How DWI Accidents are Handled in Louisiana

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At Cardone Law Firm, we believe that people should never be forced to deal with the injuries and costly medical expenses that come with an accident caused by a drunk driver. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents happen all-too-often in the state of Louisiana. In the aftermath of an accident, innocent victims are left to deal with the consequences.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 3,046 people were killed in Louisiana in drunk driving accidents between 2006 and 2013. Unfortunately, 2.5% of people in Louisiana have reported driving while under the influence of alcohol, which is higher than the national average of 1.9%. Louisiana also has higher fatalities in all age groups compared to national drunk driving accident rates.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to contact the New Orleans attorneys of Cardone Law Firm right away. There is never a fee to speak with an experienced member of our team, and we will not collect a penny unless we win your case. Phone Cardone at (504) 522-3333 to get the experienced legal help you need.

What to do after an accident with a drunk driver.

If you’re involved in an accident with a drunk driver, here are some important steps that you should immediately take to protect yourself:

Step #1: Call 911 immediately. Call the police and emergency medical personnel to the scene of the crash as soon as possible. Medical crews will tend to the injured. The police will document the details of the accident and will likely arrest the intoxicated driver. If a driver is charged with DUI, it will be much easier to prove fault if you need to file an injury claim.

Step #2: Seek medical attention, even for minor injuries. Serious injuries usually require immediate attention at the scene and urgent hospitalization. Some people, however, may not seek treatment right away. They may not notice injuries that aren’t immediately visible, like whiplash, spine injuries, or internal damage. Some injuries also may appear or develop over time after the crash. Visit a doctor as soon as possible after a collision. Make sure that you receive a full and thorough checkup to diagnose hidden or late-developing injuries.

Step #3: Get a copy of your accident report. You can get a copy of the crash report online through the Statewide Crash Report website managed by the Louisiana State Police. The crash report will be a helpful document if you need to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for the crash.

Step #4: Contact an experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer. If a drunk driver hurt you, you might seek fair and just compensation for injuries, property damage, and other expenses. It is important to note that the other party’s insurance company may try to pressure you into settling your claim for less than it is truly worth. You should make sure to have an experienced attorney on your side who has handled these types of cases.

How an attorney will handle your claim.

In Louisiana, the law will permit you to seek compensatory and punitive damages if you are the victim of a drunk driving accident. There are two types of compensatory damages that your attorney might seek: special damages and general damages.

Special damages are compensatory damages that can be calculated or estimated. They include:

  • Medical bills (past and future)
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Repairs or replacement of property
  • Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
  • Vehicle rental

You can help your attorney by making sure to carefully track all of your medical bills and costs associated with the accident. With all of the bills and expenses on hand, your lawyer can calculate the amount that you are owed.  Once they calculate the amount, your lawyer will seek full reimbursement from the responsible party.

General damages are much more difficult to compute mathematically. These damages exist to compensate the accident victim or their family for “pain and suffering.” General damages include:

  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of spousal support (or consortium)
  • Disfigurement

If someone you love has been killed in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. The spouse, children, parents, or other family members of the deceased might seek damages like loss of consortium, loss of future financial support, and others.

Seeking punitive damages

Punitive damages are meant to cover more than just simple expenses. There is no maximum dollar amount of punitive damages that a defendant can be ordered to pay. Punitive damages exist to compensate you for your injuries and to act as a deterrent against drunk driving. A jury will not award punitive damages in every drunk driving case.

To recover punitive damages for injuries caused by a drunk driver, an attorney will need to prove:

  1. The driver was intoxicated.
  2. The driver’s intoxication caused the victim’s injuries.
  3. The driver’s disregard for the safety and rights of others caused the victim’s injuries.

To prove sufficient intoxication a lawyer needs to show that the driver was impaired. It is common knowledge that even a minimal amount of alcohol may cause functional impairment.

Why it’s important to hire an attorney immediately.

In Louisiana, the statute of limitations is one year for most injury cases. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. If you are injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you should hire an experienced attorney who has successfully handled these types of cases.

Hurt in an accident with a drunk driver? Phone Cardone.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident with a drunk driver, the New Orleans drunk driving car accident attorneys of Cardone Law Firm are here to help you. We know what it takes to get you the fair recovery that you are owed.

For over 40 years, we have protected the rights of injured people in New Orleans and across the state of Louisiana, and we’re ready to help you. You shouldn’t have to pay for the poor decisions of someone who chose to drink and drive.

We are here to help get you the justice you deserve. Don’t wait until it is too late to contact us. Phone Cardone at (504) 522-3333 today.