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Can I Get Compensation For Being Hit by a Drunk Driver?

What is the average settlement when hit by a drunk driver?

Drunk driving accidents are all too common in Alabama.  Even though a conviction on drunk driving carries increasingly heavy penalties, the law does not deter people.  Drunk driving cases are both criminal and civil cases. Accident victims are often dealing with serious, permanent injuries and in many cases, the accidents are fatal.  Cases like these require an experienced law firm that has the resources and knowledge to protect the rights of their clients in both civil and criminal cases in a timely, efficient and aggressive fashion.  The personal injury law firm of Wettermark & Keith, are known for their ethical, determined and skillful representation of clients injured in serious accidents caused by negligence or drunk driving.


Driving while intoxicated can be caused by many factors.  The most common type of intoxication is caused by consumption of alcohol.  However, drivers often become intoxicated through prescription and illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, crack, and other substances.  Intoxication by any means can cause terrible accidents and injuries.

If you were hit by a drunk driver, it is extremely important to have an attorney evaluate your claim at the earliest opportunity, while evidence is still available and witnesses can be located.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be entitled to a number of claims for medical expenses, pain and distress, loss of income and other losses. The experienced team of Birmingham drunk driving accident lawyers at the law office of Wettermark & Keith, help victims in Alabama and throughout the United States.

Establishing Negligence Against the Drunk Driver 

As you may know, in a “normal” car accident, where alcohol is not involved, establishing who’s at fault can be a tricky task. The injured plaintiff has to prove that their injuries occurred as a direct result of the defendant’s negligence. Facts can be misconstrued, testimonies bent, and the entire incident can become cloudy. 

However, when it comes to a drunk driving accident, the plaintiff simply must establish that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and that this intoxication led to the plaintiff’s injuries. According to a principle known as “negligence per se,” negligence can be assumed in these cases. 

Unlike other motor vehicle accident cases, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove that the defendant’s actions reached a level of negligence because drunk driving is considered an act that is fundamentally wrong. Thus, in drunk driving cases, the plaintiff has a much simpler job in winning their case and getting the compensation necessary for their injuries. 

Punitive Damages: Getting the Compensation You Deserve 

Punitive damages vary depending on the state you live in, but the majority of their procedures are standard. Punitive damages are a way for courts to discourage conduct similar to the defendant’s by way of awarding bonus damages to the plaintiff. Once the compensatory damages are established, punitive damages are tacked on as a multiplier. For example, if you’re rewarded compensatory damages of $50,000, a court could award you punitive damages totaling up to 4 times that amount or $200,000, bringing your total damages awarded to $250,000.

Typically, punitive damages will be up to the court to award, but because they can be so valuable, they’re worth pursuing. When it comes to drunk drivers, punitive damages are more likely to be awarded if the driver was severely intoxicated or deliberately drove drunk and showed a willful disregard for others’ safety—rather than if the driver was just barely over the legal limit when the accident occurred. 

Your Case Matters 

There are a plethora of compensatory damages available to victims of drunk driver accidents, but too many victims are unaware of these damages or fail to win them in a court of law. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a drunk driver, contact Wettermark Keith today. Our experienced team of car wreck personal injury attorneys will tirelessly fight to get you the money you are owed. Call us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been hit by a drunk driver, it is crucial to first ensure your safety and seek medical attention, even if you don't initially feel injured. Contact the police to file an official report, which is vital for legal proceedings. Documenting the scene with photos and gathering witness information can also be beneficial. Finally, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate your case and guide you through the process of claiming compensation.

Victims hit by a drunk driver can pursue several types of compensation. These include compensatory damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage. Additionally, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the drunk driver for their reckless behavior. An experienced attorney can help determine the full scope of damages you might be entitled to.

Establishing negligence in cases where you were hit by a drunk driver is often more straightforward than other car accident claims. Due to the principle of "negligence per se," the law automatically assumes negligence when the at-fault driver is found to be intoxicated. This simplifies the process of proving fault, as you primarily need to demonstrate that the injuries you sustained were a result of the collision with the drunk driver.

Ready to work together? Contact us today for a free consultation.


If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.