The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available), nationwide 10,228 people were killed and approximately 350,000 people injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. A staggering 31 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the United States were alcohol related.
In Ohio, the story is similar. With 31 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Ohio DUI-related, Ohio ranks 32nd in the nation according to MADD’s ranking system. That’s a 5.7 percent decrease in alcohol-related car accidents over the prior year, but drunk driving is still a major problem in Ohio. MADD also reports that of all people arrested for drunk driving in Ohio over the past year, 147,000 of them were three-time offenders and 33,000 were five-time offenders. In total, 1,718 people have been killed by drunk drivers in Ohio over the past five years.
Compensation for victims of drunk driving accidents in Ohio
Impaired drivers are more likely to speed, run stop signs and fail to obey traffic rules and signals. Drunk drivers are also more likely to drift into on-coming traffic and cause head-on collisions. Drunk driver accident victims often sustain catastrophic injuries, including injuries to the head, back, neck and/or spinal cord, requiring extensive and on-going medical care. Besides mounting medical bills, an injured person will also experience lost wages and pain and suffering.
It’s true that nothing can take away the pain, suffering, loss and hardships one must endure because of a drunk driving accident, but financial compensation can ensure one has the resources necessary to move on with life. In Ohio, damages in drunk driving cases are of three types: economic, non-economic and punitive.
are awarded to compensate an injured person for the actual financial losses he or she suffered or is reasonable expected to suffer because of the drunk driving accident. Compensation for past and future medical expenses (including treatment, disability, disfigurement and rehabilitation) and lost past and future income are examples of economic damages.
are awarded to compensation a injured person for the physical and emotional pain and suffering he or she experienced because of the alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. Flashbacks, nightmares and depression are examples of emotional pain and suffering for which compensation may be available.
are awarded in cases of especially egregious conduct by the wrongdoer and may be available in drunk driving accident cases. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer for his or her behavior and to send a message to others that drunk driving is taken seriously.
Seek legal assistance
If you or a loved one has been injured in an alcohol-related accident, contact a personal injury attorney. Your personal injury lawyer can discuss the damages available in your case and then fight on your behalf to recover them.