Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys | Memphis, TN | Call 901-902-7926
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Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys | Memphis, TN | Call 901-902-7926

Drunk Driving Accidents

At Tennessee Injury Attorneys, we help individuals and families in Tennessee when they have suffered injuries in drunk driving accidents caused by another driver.

Do You Need Help From a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Tennessee?

If you or a loved one has experienced an accident due to the careless actions of an intoxicated driver, your world may have been completely turned around. You are likely dealing with physical pain, unexpected mounting medical and vehicle expenses, and lost wages — and perhaps even the inability to perform job responsibilities due to your injuries. Our team of drunk driving accident lawyers understands the challenges, frustrations, and the range of profound emotions you are going through following a drunk driving accident. We assist individuals in similar circumstances on a daily basis. We can strategically address the many issues arising from drunk driving accidents, and support you through every step of your case as you rebuild your life.

Regrettably, the irresponsible choices made by others can cause significant harm to innocent individuals on the road. In addition to facing criminal consequences for drunk driving, these individuals are also legally liable for the injuries and losses they inflict on others when they are behind the wheel. As drunk drivers continue to pose a risk on the roads, we are here to provide assistance to you and your family if you have been victimized by an alcohol-impaired driver in Tennessee.

Drunk driving remains a significant problem in the state of Tennessee, with one thousand or more drunk driving crashes occurring each year that lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Tennessee traffic crashes from drunk driving claimed the lives of over 1,160 people in 2019, with 21.5% of these fatalities involving alcohol and 18.5% involving drugs. More than 8,000 DUI arrests were also reported in the same year.

While drunk driving fatalities have fallen by approximately a third in the last three decades, drunk driving crashes still claim more than 10,000 lives per year across the United States. These sobering statistics underscore the persistent dangers of drunk driving, and the need for continued efforts to prevent such behavior by drunk drivers on our roads.

Contact Tennessee Injury Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation regarding your drunk driving accident case. We will help you determine your next steps and guide you to seek maximum compensation according to your case’s details.

What To Do If You Have Been in an Accident with a Drunk Driver in Tennessee

If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, it is important to take immediate action by following these steps:

  • Contact the authorities: Always dial 911 right away, particularly if you suspect the other driver is intoxicated.
  • Seek medical attention: Whether you believe you are seriously injured or not, seeking an examination by a medical professional is crucial. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and a physical examination will also document your injuries.
  • Gather evidence of the incident: If possible, take photographs and videos of the accident scene, capturing any visible vehicle damage, road conditions, and injuries sustained.
  • Collect witness information: If there were any witnesses to the accident, make an effort to collect their contact information. They may be able to provide vital details regarding the incident.
  • Report the accident: According to Tennessee law, if the accident caused injuries, deaths, or or over $400 in property damage, it must be reported to the DMV.
  • Consult a drunk driving accident lawyer: Enlist the help of a knowledgeable car accident attorney experienced in drunk driving accident cases. Your lawyer can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and advocate for the compensation you need.

Understanding the Elements of a Drunk Driving Accident Case

You and your attorney will need to establish several critical elements in a drunk driving accident case in Tennessee. One key factor you must prove is negligence. In legal terms, negligence is defined as a person’s failure to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in their position, and in an accident case, you and your attorney will need to demonstrate that carelessness caused you harm. In the context of a drunk driving case, negligence could mean failing to adhere to traffic rules or driving recklessly because of being under the influence.

Tennessee operates under a “fault” car insurance system. This means that the party found to be at fault for the accident is responsible for the harm they cause. The at-fault party’s insurance company will typically pay for damages up to the policy limits, and the at-fault driver may need to pay out of pocket if the damages exceed those limits.

The cost of damages in a drunk driving case can be extensive, and may include vehicle repair/replacement expenses and medical costs. However, the financial impact of a drunk driving accident often extends beyond these immediate costs. When determining damages for injury victims of Tennessee drunk driving accidents, long-term economic damages (such as lost wages due to an inability to work) and non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) must also be considered.

Factors such as the severity of the drunk driving crash, the level of negligence involved, and the extent of the injuries suffered will determine whether a lawsuit will be required. If the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover all the damages, a lawsuit may be necessary.

The illegality of drunk driving plays a significant role in these cases. The fact that the at-fault driver was breaking the law by driving under the influence can influence the accident case, making it easier to establish negligence. Moreover, the at-fault driver’s likely criminal case for drunk driving can also impact the accident case — potentially strengthening the victim’s position.

Types of Damages and Compensation for Drunk Driving Accidents in Tennessee

There are several types of damages you can claim in your drunk driving accident case. You will work closely with your attorney to identify the full scope of your injuries and losses caused by the accident.

Car Repair Expenses

Your repair or replacement expenses caused by an accident may exceed the coverage provided by the insurance company. If this happens, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the driver who was at fault in order to seek financial recovery for the remaining costs.

