Drunk driving accidents are unfortunately still too common in Maryland and can cause serious injury and damage. Knowing your legal options for recovering compensation is important if you are involved in a drunk driving accident. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of Maryland’s laws regarding drunk driving accidents and how to recover compensation for your damages.
Legal Limits on Blood Alcohol Content
In Maryland, a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of over 0.08 percent can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). A driver with a BAC level between 0.04 and 0.08 percent can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI). If you’re involved in a crash that police believe was caused by a drunk driver, that driver will probably be given a field sobriety test at the scene.
That conviction, however, will not provide you with compensation for damages you suffer in the accident, such as medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. To collect damages, you have to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit against the driver in civil court if you can’t get a fair settlement from the insurer.
Injuries from a Drunk Driving Accident
According to our Frederick car accident attorney, victims of DUI crashes often sustain a variety of serious injuries, including broken bones, whiplash, strains and sprains of muscles, joints, and ligaments, lacerations and scarring, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord damage, paralysis, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Even if you don’t feel seriously hurt after your accident, you should see a doctor immediately. Your symptoms might take days to present, but a medical exam and diagnostic tests can reveal injuries you don’t know you have, allowing you to begin treatment soon and increasing the likelihood of the quickest possible recovery.
Social Host Liability
Although Maryland does not have a dram shop statute holding bars and restaurants strictly liable for serving intoxicated patrons who later cause accidents, it does hold social hosts liable for providing alcohol to underage people who cause crashes after drinking. This means there could be more than one defendant who shares responsibility for your damages if the at-fault impaired driver is under 21 at the time of your crash.
It’s also possible that you could be found partially at fault for your own accident. If, for example, you were driving over the speed limit or failed to signal a turn just before a drunk driver struck you, that driver’s insurer will do its best to show that you were partially responsible for the crash. Because Maryland follows a contributory negligence standard in personal injury cases, you can be denied compensation if you’re found even one percent at fault for your accident.
How to Recover Compensation for Damages
Suppose you’ve been involved in a Maryland drunk driving accident. In that case, it’s important to take the following steps to protect your rights and increase your chances of recovering compensation for your damages:
1) Seek Medical Attention Right Away
As mentioned earlier, even if you don’t feel seriously hurt after your accident, you should see a doctor immediately. This will help you to begin treatment soon and increase the likelihood of the quickest possible recovery. A doctor’s visit right after the accident also proves your crash caused the injuries. This proof is important evidence necessary for your insurance claim or lawsuit after a Maryland drunk driving accident.
2) Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Recovering compensation after a drunk driving accident can be complex and difficult. You need an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your accident thoroughly to prove the drunk driver was entirely responsible. An experienced attorney can also help you navigate the complex legal process and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
3) Document Everything
Documenting everything related to your accident and damages is important, including medical bills, property damage estimates, and lost income. This documentation will help your attorney prove your damages and negotiate a fair settlement.
Suppose you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk driving accident in La Plata Maryland. In that case, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve. With the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you can navigate the complex legal process and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions.
If you need representation for a personal injury case, turn to the trusted team at The Law Office of William M. Burgess P.A. We have dedicated personal lawyers in La Plata, Maryland with professional experience to help you with legal matters. Call us at 301-645-3261 or you may also visit our dedicated law firm at 200 Washington Avenue, La Plata, MD 20646 for a free consultation.