after a car accident. Not only will you get the medical treatment you need to recover but you will get a better sense of how long it will take to get over your injuries. This will help when determining how much your claim is worth.
Don’t accept a settlement offer without speaking to an attorney. The first settlement offer is usually the lowest amount the insurance company is willing to pay. Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance carrier unless you have consulted with a car accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
Q: Is Drunk Driving a Crime in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Drunk driving can result in criminal charges, either a misdemeanor or felony charge. If the drunk driving accident victim suffers serious or life changing injuries, a felony charge is more likely. A drunk driving accident that causes the death of another person is also more likely to lead to a felony charge.
Q: What is Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law?
Under Pennsylvania law, any business with a liquor license, such as a restaurant or bar, who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be held liable for any injuries caused by that person.
Q: Do I Need a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer?
Yes, almost always, especially if you suffered a serious injury or your medical costs are high. Because you must file your claim within two years from the date the accident occurred, it is very important to discuss the accident with a Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible.
In order to seek compensation, you must prove the negligence of the at-fault party or parties. Our experienced and skilled attorneys can help you do that so you can get the compensation you deserve.
You must also show that the at-fault party or the insurance company is required to pay for your losses. The experienced lawyers at our Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help, starting with their free consultation. Our legal team will guide you through the legal process. We collect evidence and handle discussions with witnesses, other attorneys, and insurers, so you can focus on getting well. Most importantly, we fight for your rights so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
What Makes Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Different?
For over 60 years, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has represented hundreds of thousands of accident victims throughout Pennsylvania to get the compensation needed to get them back on their feet.
Our lawyers have consistently been named among the Best Lawyers in America. Our law firm has been listed among the nation’s Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report. Our results speak for themselves: we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.
No Settlement, No Fee – That’s Our Promise to You
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we believe that all people should have equal access to the justice system, regardless of income. That’s why our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not charge a fee for our services unless we win your case. We cover all the upfront costs so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Our contingency fee (a percentage of the settlement or verdict we obtain for you) will never exceed the total amount paid to you. If we are unable to produce results for you, you owe us nothing.
Contact a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
The injury you or your loved one suffered could impact your life forever. We will work hard to recover the maximum amount of money for the injuries caused by the accident. At the Philadelphia law office of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with a wide range of personal injury cases.
You should not have to face financial expenses on your own if someone else caused your accident. If you’ve been injured in a Philadelphia drunk driving accident, our lawyers can assess your case and discuss your legal options. Contact the law offices of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.