driver holding a glass of rum

Thousands of people are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents every year. That includes many people in the Athens area and throughout Alabama. On top of all the serious injuries caused by impaired driving accidents, many DUI accident victims struggle to pay for their medical care and may be left unable to work for a long period.

There’s no way to undo the harm caused by a drunk driving accident. But an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for your losses. The Athens drunk driving accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. have been helping accident victims in Alabama for decades.

With over 50 years of combined experience and more than $125 million recovered for our clients, we have the dedication and knowledge to help you demand the financial recovery you deserve.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation with one of our impaired driving lawyers.

Consequences of Drunk Driving in Athens

While drunk drivers often face criminal charges after a crash, accident victims frequently suffer severe consequences for the drunk driver’s negligent actions. These consequences often include the following:

  • Serious injuries, such as brain trauma, neck and back injuries, disfigurement, crushed or severed limbs, internal organ damage, and broken bones
  • Lengthy hospital stays
  • Prolonged recovery periods
  • Expensive medical bills
  • Lingering pain for weeks, months, or years after the accident
  • Long-term or permanent disabilities
  • Lowered quality of life
  • Psychological distress, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts
  • Wrongful death or the loss of a loved one

Drunk driving victims shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of impaired drivers. While it can’t fix everything, a DUI accident attorney can help you pursue compensation for your losses to try and lessen this burden.

Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

The statistics on drunk driving accidents in Alabama are sobering. According to recent information from the Alabama Department of Transportation, 210 people died in suspected drunk and impaired driving accidents statewide in just one year. Impaired drivers were more than seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers.

The figures are even worse when you take a closer look at the Athens area. The Alabama Department of Transportation data shows that there were 23 traffic deaths in Limestone County in one year. Five of those deaths were from accidents caused by alcohol or drug impairment. That means more than 20 percent of all traffic deaths for a single year were from impaired driving accidents.

Common Injuries Sustained in Athens Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving accidents in Athens often leave victims with major injuries, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck injuries, including whiplash and broken vertebrae
  • Back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Damage to muscles, joints, and connective tissues
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Psychological distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If you’ve suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, you may be owed compensation. A skilled DUI injury attorney can help you build a case and pursue financial recovery.

I’m the Victim of a DUI Accident —What Do I Do?

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you need to do whatever you can to protect your rights and minimize your potential injuries. Here’s what you should do after the crash:

  1. Call 911. You’ll want police on the scene to test the other driver for alcohol in their system. You can use the accident report to support your case later on. Calling 911 will also bring emergency medical personnel to the scene so they can treat any injuries.
  2. Get the other driver’s information. You’ll want their name, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
  3. Document the accident. Take pictures of the damage to your car, any injuries you suffered, and the whole crash area. If there are any nearby eyewitnesses, try to get their names and contact information.
  4. See a doctor. If you aren’t taken to a hospital, see your own doctor as soon as possible.
  5. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly as ordered. Not following your doctor’s orders could reduce the amount of compensation you could recover.
  6. Don’t give any statements to insurance companies. You want to report the accident to your insurer, but don’t give any details until you’ve spoken to an attorney.
  7. Talk to an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer. Sooner is better, as critical evidence can be lost shortly after the crash.

Seeking Compensation After a DUI Accident in Athens

You have the right to file a lawsuit against a drunk driver after an accident in Alabama. To recover compensation, you’ll have to show the other driver’s negligence, such as driving while intoxicated, which led to the crash and your injuries. If you can prove the other driver’s fault, you can pursue compensation for your losses, such as the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished future earning potential
  • Lower quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Personal property damage

Alabama’s Statute of Limitations on Car Crash Cases

To recover any compensation after a drunk driving accident, you’ll need to file a lawsuit within the deadline set by Alabama’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims. State law generally gives you two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, your drunk driving case will most likely be dismissed without a chance for you to make your claim.

Do I Have a Case If the Drunk Driver Is Acquitted or Never Charged?

A drunk driver doesn’t have to be charged for you to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. A criminal charge or conviction can help with your personal injury lawsuit, but it’s not required. There’s a lower standard of proof required to win a personal injury lawsuit in civil court than in criminal proceedings. Even if the impaired driver is never charged, an experienced DUI car accident attorney can work to gather the evidence you need to make a strong case for compensation.

Contact Our Experienced Athens Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Today

A drunk driving accident can be a horrific tragedy, but remember that you still have options to rebuild your life. Contact us online or call Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. today for a free consultation with a skilled and compassionate drunk driving accident attorney.