The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, reported more than 2,500 deaths in the US in a single month (December) of 2010, with nearly 800 of those being caused by individuals who were impaired by alcohol, or driving drunk or intoxicated. This does not even touch on the accidents caused by individuals who were impaired by other substances, including illegal drugs or prescription medications. Yet, when it comes to drunk driving alone, there is a rate of about one fatality every half hour in the US. If this is alarming to you, you are not alone. If you have been the victim of an intoxicated driver, then the following information should help you in deciding what you need to do next and how to go about seeking compensation.
Understanding the Laws Concerning DUI Offenses in Kansas City
You are not alone if you find yourself confused by Kansas City’s DUI laws. These laws can be extremely confusing and complicated to anyone. To help you make sense of the laws and your place within the legal system, which is designed to prevent and protect the victims of DUI auto accidents, seek out a Kansas City auto accident attorney.
One thing that is helpful to recognize is that being the victim of an traffic accident caused by someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts you in a position to retrieve more compensation than you might from other kinds of traffic accident claims. This is because the person who is driving under the influence is seen as alarmingly thoughtless and this tends to move any judge or jury to assure that you receive maximum compensation. In many instances, these cases never go to trial because everyone understands how it is likely to turn out. To prevent the time and expense of a trial, both sides are motivated to settle the claim outside of court.
You are allowed to recover compensation for all of your injuries, medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, lost future earning potential, and – in many cases, pain and suffering and/or punitive damages, when you’ve been injured by an intoxicated driver. This means that you can recover all of your expenses related to the cost of any ambulance rides, the hospital and ER bills, reimbursement for your medications, any needed medical devices, and the cost of your rehabilitation. Punitive damages are intended to punish the responsible party. You are much more likely to receive these after an auto accident caused by a drunk or otherwise inebriated driver, especially if it is a second, third, or further offense.
How Many People Die From Intoxicated Driving Accidents?
Because drunk driving fatalities are actually underreported in Kansas City and throughout the USI, we don’t really know the answer to this question. This was identified by NHTSA researchers who looked at death certificates and relevant blood alcohol content levels in people who have perished in auto accidents. While there were 21% of auto accident deaths linked to DUIs over the span of 10 years, only 3% were reported as such on the death certificate.
Part of the reason that these accidents are not reported is because it can take time for the authorities to acquire a blood alcohol content reading from the blood test of a deceased individual. The death certificates simply come out before the results are acquired. Additionally, different states handle such deaths in different ways. After a driver dies in an auto accident not all states require that the driver’s BAC is established.
What About Accidents Caused by Drivers Intoxicated by Other Substances?
Most people think of impaired drivers as being impaired by alcohol – drunk drivers – however, this is not the only way of impaired driving that can lead to a severe traffic accident. Though this does not necessarily mean that the substance will cause impairment or an accident, more than 16% of drivers who are screened for legal or illegal substances test positive in the US. Sometimes, the substances are prescription medications, and sometimes, they are illegal drugs. Prescription medications may or may not hinder the driver’s ability to drive carefully. It all depends on the substance and how the driver is affected by that substance. For example, some prescribed medications warn that users of the medication should not drive or operate heavy machinery until they know how the medication affects them. For some, the medication may not impair their ability to drive. For others, the same medication may cause significant impairment.
Then, there are those who are taking illegal drugs, including some that are known for causing significant impairment when it comes to operating a vehicle. You will want to seek the advice of an experienced Kansas City auto accident attorney if you were in an auto accident caused by a driver who was impaired by alcohol or any other substance. At Krause & Kinsman Law Firm, we are here to help you in establishing liability in your traffic accident claim and discussing the options available to you for proving that liability and pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.