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Any kind of vehicle accident can leave you shocked and angry. It’s only more so if you find out a drunk driver caused it. In just an instant the irresponsibility of a drunk driver can change your life forever.
From the destruction or total loss of your vehicle to the pain of injuries and the trauma of the accident itself—the time following a drunk driving accident is overwhelming and leaves victims with many questions about what they can do to recover their lives. If a drunk driver in La Crosse injured you, you may seek compensation. Read on to find out how our La Crosse drunk driving lawyers can help.
Our team of attorneys at Nicole Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is dedicated to assisting victims of drunk driving accidents in La Crosse. In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, victims face a lot of uncertainty, especially when it comes to their legal rights. It is our mission to provide our clients the most professional and experienced legal advice and representation and help them fight for maximum compensation to cover their losses and expenses resulting from the accident.
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers don’t just aspire to get justice for drunk driving accident victims—we’ve proven our ability to do so. Just recently, we secured two victories for victims of drunk drivers in Wisconsin, recovering $815,000 in one case and $500,000 in the other. Each case is different, and so the amount of compensation in your case may differ. But you can count on us to fight for every dollar you deserve.
The city of La Crosse serves as the intersection of several major roadways within Wisconsin and neighboring Minnesota. Drunk drivers on these busy roads increase the likelihood of accidents that cause severe injuries and fatalities. Intersections along these major highways pose an increased risk of accidents. Of particular concern is the downtown area of La Crosse between 3rd and 4th street where there is a high concentration of bars and a local favorite hotspot for drinks and parties. Drivers under the influence can cause a collision when they leave these establishments in the late hours of the night on nearby streets and roads.
Other roads within La Crosse where drunk drivers pose an especially great risk include:
After being injured by a drunk driver in La Crosse, things can feel chaotic, not only in terms of taking care of your health and dealing with the disruption to your personal life, but in figuring out how you will be able to pay for all the damage. It can be difficult to figure out how to bring an insurance claim or lawsuit, let alone bring a successful one. Insurance companies may try to push you to settle quickly and close out your claim.
Attorneys know where to look for the best evidence to support your claim. It is likely if the driver tested above the legal limit at the scene that they were arrested. While the arrest of the driver is evidence that can be used to determine fault in your claim or lawsuit, the charges filed against that driver and the success or failure of a criminal conviction do affect your right to file a civil case to recover compensation for the losses you suffered.
Contact our drunk driving accident lawyers as soon as possible after the accident. After you address your injuries, make your priority protecting your legal rights and preparing for and initiating your claim or lawsuit. An attorney can guide you through this complex process to ensure you understand the options available, and can further represent you against the aggressive defense of a drunk driver and their insurance company.
Your attorney in your drunk driving case can help with:
Your attorney will assist you in gathering the evidence to build up your case. While you should collect all the documentation and photographs of your own relating to the accident and the expenses and impacts that follow, your attorney has the experience and resources to collect evidence you cannot.
This can include surveillance footage of the accident, medical records, driving history records of the drunk driver, and any other information that could prove the other driver’s fault and the value of your damages.
An experienced La Crosse auto accident attorney will understand the intricacies of injuries and impacts that arise for drunk driving accident victims, which go beyond the direct medical bills to other impacts on a victim’s daily functions, loss of work, and other circumstances that damage your financial well-being and your quality of life.
An attorney will work alongside you to analyze the severity of your injuries and the costs and other losses you have suffered after the accident. They’ll be able to figure out a fair amount of compensation to demand in your case, sufficient to cover all the expenses and impacts you have experienced or will experience in the future.
One of the most difficult aspects of a personal injury claim is the pressure to deal with the insurance companies. It is unlikely that you will recover compensation from the pockets of the drunk driver; it almost always comes down to their insurer paying out to resolve the claim. But insurance companies are in business to deny and minimize claims so that they can maximize their profits. Regardless of how vulnerable you are after a drunk driving accident, they will often fight aggressively against your claim.
