River Falls Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
In River Falls, Wisconsin, over 16,000 citizens make their home among the beauty of Wisconsin nature. In this beautiful little town not far from the Twin Cities, businesses thrive while citizens and visitors cherish the small-town vibes and explore the rivers and hiking trails in the surrounding area.
With its proximity to St. Paul and Minneapolis, River Falls is a perfect getaway spot for many. However, with so much traffic nearby, it’s not exempt from dangers. The traffic in and around River Falls is busy, and drunk drivers are not unheard of among the quiet streets.
According to recent data from the CDC, at least 2,577 people were killed in Wisconsin due to drunk driving in recent years. Drunk driving accidents are terrible, but they are not uncommon. That’s why our River Falls drunk driving accident lawyers at Nicolet Accident & Injury Law have devoted themselves to helping victims of these terrible accidents as much as possible.
We know that no drunk driving accident is easy to recover from. The pain and suffering that result from any crash are extremely stressful and life-changing. We want to help victims of drunk drivers get back on their feet and get the compensation they need to help them out of their difficulties.
If you have questions about a River Falls drunk driving accident case, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today.
River Falls Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than 0.08 percent is considered drunk driving and is punishable by law.
For the first offense of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), drivers could pay a fine of $150 to $300 and lose their license for six to nine months. For repeat offenses, fines go up thousands of dollars, licenses are revoked for years, and drivers could face jail time.
These laws are not so different from laws in many states, but, unfortunately, they can’t stop drunk driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 28 people die in drunk driving accidents every single day. At least 10,142 people died from drunk driving accidents in recent years.
Drunk driving accidents happen regularly, and if you were in a drunk driving accident near River Falls, you are not alone. With our help, you can figure out what to do next and start on the road to recovery.
What To Do After a River Falls Drunk Driving Accident
In the terrifying moments after a drunk driving accident, you may have no idea what to do. It can be challenging to stay calm and take the right steps.
As long as you aren’t severely injured and can’t move, after a drunk driving accident you should:
- Stay calm and try to get as far off the road as possible.
- Call an ambulance to help those who are injured. The most important step in any accident is to make sure everyone involved gets proper medical attention.
- Call the police so they can file an official report with the transportation department.
- Take photos of the accident scene, any injuries, and damaged vehicles.
- Gather statements and contact information from witnesses to the accident.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Call your insurance company, being careful not to say anything that could lead to you being blamed for the accident.
- Get the medical treatment you need from your physician.
- Call a personal injury lawyer who can help you pursue a compensation claim.
How To File a Personal Injury Claim After a River Falls Drunk Driving Accident
If you’ve been in a drunk driving accident, the chances are pretty high that you’ve suffered some sort of injury. You don’t want to have to pay for medical bills associated with that injury when the accident wasn’t your fault. Instead, you should pursue compensation from the drunk driver who injured you.
Following a River Falls drunk driving accident, you can seek compensation for any injuries and expenses resulting from the accident.
- Pain and suffering.
- Medical expenses, including emergency room bills, costs for medication, surgery, therapy, and ongoing treatment, etc.
- Loss of income from taking time off work to recover after the accident.
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries make it impossible to return to your old job.
- Loss of life enjoyment if your injuries make it impossible or more difficult to do the things you love.
- Loss of consortium if you lost a relationship because of the accident.
- Damage to personal property.
- Emotional distress resulting from the trauma of the accident.
With help from a River Falls drunk driving accident lawyer, you should gather medical bills and records, repair bills, photos, and other evidence that can prove all that you lost.
Armed with evidence, you can make an actionable claim against the drunk driver.
In Wisconsin, each driver must carry a certain amount of insurance:
- $25,000 per injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
- Uninsured motorist coverage including $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
The insurance company of a drunk driver found to be at fault for your accident must pay for the damages you suffered. If no favorable settlement can be reached with the company, the case may have to be tried before a court.
River Falls Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
Drunk driving is illegal, reckless, and potentially deadly, but many people choose to do it anyway. There are more than 10,000 drunk driving fatalities in the United States every year, and even more cases of drunk driving victims who suffer very serious injuries. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident in River Falls, you probably have many questions about what to do next, how to hold that person accountable, and, most importantly, how to get assistance with your medical bills, property damage, and other costs associated with the accident.
Drunk driving accident cases can be very complex and it’s best to consult with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney about your unique situation. However, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about drunk driving accidents in River Falls below, to give you a general idea of the best options for someone in this difficult situation.
