Drunk Driving Accident Victim Lawyers in Kansas City, Helping You Get Justice
Drunk driving has plagued the roadways of Kansas City for decades. While the number of car accidents caused by drunk driving has decreased in some years due to government efforts, we still periodically see a spike in such collisions. Accident victims involved in such incidents often face years of recovery, pain, suffering, lost income, and a host of other damages. Unfortunately, such cases also frequently lead to wrongful death claims. For instance, nearly one-third of Missouri crash fatalities involve alcohol. Whether you’ve lost a loved one or sustained injuries yourself, a drunk driving accident victim lawyer in Kansas City may be able to help.
At Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients receive maximum compensation for their injuries. Drunk driving accidents occur far too frequently in our state, and tragically, studies show that it’s usually the sober victims of these wrecks who face fatal and serious injuries. Unfortunately, being injured by a drunk driver does not guarantee that you’ll receive fair compensation. This is why you should speak with a personal injury law firm before moving forward. Mohlman Gurney Injury Law provides free consultations and works on a contingency fee basis, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us today.
Are Drunk Driving Accidents Civil or Criminal?
Police officers will often test suspected drunk drivers for intoxication at the scene of the accident. If they’re legally drunk, they may face misdemeanor or even felony charges—depending on the unique facts of the case. However, this differs from the liability that a drunk driver may face in civil court. A criminal prosecutor will prosecute the drunk driver in a criminal court of law, and a conviction can result in probation, large fines, incarceration, and other punishments. If there were drunk driving accident victims involved—whether they were passengers or in another vehicle—charges are likely to be more serious.
Unfortunately, a guilty verdict in a drunk driving case does not mean you receive compensation. In order for this to happen, you might have to bring an action in civil court apart from the criminal proceedings. While you may want to see the driver punished under the law in criminal proceedings, you will not receive compensation unless the negligent party’s insurance company settles or you recover damages in Missouri courts. A criminal conviction can certainly help in such situations, but there’s no telling how long this might take if the defendant pleads guilty and their trial doesn’t take place soon.
In such situations, seeking compensation in a personal injury case may require settlement negotiations or a lawsuit before a conviction ever occurs. In certain cases, there may be other liable parties, even if only one drunk driver caused your accident. For instance, Missouri establishments that overserve individuals who later cause harm may be held partially liable. This is due to the state’s dram shop laws. However, you must be able to prove that the restaurant or bar continued to serve the driver when it was obvious they were intoxicated. A Kansas City drunk driving accident attorney can help in this endeavor.
What Personal Injury Damages am I Entitled to?
Following a Kansas City drunk driving accident, victims can file a claim for damages to recover their losses. Some of these losses are economic in nature—such as money spent on emergency room visits. The potential for non-economic damages also exists, though, since not all losses following a personal injury are financial in nature. For instance, damages for emotional distress don’t always result in monetary losses. Following drunk driving accidents, injured victims may be entitled to recovery for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Courts will consider every aspect and fact regarding your lawsuit. Punitive damages are especially important to pay attention to in a drunk driving accident case. Such damages are rare when simple acts of negligence occur—because their primary purpose is to punish defendants rather than reimburse victims. The goal behind these damages is to reduce the likelihood that such behavior will occur in the future. Considering just how negligent a person must be to get behind the wheel drunk, however, means there’s a solid chance for punitive damages following such a car accident.
Any eventual damages you receive will largely depend on the extent of your injuries and the severity of the accident. In many cases, it’s possible to stay out of court by reaching a settlement with an insurance company. If a car crash results in serious injury or wrongful death, though, speaking with Kansas City drunk driving accident attorneys is an absolute necessity. While legal representation can help even with settlement negotiations, damages in severe accidents can be very high. This means there’s a good chance an insurer or uninsured motorist will want to avoid paying what you fairly deserve.
Is a Drunk Driver Always at Fault in Kansas City Accidents?
There is a persistent belief that—whenever car crashes involve an intoxicated person—it’s that person who is immediately at fault. Unfortunately, for those injured in an accident caused by drunk drivers, this is not always the case. In fact, an individual could be found guilty in a court of law for driving while intoxicated and still not be held liable for an accident. This is because you will need to be able to overcome the burden of proof in a civil action. That means specifically proving that the driver’s actions (intoxication) led to your injuries and other damages. This is why speaking with personal injury attorneys is so important.
Insurance companies and the at-fault driver will likely try to say they’re not responsible for your losses. In some instances, they may be right. For example, a drunk driver who is rear-ended at a stop light very likely did not cause the accident in any negligent manner. Defendants may also try to attribute some blame to you even if their liability is clear. That’s because Missouri is a comparative negligence state. This means that if you’re determined to be 20% at fault for the accident, you will only be entitled to collect 80% of the total damages awarded.
Even so, this is still often a significant court award. Such compensation can prove invaluable when dealing with medical bills, lost time from work, physical and mental therapy, property damage, and other financial losses. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to contact the legal team at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law today. We can help you hold intoxicated drivers accountable for their negligent actions. And even if you were partially at fault for your own injury, you may still be able to receive fair compensation.
A Drunk Driving Accident Victim Lawyer in Kansas City, MO, Can Help
Driving drunk is so unsafe that the state doesn’t even have to prove that an individual was dangerous behind the wheel. If someone has a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, they’re assumed guilty. Unfortunately, things may not always be as clear-cut in a personal injury lawsuit involving drunk drivers. You’ll have to show that the other driver was at fault for the collision, and with personal injury lawyers on your side, this becomes a simpler task. You and your family shouldn’t have to suffer due to the reckless actions of another. If you’ve been injured in such an accident, Kansas City drunk driving accident attorneys may be able to help.
The legal professionals at Mohlman Gurney Injury Law, LLC have years of experience handling personal injury claims, and they understand the sheer destruction that can occur when an inebriated individual gets behind the wheel. The repercussions after a drunk driving accident can be severe and result in the need for continuing medical care for victims and supportive care for their families. These are ongoing expenses that should not be borne by the family alone. Our law office provides free case evaluations for those hoping to better understand their rights and how to recover compensation. Contact us today by calling (816) 648-6000 to speak with a drunk driving accident victim lawyer in Kansas City, MO.