Medical Treatment Expenses

Drunk driving accidents frequently cause severe injuries, leading to significant medical expenses. These expenses include emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation. It is important to note that the insurance coverage may not fully cover these costs. Seeking the assistance of an attorney can help you include these expenses in the compensation you pursue, and this may involve a lawsuit against the at-fault driver beyond your claim with the insurance company.

Lost Wages

If your injuries prevent you from working — either temporarily or permanently — you have the right to seek compensation for the wages you have lost. This compensation may also encompass future earning potential if you are unable to return to your previous line of work. You can file a lawsuit to recover the remaining amount.

Pain and Suffering

Apart from economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages, you may also be entitled to seek non-economic damages. These more subjective damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life, and an experienced accident attorney can help you accurately assess their values. In drunk driving cases, these damages often amount to a higher value due to the reckless actions of the at-fault party.

Punitive Damages

In certain situations, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages. These damages punish the impaired driver and discourage similar behavior in the future. Drunk driving is typically considered a grossly negligent act, which may increase your likelihood of being awarded punitive damages.

Approaching Vehicle and Medical Expenses Following an Accident with a Drunk Driver

The driver determined to be at fault for an accident is responsible for any harm or damages they cause, including vehicle repairs and medical expenses incurred by the other party involved in the accident.

Among the causes of drunk driving accidents, at-fault driver’s intoxication will typically be highlighted as the chief factor. However, accidents caused by intoxication are generally not covered under the at-fault’s driver’s insurance in Tennessee because intoxication is often treated as intentional behavior.

If you have uninsured driver coverage you can make a claim on your own policy. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage — or if it is not sufficient — you can pursue the remainder through a lawsuit against the at-fault driver intoxicated at the time of the incident.

Insurance Company Negotiations & Communications

If you are a victim of a drunk driving accident in Tennessee and you have uninsured motorist coverage, reporting the accident to your uninsured motorist coverage insurance provider as soon as possible can help expedite the claims process and ensure that your vehicle repairs and medical expenses are covered promptly. Do not elaborate beyond reporting the accident, as your attorney will handle additional communications and claims management on your behalf in coordination with your case.

Avoiding Delays in Vehicle Repairs and Coverage for Medical Treatment Expenses

It is important to know that Tennessee law allows for the recovery of many different types of damages in a car accident case. These often include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

As mentioned above, you will likely need to use your own uninsured motorist coverage following an accident caused by a drunk driver in Tennessee. If you don’t have uninsured coverage — or if that is not enough to cover the expenses — you might also consider using your own collision coverage to pay for immediate repairs or health insurance for immediate medical treatment. You may then seek reimbursement through a lawsuit against the at-fault driver later.

If and when you pursue a lawsuit against the drunk driver, you may also be awarded punitive damages when an extreme lack of care is exhibited by the drunk driver. Your attorney can advise you regarding whether this approach may be appropriate for your circumstances.

Each case is unique. Consulting an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process is vital.

How a Criminal Case Against the Drunk Driver Pertains to Your Drunk Driving Accident Case and Your Personal Injuries

Engaging in intoxicated driving is an extremely negligent act that can greatly support your case if the other driver was at fault. In Tennessee, an intoxicated driver responsible for an accident will likely face criminal charges. You need to understand the criminal process the at-fault driver faces for breaking the law is completely separate from your civil case seeking compensation for your injuries and losses. However, it can still indirectly affect your civil case.

In civil lawsuits, the burden of proof is lower than in criminal cases. You only need to demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the other driver’s negligent behavior caused the accident and the related injuries and losses you suffered. However, criminal charges require a higher burden of proof — beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, if the other driver is first convicted of a crime, it can serve as a strong indication of the viability of your civil lawsuit.

Even during the ongoing criminal case against the impaired driver, you can gather evidence to support your civil lawsuit. It’s important to note that you can initiate a civil lawsuit without waiting for a conviction or criminal charges. Whether or not the other driver was intoxicated, you have the right to bring a civil suit to seek compensation for damages, but being able to prove their intoxication at the time can significantly strengthen your case.

Contact Tennessee Injury Attorneys Today to Schedule a Free Consultation to Assess Your Case and Plan Your Strategy

We understand that a drunk driving accident can cause extreme stress and frustration in addition to physical pain and assorted difficulties from related injuries. Your expenses for treatment and repairs will tend to mount, creating an urgency for obtaining appropriate financial recovery for your injuries and losses. You likely have several questions in your unique case that remain unanswered. Our drunk driving accident lawyer team helps people facing these kinds of challenges every day; we are here to provide you individualized attention from start to finish in your case.

Contact Tennessee Injury Attorneys by phone or by filling out our online form to schedule a free consultation. We can assess the details of your drunk driving accident case and begin planning a strategy to secure your future. — Hablamos español.

Your Advocate: Fighting to Secure Your Financial Recovery

Schedule a Free Consultation

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. At Tennessee Injury Attorneys, we provide personalized service and individual attention when you need it most.

Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys | Memphis, TN | Call 901-902-7926

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