Being involved in an accident that injures you is stressful enough. But when a drunk driver causes the collision, you may be even more concerned about who will reimburse you for your injuries and other damages. Understandably, injured victims want to know more about their potential case value. However, no two accidents are alike. If you were hit by a drunk driver, your settlement amount would not be the same as another injured victim. You can take some steps that will potentially increase your case value.
If you were hit by a drunk driver, contact an experienced Kentucky auto vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we have decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you recover the compensation they deserve.
Drunk Driving Statistics in Kentucky
With many people home during the pandemic, the overall number of collisions significantly decreased in 2020. However, that didn’t equate to fewer drunk drivers on the road. In 2020, 780 people died in Kentucky car accidents. This is the third-highest number in the last decade. Of those, 181 people died in alcohol-related collisions, representing a 38% increase over 2019. Overall, 2,662 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related accidents, 9% more than in 2019.
What Is the Average Personal Injury Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident?
There is no average settlement for a drunk driving accident because individual factors influence your case value. Even two accidents with similar circumstances can settle for vastly different amounts.
One of the most significant factors in determining case value involves the type and extent of your injuries. Someone with severe, catastrophic, or permanent injuries will typically have a higher case value than someone with minor injuries that heal in two or three months.
Another related factor is your total amount of damages. Damages refer to your financial losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, etc. Damages also include physical pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. With a drunk driving accident, there is a chance you might be eligible to receive a punitive damages award. Courts only award punitive damages in special cases, typically where the defendant acted intentionally or was grossly negligent. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one example of behavior that may result in a punitive damages award.
Liability plays an important role in a settlement for a drunk driving accident. You might assume that someone driving under the influence is automatically 100% at fault. However, Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state. That means if you contributed to the accident in any way, your potential compensation might be reduced. For example, if a jury put 10% blame on you, you could collect 90% of your damages.
Applicable insurance coverage also impacts your settlement. If the drunk driver’s insurance denies coverage or the person carries low liability limits, you may not collect very much money at all. If the other driver has $50,000 inapplicable coverage, it won’t matter if your damages are $200,000. The only way to collect additional money is to look for other potentially responsible parties, sue the drunk driver directly (assuming they have money to pay the claim), or pursue a claim through your own uninsured or underinsured coverage (UM/UIM) if you purchased it.
Tips to Maximize Your Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident
If you were hit by a drunk driver, your settlement might be impacted by the actions you take immediately following the accident. Here are some helpful tips to increase your potential settlement for a drunk driving accident.
Hire a Kentucky Auto Vehicle Accident Lawyer Right Away
Insurance companies want you to believe hiring a Kentucky auto vehicle accident attorney immediately following an accident is a bad idea. They do this because it’s easier to take advantage of victims who don’t have a lawyer. They take advantage of your inexperience with personal injury claims in a number of ways.
When you don’t have a Kentucky auto vehicle accident attorney, the insurance adjuster will ask for a recorded statement. Their hope is you will reveal something they can use against you. Make no mistake: they are not your friend, and they are looking for a way to attribute most or all the fault to you. So it is best not to speak with the insurance company before hiring an attorney.
Also, insurance companies know victims typically don’t have any legal background and therefore have no idea what their case is worth. They often extend a lowball offer and hope you will accept it because once you accept their offer, you can never go back for more. We understand the shady tactics insurance companies use and how they try to resolve cases for far less than they are worth. When you have us on your side, we won’t let them get away with shortchanging you on your rightful compensation.
Keep Detailed Records of Evidence
If you can do so safely, take photos or videos of the accident scene. Photos or videos depicting the damage to both vehicles and the surrounding scene can be particularly helpful. Depending on the drunk driver’s actions, recording video or taking pictures might also help support your version of events. Even if you hire a lawyer right away, recreating the scene is not the same as viewing photos or videos from the actual event.
Memories fade with time, so keep a detailed record of your treatment, pain levels, and how the accident impacted your daily life. If your case goes to trial, you may need to remember specific details from a year or two earlier. It’s important to have notes you can use to refresh your memory.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
You also need to seek medical treatment right away. Your case’s potential settlement value is directly tied to seeking prompt medical treatment. You could have more severe injuries that aren’t visible, such as organ damage and internal bleeding. Also, insurance companies will use any delay in treatment to their advantage. The claims adjuster will argue that your injuries aren’t severe if you waited weeks to see a doctor. Or they might argue that something else occurred between the time of the accident and your first doctor’s visit and that this second event is what caused your injuries.
Contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC Today
If you sustained injuries after being hit by a drunk driver, let our experienced legal team help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Attorney Seth Gladstein has over 20 years of experience in personal injury and medical malpractice law. He understands how insurance companies work and their methods to pay you the least amount possible. We will protect your rights and help you maximize your settlement for a drunk driving accident. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more.