Just this week in South Carolina, a paramedic was injured in a head-on collision. The paramedic was in the ambulance on her way to an emergency call when the ambulance was hit head-on by a drunk driver. The paramedic lost her leg; the driver was charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.
However, charges are not the end of these types of cases. Often times victims of drunk driving accidents must relive their experiences through years of civil litigation. On average, close to 500 people from South Carolina will be killed by drunk drivers. South Carolina has one of the highest rates of death by age per 100,000 population in the United States.
Similar But Different
Drunk driving injury cases bear some similarities to other car accidents. You can recover for physical damages, medical bills, lost wages, future medical expenses, pain-and-suffering and diminished quality of life. In some cases, South Carolina will allow you to recover punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the driver and deter future conduct. Keep in mind, insurance rarely if ever covers punitive damage claims. Those damages would have to be paid for by the driver or his or her family.
You only have a certain set time in which to file a lawsuit for injuries related to drunk driving cases. It is very important to seek immediate medical attention and document that medical attention. Ask your medical providers for copies of your records and bills. Giving these to your lawyer early on will help us prepare properly for a settlement demand on the insurance company.
One thing to look out for during drunk driving cases: The insurance companies will often attempt to get you to settle quickly. This is to limit the amount of damages that they must pay to you. It is better to consult qualified and experienced attorneys before making any decisions about settlement. At Elrod Pope Law Firm, we do not let the insurance companies off the hook by trying to pass easy settlements through.
Typically, shortly after the accident the driver’s insurance company’s going to want to take your recorded statement. It is always better to have a lawyer with you when you make the statement. It is based on what you say during the statement that the insurance company often makes their decisions on how much if anything to give you any potential settlement offer. Drunk driving cases may factually seem straightforward, but can legally get very tricky.
The Difference Makers
At Elrod Pope Law Firm, we have been handling drunk driving injury cases for years. We know that you will never get back what you lost but our skilled Rock Hill auto accident attorneys will make sure that you get the best settlement or verdict that the law can give you.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.