Drunk driving accidents can occur anywhere—from the I-94 corridor, with its traffic and big trucks, to the rural roads around New Richmond. Many people travel the rural roads for many reasons. It’s often a prettier drive, albeit slower, and people think it’s safer than the highway. However, you may find drunk drivers on rural roads since they are mostly residential areas, and people are driving home from a bar or a party.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident in or near New Richmond, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers’ New Richmond office for a free case evaluation.
Driving Under the Influence in Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s state laws define driving under the influence as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. However, if a drunk driver is under 21, he or she cannot have any alcohol in their system when driving.
When your blood alcohol level is over 0.08, you cannot operate machinery, including vehicles, correctly and safely. You put others’ lives at risk when you drive under the influence. It is a criminal offense to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, even if the police arrest the drunk driver and the court convicts them, you will not recover damages—you must file a civil action, and for that, you should contact a New Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer.
Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
The injuries you could sustain in a drunk driving wreck range from minor scratches and bruises to catastrophic injuries or even death, depending on the speed of the vehicles and the way the drunk driver’s vehicle hits your vehicle.
Even if you suffered minor injuries, you should contact a New Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer to help you recover compensation for damages you sustained. Insurance companies do not like to pay out for claims—even minor claims—and will try every trick in the book to deny a claim or pay you less than you deserve.
- Scratches, bruises, bumps, scrapes, and cuts.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones and crush injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Internal injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Chemical and thermal burns.
- Road rash.
You could also sustain secondary injuries, such as infections of open wounds. Accident injuries could exacerbate existing illnesses and injuries. The at-fault driver is also responsible for these types of injuries, as you would not have suffered them if not for his actions.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
In some cases, your injuries will prevent you from taking any action after a drunk driving accident. However, if you are able to move around without causing additional injury to yourself, you can take some steps at the accident scene to kick off the investigation into your case.
Once you hire a New Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer, your legal team conducts an investigation into the accident to gather evidence of the at-fault driver’s negligence. The information you gather at the scene gives the investigators a head start and could preserve evidence that might disappear before you can retain a DUI accident attorney.
If you are unsure as to whether you should move, wait for an emergency medical technician to check you before you move.
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene, including pictures of any damage to the road, such as skid marks and damage to nearby property.
- Obtain the driver’s contact, insurance, registration, and license plate information. If possible, take photos of the license plate and documents. If the driver is a commercial driver, obtain the information from her regular and CDL licenses.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses, including those who are passengers in the vehicle that hit you. You can also ask any witnesses what they saw.
- Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over.
- Give the police officer your statement. Review the statement before signing it to ensure the officer wrote it correctly.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries do not manifest for hours or even days after a drunk driving accident.
- Contact a New Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible.
It is also a good idea to write down what happened as you remember it. You may forget pertinent facts later.
Finally, obtain a copy of the police report and gather any medical records related to the drunk driving accident.
Why You Should Retain a DUI Lawyer, New Richmond
Wisconsin is a fault state, which means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company or the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for your damages. Even when you have minor injuries, the last thing you want to do is argue with an insurance company and worry about recovering enough compensation to pay for all of your injuries and losses.
An experienced New Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer knows the tricks insurance companies play and will work to recover the compensation you deserve—even if it means going to court instead of settling for a pittance.
Recovering Damages After a New Richmond DUI Accident
One of the most common questions we hear after an accident is how much a person’s case is worth. No attorney can answer that question without investigating and reviewing the case because of the number of variables that affect the outcome, including the extent of your injuries and the number of defendants involved.
Wisconsin allows accident victims to recover two types of damages. Compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages are an attempt to make you financially whole again. Punitive damages are a punishment for a defendant’s “intentional disregard for the safety or rights of others.”
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value. Most accident victims recover some form of economic damages, including:
After an accident, you can recover compensation for any medical expenses you have that are related to the wreck.
You can also recover compensation for future medical expenses, including but not limited to:
- Doctor’s appointments.
- Surgeries and follow-up appointments.
- Ambulatory aids.
- Prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications.
- Cognitive therapy.
- Occupational therapy.
- Physical therapy.
- Psychological therapy.
- Hand controls for your vehicle.
- Updates to your home, including wheelchair ramps, handrails, grab bars, and widened doorways.
In most cases, those injured in a drunk driving accident are out of work while they recuperate. Those that sustained catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries could also recover loss of future earning capacity. If you are able to work part-time or your injuries force you to take a lower-paying job, you could still collect partial loss of earning capacity.
Additionally, if you lost a spouse in a drunk driving accident, you could recover the loss of future earning capacity based on what your spouse would have earned from the wreck until the time of retirement.
After a car accident, you could also recover compensation to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, including your vehicle and anything of value in the vehicle, such as cell phones, computers, or even clothing you picked up at the dry cleaners.
If you lost a loved one because of a drunk driver, you could recover funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, probate attorney’s fees and costs, or certain probate expenses.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. In most cases, only those who suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one in an accident recover non-economic damages.
Catastrophic injuries are those that cause long-term or permanent disabilities. While every insurance company has its own definition of long-term disabilities, the Social Security Administration defines long-term disabilities as those that last at least 12 months or those that doctors expect to result in death.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make life-long changes such as using ambulatory aids or taking prescriptions.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy spending time or attending events with your family.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do chores you usually do, such as house cleaning, lawn maintenance, grocery shopping, and home repair and maintenance.
- Loss of use of a body part or bodily function.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Excessive scarring or disfigurement.
Wisconsin allows accident victims to recover punitive damages as long as they can prove the at-fault driver had an “intentional disregard for the safety or rights of others.” The court only orders punitive damages as a punishment for the at-fault driver’s behavior—not to reimburse your losses.
New Richmond Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
Many of our clients have similar questions about drunk driving accidents. We’ll try to answer some here. However, if you still have questions or need clarification on answers to any of these or other questions, call Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
How Soon Should I Call a New Richmond Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer?
You should always contact a car accident lawyer as soon after the accident as possible since you are more likely to remember what happened. If you wait too long, you could forget pertinent facts that might make or break your case.
Additionally, Wisconsin generally only allows three years under the statute of limitations to take legal action after a car accident. If you lost a loved one, the statute of limitations is only two years.
How Do I Pay Medical Bills While I’m Waiting for My Settlement or Trial Award?
You can use your health insurance and vehicle insurance to cover most medical expenses. Once you receive a settlement or trial award, we will reimburse your insurance companies for you. In some cases, we can write a letter requesting the medical facility to hold off on collecting until you receive a settlement.
How Do I Pay a New Richmond Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer When I’m Not Working?
Your initial case evaluation is always free. Additionally, if you retain us, you don’t pay our fees unless we win your case. Once you decide to retain us, we’ll review our contingency agreement with you. You don’t need money to hire us to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Do I Have to Go to Court to Recover Damages?
Not usually. Most insurance companies prefer to settle out of court because of the high cost of litigation. However, if an insurance company refuses to pay a fair and reasonable settlement, we recommend going to court. Additionally, if you claim punitive damages, you might have to go to court. While it takes longer for a court case if you ask for punitive damages, in some cases, it is worth it, even though Wisconsin has a cap on the amount of punitive damages recoverable.
Contact a New Richmond Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a drunk driving accident, you might deserve compensation for your injuries and losses. A New Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you recover the compensation for your losses. Even if you are still in the hospital, you or a loved one can call us to discuss your situation and get your case started. We can visit you in the hospital or at home or set up a phone or video call.