A Guide to Compensation Claims for Drunk Driving Accidents in Philadelphia, PA

Traffic accidents are a daily reality in Philadelphia, but drunk drivers elevate the danger for other road users. It’s estimated a staggering 300,000 drunk drivers navigate US roadways every single day. While alcohol only played a role in roughly 8% of Pennsylvania’s crashes in 2021, that seemingly small number translated to 25% of all traffic fatalities. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in Philadelphia, personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig A. Altman will fight for your rights to pursue fair compensation.

Understanding Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving is legally defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding the legal limit. In Pennsylvania, a driver is considered under the influence (DUI) if their BAC is 0.08% or higher. Stricter limitations are imposed on those operating commercial vehicles and individuals under the legal drinking age.

Alcohol affects the central nervous system. It impairs driving abilities by diminishing cognitive functions, inhibiting coordination, and delaying reaction times. This makes it much more difficult to operate a vehicle safely, thus increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Note: even a BAC lower than 0.08% can impair driving ability. If a driver is involved in an accident with a BAC above 0.05% or below 0.08%, it can be used as evidence of negligence in a civil lawsuit. A conviction can result in license suspension, fines, ignition interlock, and jail time.

Building Your Compensation Claim

To build a strong compensation claim, you must demonstrate the defendant’s negligence, proving causation between the accident and injuries sustained as well as quantifying damages. Police reports, eyewitness statements, and skilled opinions are pivotal in substantiating the claim and supporting the victim’s case for compensation.

The police record will contain details about the accident, including the responding officer’s observations about the drivers involved. You must also be able to document your damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Documentation from your employer will come in handy to prove that you’ve missed work due to your injuries.

Types of Compensation Available

Victims of drunk driving accidents may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for all out-of-pocket expenses incurred from the accident including repairs or replacement of a damaged vehicle, wages lost due to time off work to recover from your injuries. Non-economic damages address the intangible losses stemming from the accident.

This encompasses pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life due to permanent injuries, and any scarring or disfigurement caused by the accident.

In egregious cases involving blatant disregard for public safety, punitive damages may also be pursued to punish the defendant and deter similar misconduct in the future. The court evaluates the drunk driver’s actions to assess the presence of intentional or malicious behavior that warrants a harsher penalty beyond simply compensating the victim.

Navigating the Legal Process

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to lowball accident victims. They may try to deny your claim, offer a low settlement, or pressure you to settle quickly before you understand the full extent of your injuries. However, with skilled legal representation, plaintiffs can level the playing field and pursue fair compensation for their losses.

Your legal team will gather pertinent evidence to determine the liable party. They’ll then negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to get the maximum compensation possible and, if necessary, take your case to court.

The Importance of Legal Representation

In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, securing experienced legal representation is paramount. Personal injury lawyers are crucial in advocating for victims’ rights, handling legal intricacies, and maximizing compensation. The Law Offices of Craig A. Altman has the resources necessary to hold at-fault parties accountable and secure just outcomes for our clients. If you’re a victim of a drunk driver’s negligent acts in Philadelphia, PA or the surrounding PA suburbs, call (215) 569-4488 today. You can also complete our Online Contact Form for a free case review and advice.

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