A drunk driving victim is most concerned with the immediate repercussions of their injuries and losses. Having to also worry about sparring with an insurance company just to get the compensation they deserve can overwhelm them.
By hiring an experienced auto accident attorney, you can make them the point-person in your case, and all communications regarding your claim will go through them. The relief of not having to get on stressful phone calls with insurance interrogating you about the accident is immense; victims can let a lawyer handle that while they focus on their health recovery.
Once you have established an estimate of the damages you have suffered, your attorney will send the other party and their insurer a demand letter for damages and will work to negotiate a settlement. Your lawyer will present all settlement offers to you. While they can advise you and help you decide what is best for you and your interest, it will always be your decision to settle or not. The majority of accident cases caused by a drunk driver are resolved through a settlement, rather than going all the way through court.
If you decide it is not in your interest to settle your case, possibly because you are unable to reach an agreement with an insurer, your lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf in civil court. Throughout this process, your lawyer will represent you and protect your rights throughout the litigation, up to a final trial.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that, in just one year, over 27,000 people were arrested for the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence, and nearly 6,000 drunk drivers caused a crash. In one year, nearly 34 percent of all Wisconsin traffic-related fatalities involved a drunk driver, many of whom were under the age of 18.
Underage drinking is a rampant problem throughout Wisconsin, where minors may consume alcohol at any age so long as a parent, guardian, or spouse who is 21 or older supervises them. In one survey, nearly 20 percent of individuals between the ages of 12 to 20 reported having consumed alcohol in the last month and 15 percent reported binge-drinking in the past 30 days.
Drivers under the influence are erratic, unpredictable and are likely to create dangerous circumstances in any number of ways that may lead to accidents, regardless of the vigilance of other drivers. This is because drunk drivers are physically and mentally impaired in ways that make it impossible to operate their vehicles safely and to make sound judgments.
Many people consider the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit, .08, as the stage where a driver starts exhibiting the symptoms of drunk driving. While any excess of blood alcohol concentration beyond the legal limit is a criminal violation and significantly increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident, any alcohol in a driver’s system can cause a decrease in their ability to drive safely. Furthermore, each individual reacts to alcohol differently and may be more intensely affected by any amount of alcohol.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) delineates the effects of alcohol on a person and the bodily functions and motor skills that are affected as blood alcohol levels rise. NHTSA reports that, in one year, almost 1,800 people in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver with BACs below the legal limit. While they may not be criminally prosecuted for drunk driving, such individuals can still be held liable for the injuries and damages suffered to victims in a civil court.
Drivers under the influence of alcohol experience effects such as:
A La Crosse drunk driving accident can result in serious and fatal injuries to the occupants of all the vehicles involved. The accident can take away a loved one from their family, or inflict injuries on an individual that cause chronic, life-long pain. The actions of a drunk driver can completely transform an individual’s overall health and wellbeing as well as their quality of life and ability to maintain themselves and their family.
But the injuries of a drunk driving victim can vary greatly from one individual to another. Some accidents leave people with permanent disabilities. They require caretakers to complete even the most basic life necessities.
Immediately after being struck by a drunk driver, you may have visible and painful injuries. But not all accident victims are immediately aware of the injuries they have suffered in the moments after an accident. For some, the development of their injuries can manifest gradually. This does not mean these injuries are any less serious. In fact, some severe and life-threatening injuries may not be apparent after an accident, such as brain injuries or internal bleeding and damage to organs. Seek medical care after any auto accident, whether or not you feel well or injured. Prompt medical attention can identify any severe injuries and help increase the likelihood of a successful recovery.
Common injuries that arise from a drunk driving accident include:
The public and personal tragedy that is drunk driving takes a heavy annual toll in and around La Crosse. It results in devastating crashes on major thoroughfares like I-90 and Lang Drive/Route 35, as well as on the in-town streets of neighborhoods like Goosetown and Washburn.
Victims of La Crosse drunk drivers have questions about their legal rights. This blog post aims to answer some of their most common ones. For information specific to a drunk driving accident that harmed you or a loved one in La Crosse, contact a knowledgeable attorney today.
