Charlotte Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Legal help when you are injured by an impaired driver in North Carolina
Drunk driving accidents are one of the leading causes of catastrophic injury and wrongful death in the country. With over a million Americans arrested for impaired driving each year, it is an unfortunate likelihood that you or someone you love will encounter a drunk driver at some point. If they cause a car accident, you must be ready and willing to seek compensation and set things right.
At Price, Petho & Associates, our Charlotte personal injury attorneys believe in the importance of pursuing justice after a negligent, reckless, or intoxicated driver causes others harm. Not only do our clients deserve compensation for their losses, but irresponsible motorists must know they cannot get away with illegal actions like drunk driving. We are here to help you file your claim, stand up for your rights, and find peace of mind after being injured in a motor vehicle accident.
What would you like to know?
How common are drunk driving accidents in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports, in its 2020 Crash Facts, 11,475 alcohol-related car accidents occurred on our roads. These crashes resulted in nearly 7,500 injuries and 412 fatalities.
Closer to home here in Charlotte, there were 780 alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, with 49 fatalities and 699 injuries. Mecklenburg County saw 901 accidents involving alcohol, with 821 injuries, 53 of them fatal.
What’s the difference between civil and criminal proceedings?
Because drunk driving (DWI) is against the law, the person who caused your accident and injuries likely faces criminal charges and proceedings. However, these charges are brought by the state, while a civil personal injury claim is brought by the victim or the victim’s family. The criminal case is meant to punish the offender for breaking the law and putting the general public’s safety at risk. The civil case is meant to compensate the victim for things like medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Criminal and civil proceedings run separately from each other, so you do not have to wait for the outcome of a trial to start your drunk driving accident claim. However, the evidence collected for a criminal case can be helpful for yours, so work with our Charlotte drunk driving accident attorneys to understand the proper time to start your claim.
What are common injuries from drunk driving accidents?
Because of the nature of drunk driving accidents, resulting injuries tend to be serious, catastrophic, or fatal. These accidents tend to happen at high speeds, which adds to the severity of collisions. Injuries from alcohol-involved accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken, fractured, and crushed bones
- Burn injuries
- Internal injuries and organ damage
- Traumatic amputations
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Wrongful death
No matter what type of injury you or your loved one experience in a drunk driving accident, the attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates work to ensure you receive the treatment you need.
Who is liable for my Charlotte drunk driving accident and injuries?
When injured in a drunk driving accident, you can likely bring a claim against the at-fault driver. In certain cases, however, you may be able to bring a claim against an establishment or social host who served the driver alcohol.
North Carolina recognizes two kinds of dramshop/social host cases:
18B-121. Claim for relief created for sale to underage person. An aggrieved party has a claim for relief for damages against a permittee or local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board if:
- The permittee or his agent or employee or the local board or its agent or employee negligently sold or furnished an alcoholic beverage to an underage person; and
- The consumption of the alcoholic beverage that was sold or furnished to an underage person caused or contributed to, in whole or in part, an underage driver's being subject to an impairing substance within the meaning of G.S. 20-138.1 at the time of the injury; and
- The injury that resulted was proximately caused by the underage driver's negligent operation of a vehicle while so impaired. (1983, c. 435, s. 37.)
The statute of limitations for these claims is one year.
- Sale to Intoxicated Person. - It shall be unlawful for a permittee or his employee or for an ABC store employee to knowingly sell or give alcoholic beverages to any person who is intoxicated.
- Discretion for Seller. - Any person authorized to sell alcoholic beverages under this Chapter may, in his discretion, refuse to sell to anyone. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly buy alcoholic beverages for someone who has been refused the right to purchase under this subsection.
- Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, no permittee may refuse to sell alcoholic beverages to a person solely based on that person's race, religion, color, national origin, sex, or disability. (1937, c. 49, ss. 11, 15; c. 411; 1971, c. 872, s. 1; 1977, 2nd Sess., c. 1138, s. 5; 1981, c. 412, s. 2; 1999-462, s. 5.)
The statute of limitation for these claims is three years.
How do I prove my drunk driving accident case?
Law enforcement agencies are tasked with catching drunk drivers and arresting them. Prosecutors seek their conviction, and judges are duty-bound to make certain they are penalized accordingly. However, the criminal justice system is separate from civil courts, and the people who are hurt by drunk drivers in car accidents are not guaranteed any compensation, even after the suspect is convicted and sentenced.
For the best possible outcome for your case, work with a Charlotte accident attorney who knows what evidence to use to boost your chances of success. Evidence to support your claim that a drunk driver caused your accident and injuries includes:
- Police statements. Ideally, the police will arrest a drunk driver after he/she causes an accident. The responding officers should have a report of the incident, which can include the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of the intoxicated motorist.
- Driver history. We will examine the criminal and driving records of the person who caused your accident. It is possible they will show a history of negligence or drunk driving.
- Third-party testimony. Drunk drivers are often noticeable from lanes away due to their erratic driving behavior. After a crash, talk to witnesses to see if they noticed suspicious activity.
- Social media. The digital age has supplied injury attorneys with a new place to collect evidence of negligence and liability – social media. If the person who hit you was tagged at a bar earlier in the night, it can be used to argue his/her intoxication.
What is the value of my Charlotte drunk driving accident claim?
If you or a loved one were the victim of a drunk driver, you are likely entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and losses through the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier or through a personal injury lawsuit verdict. This can include the following:
- Medical bills, current and future
- Lost wages and future lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering, including physical and emotional pain
- Property damage to your vehicle
Although these numbers vary according to your personal circumstances, you can rest assured that our injury attorneys work to secure the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. We work with experts and professionals in their fields to calculate the total scope of your losses, now and in the future.
Is there a drunk driving accident attorney near me?
Price, Petho & Associates has offices at 1420 Elizabeth Ave in Charlotte. We also maintain offices in Rockingham and Rutherfordton for your convenience. If you are too injured to come to us, we can make arrangements to visit you at home or in the hospital.
Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers serving Charlotte
Since 1979, the attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates have been the trusted name in personal injury and car accident claims throughout the state. Our recent case results include a total of more than $9 million in recoveries secured for motor vehicle accident clients. Allow us to show you what our caliber of service and experience can do if you’re injured in a drunk driving accident. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 704-372-2160 or fill out our contact form. We proudly serve clients in Charlotte, Rockingham, Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and South Carolina.