Impaired drivers take thousands of lives on our nation’s streets and highways each year, and they cause many more serious injuries. If you’re the injured victim of an impaired driver in Arkansas, you have rights, and you should discuss those rights with a Little Rock personal injury attorney.
What are your rights if you are injured by an intoxicated driver in Arkansas? Can anyone other than the driver be held liable for your personal injury or injuries? If you’ll keep reading, you will learn the answers to those questions and more about the rights of the injured in this state.
In every state, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are dealt with as serious criminal offenses. Penalties for DUI and DWI convictions may include jail or prison, probation, fines, and driver’s license suspensions, but that’s only in the criminal courts.
If An Impaired Driver Injures You, What Are Your Rights?
The injured victims of intoxicated drivers may seek justice – and compensation for their medical bills and related losses – by filing a personal injury claim. Most injury claims are settled in private negotiations, so it is rare when an injury victim has to go to court.
There’s never a guarantee, but if your injuries are obvious, and if the motorist who injured you failed a breath or blood test or was convicted of DUI or DWI, it is quite likely that your injury claim will prevail.
Under Arkansas law, personal injury victims are entitled to full compensation for their medical care, lost wages, and any other losses and expenses caused by an intoxicated driver.
What Is The Role Of A Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you become the injured victim of an intoxicated motorist in Arkansas, seek medical attention at once. Then, after a doctor has seen you, consult a Little Rock personal injury attorney about your rights and options. Should you decide to file a personal injury claim, you will need an attorney who can prove that the impaired driver injured you and that you are entitled to full compensation.
The right personal injury attorney will examine the facts, interrogate any witnesses, and advocate vigorously for the compensation amount you need and for the justice that every injury victim deserves.
Obviously, when a family is devastated by an intoxicated driver’s negligence, no amount of cash will heal the pain. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and disfigurement are just some of the tragic results of alcohol-related traffic collisions.
Negligent, intoxicated drivers have disabled tens of thousands of people in the United States. These injured victims can’t work, and many of them require full-time help with basic daily tasks. They will need the maximum amount of compensation that is available.
When A Crash Happens, What Should You Do?
Of course, there will be no lawyer to advise you at an accident scene, so unless you are catastrophically injured or incapacitated, you will need to think clearly and take these steps to protect yourself:
- Call paramedics and the police. Have a medical exam even if you don’t feel injured.
- Get the other motorist’s name, contact details, and auto insurance details.
- Take plenty of photos of the vehicle damages, the crash site, and your own injuries.
- Make and keep copies of all records, documents, and reports generated by the accident.
- Meet with an Arkansas personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights and options.
Along with your other obligations, you’ll have to report the collision to your own auto insurance provider, but do not provide any details, make any formal statement to any insurance company, or accept any quick settlement offer. Refer all questions and calls to your personal injury lawyer.
If You’re Injured, Who May Be Liable?
If an impaired driver injures you, that driver may not be the only party with liability. The right personal injury lawyer will determine which parties are liable for your personal injury or injuries and will uncover all of the potential sources of compensation.
For example, if the driver who injures you is a minor driving a parent’s car, the parent may have liability. If the driver was working and driving an employer-owned vehicle, the employer may have liability.
In some states, a server or establishment that furnishes alcohol to a driver may have liability under a “dram shop” law if that driver injures anyone while driving under the influence. They’re called “dram shop” laws because alcohol used to be sold in measurements called “drams.”
What Is The Dram Shop Law In Arkansas?
Arkansas state law allows anyone who has been injured by an impaired driver to seek damages from a server or an establishment if that server or establishment knowingly sold alcohol to a minor or to someone who was clearly intoxicated and presented a clear, present danger to others.
In some states, dram shop laws also make hosts liable when they serve alcohol at parties or private gatherings, but in Arkansas, hosts have liability only if they provide alcohol to a driver who is not old enough to drink legally – a driver under age 21.
The dram shop law in Arkansas does not allow you to injure yourself while you’re intoxicated and then sue the party that provided the alcohol. If you drink too much and hurt yourself in this state, you’re on your own.
What Will Justice Cost? And How Soon Do You Need To Act?
If you have standing to file a personal injury claim and you pursue that claim, you will not pay an injury attorney any money upfront. This state’s personal injury attorneys do not require a fee until they’ve negotiated a settlement or obtained a jury verdict on a client’s behalf.
In almost all personal injury cases, the statute of limitations in Arkansas is three years, but if you need compensation from a driver or any other liable party, you should not wait three years – or even three weeks – to seek a good lawyer’s advice.
If you are injured in the Little Rock area – or anywhere in our state – because another driver was intoxicated, talk to a good accident lawyer as quickly as you can. That is your right.
The sooner any case is placed in the hands of the right Little Rock personal injury lawyer, the more likely it is that an injury victim will receive the full compensation – and the justice – that he or she needs and deserves.