Accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol happen all too often in the state of Maryland. If you, or a loved one, are the victim of such an incident, you may be wondering what steps you can take to seek relief for any losses you have suffered. According to state laws, you may file civil claims against the drunk driver, but just know you may be in for an uphill battle.
Many people believe that an accident involving a drunk driver is pretty cut-and-dry. The drunk driver is entirely responsible and should have to cover the victim’s losses, right? The truth is that the drunk driver, his or her legal team, and his or her insurance provider will likely try to place some, if not all, of the blame on you or your loved one. How successful they are at playing the blame game all comes down to the details of the event.
Determining who was at fault
With any car accident, it is necessary to determine fault. Again, just because the driver who hit you was drunk does not mean the court will find him or her solely at fault for the incident — wrong as that may seem. His or her legal counsel will likely suggest that you were dealing with a distraction, speeding or negligent in some other way, making you fully or partially liable for your losses.
It is not sufficient enough to say someone is at fault for an accident, however. The following elements have to be present in the case:
- Each party had a duty to follow traffic laws
- One or both parties breached that duty
- The actions of the other driver contributed to your injuries
- There are documented damages
In order to establish that the drunk driver is fully responsible for your losses, it is necessary to prove that he or she is the only person to have breached the duty of care. You’ll also need to provide information confirming that his or her impairment contributed to your injuries, as well as provide proof of any damages sustained.
You don’t have to do it alone
Seeking relief after suffering injuries or losing a loved one in an accident with a drunk driver can be a frustrating process that takes more time than you might expect. The good news is you do not have to go through the process alone. With the right help in your corner, you may achieve maximum compensation as quickly as possible, and you may never need to set foot in a courtroom to do it. Out-of-court negotiations can ultimately resolve many of these cases.