A Vital Reminder for Drivers


As April dawns upon us, so does the observance of National Alcohol Awareness Month. It’s not just a time to reflect on the impact of alcohol abuse but also for us to take proactive steps, particularly in one of the most critical areas of impact – our roads. Despite the year-long campaigns, the unfortunate statistics remain: 29 people perish daily in the United States from avoidable, impaired driving accidents, with thousands more suffering from life-altering injuries. This pressing issue demands our attention, especially during a time designated to raise awareness about the life-threatening dangers of alcohol consumption and driving.


Knowing the Threshold: What Does Impairment Mean?


The legal threshold for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.08 nationwide, with Utah at an even lower 0.05. But the question is, how do we translate those numbers to our real-world decisions? A single number isn’t a panacea; it’s about understanding how alcohol consumption affects our abilities.

Alcohol doesn’t discriminate. Depending on a myriad of personal variables, ‘one more drink’ could push anyone over the edge from a responsible driver to a dangerous liability on the road. The effects aren’t just motor skill deterioration or delayed reactions but also impaired decision-making and concentration. It’s not just about being legally drunk; it’s about retaining complete sobriety to safeguard ourselves and others on the road.


Facing the Harsh Reality of Drunk Driving Accidents in 2023


Last year’s data on drunk driving presents an unsettling reality. Drunk driving accidents accounted for a staggering 25% of all traffic fatalities, with an average of one person injured per hour. These numbers, however, encapsulate human stories of tragedy, personal loss, and community devastation. According to a new report released this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 13,000 People Died in Alcohol-Related Crashes for the Second Straight Year.


National Alcohol Awareness Month: Ohio’s Drunk Driving Laws


Ohio has stringent laws when it comes to drunk driving, also known as Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI). The state takes a zero-tolerance stance, with severe penalties for those found to be driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%. If drivers’ actions result in fatalities or serious injury, they face more legal consequences. These strict laws not only serve as a deterrent but also provide a strong foundation for wrongful death claims.


The Impact of Injuries


The data reveals a concerning trend, with 30% of drunk driving accidents leading to severe injuries. These injuries are not merely statistics; they represent real people whose lives are now altered by physical and emotional trauma. It’s a stark figure that warrants reconsidering our approach to rehabilitation and the support structures we provide to those affected.


Fatalities: Lives Lost and the Ripple Effect


The ultimate cost of drunk driving is the loss of life, with 5% of these incidents resulting in fatalities. These losses are not just numbers but individuals who were part of families and communities. Each casualty has a ripple effect that goes beyond the individual, impacting the lives of many and leaving a lasting void.


Understanding Ohio Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Laws


Like every state in the United States, Ohio has specific laws that govern personal injury and wrongful death claims. These laws outline the rights of victims, the responsibilities of at-fault parties, the process for seeking damages, and the factors that can impact the outcomes of such cases. Understanding these laws is critical, as they form the backbone of your claim.


Personal Injury Claims in Ohio


In Ohio, personal injury claims are based on the concept of negligence. To successfully claim compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident, you must demonstrate the following:

  • The drunk driver owed you a duty of care
  • The driver breached this duty through their intoxicated behavior
  • The breach directly caused your injuries
  • Your injuries resulted in measurable damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering


Ohio also follows a modified comparative fault rule, meaning that the percentage of fault you’re assigned for the accident reduces a jury verdict or settlement. For instance, if it’s determined that you were 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 20%.


Wrongful Death Claims in Ohio


When a person dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, these lawsuits seek monetary compensation for various losses, including funeral costs, medical expenses, and the loss of income. It’s a way the law recognizes the economic and emotional contributions that the deceased would have made if not for the preventable tragedy. Ohio’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally two years from the incident date unless there are exceptional circumstances.


Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases


Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit can vary based on the circumstances of the case and the losses incurred. In Ohio, eligible family members can seek compensation for the following:


  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Medical expenses related to the final injury or illness.
  • Loss of the deceased person’s support, including income and benefits.
  • Loss of the deceased person’s services and society.
  • Loss of the care, companionship, and guidance of the deceased person.
  • Mental anguish suffered by the surviving family member and more.


Initiating a Lawsuit Against a Drunk Driver


The process of initiating a lawsuit in Ohio begins by filing a complaint with the appropriate court. The complaint outlines your case against the drunk driver and your demand for damages. At this stage, the services of a skilled personal injury attorney are invaluable. An experienced lawyer can help you:


  • Draft a persuasive complaint.
  • Identify all potentially liable parties (such as a bar that overserved the driver).
  • Gather evidence to support your claim, such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
  • Ensure the complaint is filed within the statute of limitations, which is generally two years from the date of the accident for personal injury claims and two years from the date of death for wrongful death claims.

The Importance of Evidence in Your Drunk Driver Lawsuit


Evidence is the lifeblood of your case. In a drunk driving lawsuit, substantial evidence can include:

  • The police report may include the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and citations or charges.
  • Eyewitness testimony that attests to the driver’s intoxicated state.
  • The driver’s BAC test results, if available.
  • Your medical records document the extent of your injuries.


The more compelling your evidence, the stronger your case will likely be. Your attorney will work to gather and present as much evidence as possible to bolster your claim.


The Role of Comparative Negligence in Ohio Drunk Driver Lawsuits


Ohio’s modified comparative fault rule can impact the outcome of your case. If the drunk driver or their insurance company argues that you were partially responsible for the accident, your attorney will need to counter these claims effectively. This is where the quality of your evidence and the strength of your legal arguments become critical.

It’s important to remember that drunk driving is a high form of negligence, and cases against drunk drivers often result in significant damages for victims.


Pursuing Compensation Through a Drunk Driver Lawsuit


Damages available to you in an Ohio drunk driving lawsuit can include:


  • Economic damages include medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages for pain and suffering or emotional trauma.
  • Punitive damages are designed to punish the drunk driver and deter similar behavior in the future.


In Ohio, punitive damages are subject to a clear and convincing evidence standard. You must demonstrate a heightened level of proof that the drunk driver acted with a reckless disregard for your safety.


Pursuing a Claim: The Legal Process


The legal process for a wrongful death claim begins with filing a lawsuit, which must be done within the statute of limitations. The lawsuit then proceeds to the discovery phase, where the plaintiff and the defendant exchange information and evidence. The case may then proceed to settlement negotiations, mediation, or trial. The goal is to reach a conclusion that fully addresses the losses the victim’s family incurred.


The Compassionate Support You Deserve


Compassionate support is vital in times of tragedy. The Toledo injury attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault offer legal expertise, understanding, and empathy for your pain. We are committed to fighting tirelessly for our client’s rights and ensuring that victims can receive the justice they deserve.

Take the First Step Towards Justice


When you or a loved one has been affected by a drunk driving incident, the pain and disruption to your life can be overwhelming. It’s a time when the last thing you want to worry about is navigating the legal system. That’s why seeking auto accident lawyers who can guide you through the process and fight for your rights is crucial. The Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault team understands the toll these incidents can take on you and your family and is here to provide you with the support and guidance needed to safeguard your future. With an experienced Toledo car accident lawyer, you can focus on healing while they work tirelessly to pursue justice on your behalf.


Call Your local auto accident lawyers at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.


If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Monroe – and are searching for “car accident attorneys near me,” you can count on having one of our best auto accident attorneys from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case.  With a Toledo personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.