Each year, an estimated 10, 000 deaths occur because of drunk driving. Scientific experts, who say that these deaths are “completely preventable, ” recently issued a report that encourages states to take another look at their drunk driving thresholds. If their suggestion to lower the current BAC threshold is headed, the number of criminal drunk driving cases in the United States could dramatically increase. Drunk driving accident victims, who often have to fight for fair compensation after a crash with a drunk driver, may also start to experience better overall outcomes in their personal injury cases.
Changes to the BAC Threshold May Be on the Horizon
Although drunk driving was first ruled as “illegal” in 1910, efforts to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths did not truly start until the early 1980s. Before that, around half of all traffic deaths had been attributed to an intoxicated driver. Over the next 30 years, those deaths would decrease by half; the enactment of a national per se law that made it illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, irrespective to any signs of intoxication, was an instrumental part in this decline of drunk driving deaths.
Sadly, experts say the numbers have grown stagnant in some states and are rising in others. They believe that a lower BAC threshold of 0.05 could drive the numbers back down. One state, Utah, has already enacted such a law, but it is not set to take effect until December of 2018.
Overcoming the Challenges of a Drunk Driving Accident Claim
While every state has made it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC limit of 0.08, there are many factors that can impact an injured accident victim’s claim. For example, if the driver did not show signs of intoxication and the responding officer failed to request a chemical test, the victim may have a difficult time proving that the other driver was drunk at the time of the crash. It is also worth noting that chemical testing is not always accurate, so a drunk driver may test below the BAC threshold, even if they are over the limit. This, too, can impact a victim’s claim.
Drunk driving accident victims can protect their right to pursue full and fair compensation by ensuring they take the appropriate steps after a crash. First, be sure to gather as much information as you can at the time of the crash, including the names and numbers of witnesses, the name and badge number of the responding officer, details about the other driver (including their insurance information), and photos of the crash site (including both vehicles and their positions).
Second, ensure you seek medical attention after a drunk driving crash, even if you do not think you are injured; adrenaline can mask symptoms, and failing to seek treatment can negatively impact your case.
Lastly, be sure to enlist the assistance of a seasoned personal injury lawyer before speaking to the insurance companies about your case. Remember that their goal is to reduce the amount of your claim as much as possible, and many insurance companies will go to extreme lengths to make this happen. In fact, some will even attempt to blame you – the victim!
Contact Our Appleton Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we aggressively protect the rights of drunk driving victims – and that includes their right to pursue full and fair compensation for their losses. Seasoned and experienced, our Green Bay drunk driving accident attorneys will work hard to ensure you receive the settlement that you deserve. Call 920-739-7366 to schedule your free consultation.