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What To Do If You Have Been Hit By A Drunk Driver

Thousands of people are killed across the nation each year due to drinking and driving, and Maryland roads are no exception. In 2017, there were 550 fatalities reported due to auto accidents, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those, 186 involved someone with a BAC of 0.08 or above. 122 of those had a driver with a BAC that exceeded 0.15. This means that 22% of fatalities in the state that year were caused by someone driving with nearly double the legal limit of alcohol in his or her system.

So, what happens if you are a struck by an intoxicated driver? Some people think that court-ordered restitution from the criminal charges is likely the only compensation they might receive. You should not rely on the outcome of the criminal case, which is an entirely separate matter. You have the right to bring a civil claim and/or lawsuit for your damages.

In many cases, the at-fault driver may have insurance that will cover some, if not all, of your damages resulting from an accident. Depending on the terms of the policy, the DUI driver’s insurance may deny your claim altogether. This is where having your own uninsured motorist coverage (UM) can be important as well.

DUI cases can be tricky and complex, which is why it is important to speak with a skilled Maryland DUI accident attorney who can help you through this stressful and emotional time.

Type of Damages and Statute of Limitations

Typical damages someone might be able to recover on in a civil lawsuit arising from a driver who was under the influence of alcohol at the time include:

  • Current medical expenses
  • Hospital bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future loss of earnings and benefits
  • Property damage to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering

In select cases, there may be an option to recover something known as punitive damages. Designed to “punish” the defendant, punitive damages are only awarded in select cases. You would need to prove actual malice in order to succeed with a punitive damages award in a DUI case. Actual malice can be defined as ill will, evil motive, or intent to injure. Even if you get a punitive damage award, collecting it can be tough. Most insurance companies will not cover punitive damage awards under their policy.

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Maryland is three years. What that means is that you have three years from the date of the accident to bring a lawsuit in court. If your lawsuit is filed after that day, the court will more than likely throw your case out. This is one of the reasons having an attorney is so important, as your attorney will make sure the statute is preserved.

If you are attempting to resolve your own case and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, they are under no obligation to continue negotiations or make a settlement offer if you miss filing a lawsuit in time.

Contact a Maryland DUI Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in an accident involving a DUI driver, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-870-1200 today to schedule an initial consultation.