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There are approximately six million car accidents in the United States every year, and alcohol plays a huge part in them. Over 50% of major fatal crashes involve a drunk driver.
Even if you come out of a drunk driving accident unharmed, it can still be a traumatic experience and cost you thousands. That’s why you may seek financial compensation from the driver.
Recently been involved in a drunk driving crash and want to know more?
Then you’re in the right place! Read on to find out everything you need to know about the average settlement for a drunk driving accident and what can affect this.
What is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident?
The average settlement you could look to get from a car accident is around the $20,000 mark. But this amount can vary quite a lot.
If you come out of the accident with minor injuries and minimal damage, you’re more likely to get around $14,000. If you experience long term problems or permanent injuries, you’ll probably get a more significant settlement. This will be around the $28,000 mark.
So let’s look at some things that can affect your drunk driving settlement figure.
Do You Have Proof of Liability?
Proof of liability is key to getting a fair and just settlement. This confirms who was at fault in the accident – namely, the drunk driver. It makes it impossible to challenge your claim and will help you get a quicker settlement.
There are several different places you can look for proof of liability. These include:
- Police reports
- Any trial records or DUI charges
- Photographs or video footage of the accident
You may also look for eyewitnesses willing to recount what happened in the accident. If you do this, try to find a few unbiased witnesses.
Using eyewitnesses may make for a longer case. This is because the driver’s defense will try to argue that the witness reports are unreliable. It’s a good idea to get a few together before presenting them as proof of liability.
What is the Value of Your Damages?
Getting hit by a drunk driver can result in a vast variety of damages. So how much you want to claim for will slightly depend on how much you want the driver to cover. These damages may be economic ones or non-economic.
Economic damages include things like vehicle repair costs. If you have to repair or replace your car after an accident, then you can seek cover for this. You can claim these costs even if you get hit by a drunk driver but have no injuries.
If you come away with an accident with any injuries, you can claim financial assistance with your medical bills. This includes paying for any physical therapy that you might have to have. And if you can’t work because of your injuries, you can claim these lost wages as well.
You can also seek compensation for non-economic damages. These are for things that might not have cost you financially, but they have had a major impact on your life. Non-economic damages include this like:
- Psychological distress following an accident
- Pain following an accident
- Disfigurement as a result of injuries
- Impact on quality of life
- Wrongful death
The more of these issues you encounter following your accident, the higher average drunk driver settlement you can push for. And a qualified lawyer will be able to help you with this.
Do You Have a Lawyer on Your Side?
If you’re serious about making a strong claim following a drunk driving accident, then you need a great car accident lawyer on your side.
They will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that you have all of the necessary evidence in place to support your claim. They may also be able to advise you of different types of damages that you could seek. This is a great way to get the most out of your claim.
What Does Your Insurance Cover?
Your insurance cover may dictate how much you can ask for in your settlement, as this is where your settlement will come from.
If your policy has a limit, then the company will only pay up to this amount. So when you sign up for an insurance policy, it’s always worth asking, “what would happen if I was hit by a drunk driver?”
Fortunately, there are a couple of avenues you can look down if your damages exceed your policy’s limit. For example, you could approach a personal injury lawyer to help you recover more of your finances.
Can You Seek Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are another way that you can recover some financial damages outside of your insurance policy. So it’s always worth exploring this possibility.
You can seek punitive damages if your case goes to court. A jury and judge will award them as a punishment against the drunk driver. The idea is that punitive damages act as a further deterrent for drunk driving.
These damages exist separately to anything you get from your insurance, which means they could increase how much you get overall!
The Bottom Line
There are lots of things that can affect the average settlement for a drunk driving accident. But even if you come away unscathed, you can seek compensation. And having a great lawyer on your side will help you make the most substantial claim possible.
Keep scrolling for more great legal advice that you need to know!