Generally speaking, under Wisconsin law, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and any related financial losses from the party at fault for your crash.
By taking legal action with the help of an experienced La Crosse drunk driving accident injury lawyer, you may obtain payment for your:
In some cases, an experienced attorney may also convince a court to award you punitive damages to punish the behavior that caused the crash that injured you.
As the victim of a La Crosse drunk driver, you generally have the right to seek payment from anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions led to the actions that injured you. Commonly, the parties at fault for an accident carry liability insurance to help pay for the harm you suffered.
In a typical La Crosse drunk driving accident, the drunk driver deserves much (if not all) of the blame for the crash, and so it is the driver (and the driver’s insurance) that would normally pay for a victim’s injuries and losses.
Other parties, however, may share that liability with the drunk driver.
They may include, for example:
A skilled drunk driving accident lawyer in La Crosse can investigate the circumstances of the drunk driving crash that injured you or a loved one, to identify all parties who may owe you compensation.
It depends on the specifics of your drunk driving accident, especially the nature of your injuries and their impact on your life, and the financial resources of the at-fault party. In general, the greater the harm you suffered and/or the higher the limits of the insurance covering the at-fault party, the more money you can hope to recover.
An experienced lawyer can evaluate your injuries and losses, to determine how much money you should receive by taking legal action against the at-fault party (or parties).
Under Wisconsin law, drivers over 21 years old cannot operate a motor vehicle:
For drivers who have three or more previous convictions for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a BAC higher than 0.02.
For drivers who are under the age of 21, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system.
Penalties for drunk driving offenses, or OWI, vary in Wisconsin based on the degree of the offense and whether the offender has any prior convictions. For first-time OWI offenders, fines can range from $150 to $300, with a possible license revocation period of six to nine months.
For second-time offenders with no prior conviction of OWI within 10 years or serious offenses, these same penalties apply, but offenders will also be required to participate in an ignition interlock device (IID) program or a 24/7 sobriety program for one year.
For second-time offenders with a prior OWI conviction within the past 10 years, along with other subsequent offenses, the consequences for a subsequent OWI may include imprisonment, higher fines, and other penalties.
In most cases, yes. The fact that a drunk driver was convicted of an OWI offense does not typically affect your rights to seek compensation for the injuries the driver caused. Nor should the fact that the driver is incarcerated necessarily limit your ability to obtain that compensation—as we noted above, the driver’s liability insurance will likely pay at least some of your damages.
If anything, the fact that a drunk driver faced criminal penalties for the accident that injured you may make it easier for your lawyer to prove the driver’s liability to you. Speak with a skilled La Crosse drunk driving accident injury attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today to learn more.
Seek medical care right away, even if you think you avoided serious injury. Some severe forms of accident trauma do not necessarily show symptoms right away, but may worsen if a trained medical professional doesn't immediately treat them.
Then, contact an experienced La Crosse drunk driving accident injury attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. The sooner you have our knowledgeable attorneys working for you, the better your chances of obtaining the money you need to pay for your care and recover from your injuries.
A La Crosse drunk driving accident victim may recover “damages,” a legal term for compensation. The damages you recover after a DUI accident depend on how much evidence you have to prove the drunk driver’s fault for the accident, the limits of their insurance policy, and the severity of the injuries and losses you suffered. How much compensation you are eligible to recover requires a detailed consideration of the expenses and impacts of your injuries and a calculation of the total damages you have suffered.
Our experienced La Crosse drunk driving attorneys can review the evidence and circumstances of your case to calculate your damages. While this calculation may not be the amount you ultimately recover for your losses, it can provide you a starting point for negotiations with an insurer and a better understanding of the number of losses you have sustained due to the accident.
The damages in a drunk driving accident can include:
If a La Crosse drunk driver injured you or a loved one, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at (651) 358-2741 for an evaluation of your case and to discuss your options for recovering compensation.
La Crosse Office
205 5th Avenue S, Suite 209,
La Crosse, WI 54601