As the victim of a drunk driving accident, how do I recover compensation?
The most common form of restitution for victims is a payout from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Drivers in Wisconsin must carry liability insurance coverage of at least $10,000 for property damage, $25,000 for injuring one person, and $50,000 for injuring more than one person. However, all insurance policies have a specific limit, and sometimes the payment isn’t high enough to cover the victim’s expenses.
Drunk drivers sometimes face criminal penalties after causing an accident, but their victims can also sue them in civil court. If a drunk driver seriously injured you, filing a civil suit may be the right option for getting more restitution than would be available through just an insurance claim. The personal injury claims process is completely separate from any criminal proceedings and you’ll need an experienced lawyer to represent your interests.
What kind of compensation can victims of a drunk driver receive?
Depending on the extent of a victim’s injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for any economic damages related to the accident, including past and future medical expenses, as well as lost wages from the time when they weren’t able to work while recovering from the accident. In the case of severe, life-changing injuries that leave a victim with a permanently diminished earning capacity, damages might also include projected lost income due to permanent disability.
The state of Wisconsin also allows victims to seek non-economic damages that may not have a specific price tag but are still a significant consequence of the drunk driver’s reckless behavior. These losses might include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment.
Besides the drunk driver who caused my car accident, who else could I potentially hold responsible? Can I sue a bar or restaurant for serving too much alcohol to that driver?
You may have heard of the so-called “dram shop” laws that exist across most of the country, which make it possible for alcohol vendors to be taken to civil court for damage caused by drunk customers after they leave the premises. The idea behind these laws is that the liability for alcohol-related accidents doesn’t necessarily end with the intoxicated driver. This is why several of our neighboring states, including Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan, have made it illegal for bars or restaurants to continue serving patrons after they’re visibly intoxicated.
However, the dram shop laws in Wisconsin don’t follow this national trend. Statute 125.035 states that alcohol vendors are explicitly “immune from civil liability” for providing alcohol to customers.
The exception is if the establishment served alcohol to someone under the age of 21, which is just as illegal in Wisconsin as it is in every other state. However, even in that scenario, Wisconsin law doesn’t punish the vendor for serving underage patrons if they had a convincing fake I.D. or even if their physical appearance makes them look over 21.
In short, pursuing damages from a bar or restaurant often isn’t the right approach for victims of a drunk driving accident in River Falls, but if we take your case, we will explore all of your options for recovery.
I was a passenger riding with a drunk driver and I was injured in the accident. Can I get compensation?
Getting behind the wheel comes with a duty of care to avoid harming anyone, including pedestrians, other drivers, and the driver’s own passengers. This is why injured passengers generally have the legal right to pursue compensation from a negligent driver. However, passengers who were involved in a drunk driving accident face some hurdles that can make it harder to get compensation.
The main issue is whether the passenger knew that their driver was too intoxicated to drive safely, and yet still chose to get in the car with them. In this scenario, many insurance companies argue that the passenger could have found another means of transportation and should therefore be held partially responsible for their own injuries.
While this is a complication, the injured passengers of a drunk driver can still potentially get compensation. Wisconsin is a modified comparative negligence state, which means someone can be found partially responsible for an accident but still recover some damages.
How much time do I have to file a drunk driving accident claim?
Wisconsin’s statute of limitations for any personal injury claim, including drunk driving accidents, is three years from the date of the incident. The claim doesn’t necessarily have to be resolved within that period, but you do need to have all the paperwork and documentation filed with the court before the clock runs out.
While this deadline is technically only relevant for drunk driving victims who want to file a personal injury lawsuit, it’s extremely important to pay attention to the statute of limitations even if you’re only planning to file a claim with the driver’s insurer. After all, the main leverage victims and their lawyers have when they sit down at the negotiation table with an insurance company is the threat of filing a personal lawsuit if the settlement is not large enough. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the insurer knows that you’ve lost that option, so they will likely offer a lot less money, or even nothing at all.
This is why drunk driving victims must consult an experienced lawyer and get the ball rolling on their claim as soon as possible.
Finding a River Falls Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you’re recovering from a drunk driving accident in River Falls, don’t hesitate to reach out to the caring and compassionate River Falls team at Nicolet Accident & Injury Lawyers. We love helping our neighbors get the justice they deserve, and the compensation they need to pay for their expenses. We will do everything we can to make your case easier by taking on the burden of dealing with insurance companies, at-fault drivers, and their lawyers.
River Falls Office
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022