Car accidents are a daily occurrence in Nashville. A majority of these accidents are simple fender benders that result in minor property damage and maybe slight injuries. But if you are hit by a drunk driver, there is a much higher chance that the wreck will result in serious injuries. Drunk drivers are more likely to react too slowly to dangers on the road, such as cars stopped at a red light. An estimated 111 million people self-reported driving impaired across the country in 2016. Of these, only around 1 million were arrested for driving under the influence. In addition, about 10,500 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes that year, accounting for almost a third of all traffic deaths. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, such as medical bills and property damage. At Stenger, Greene & Feiner, we can help you take on the insurance companies who will do everything they can do deny payment to you. Give us a call at (615) 590-3106 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Nashville car accident lawyer today.
Why Is a Drunk Driving Accident Different Than a Regular Car Accident?
In 2017, there were 6,787 crashes involving drunk drivers throughout Tennessee. These wrecks resulted in 190 deaths and numerous injuries. In addition, there were 723 alcohol-related crashes in Davidson County that year, resulting in 16 fatalities. In total, Davidson County ranked 27th in total drunk driving accidents throughout the state and ranked 52nd in DUI fatalities. In some car accident cases, determining who is at fault can be pretty difficult. In drunk driving wrecks, though, fault almost always lies on the impaired driver. You may share part of the blame, such as if you’re rear-ended by a drunk driver and one of your tail lights is out. But in Tennessee, you can still recover compensation even if you’re partially at fault for the wreck (unless your 50% or more at fault). Insurance companies are often much more willing to offer a settlement quickly rather than go to court if they insure the drunk driver. That’s because they know if the case goes to court, they will likely be liable for paying out a lot more compensation than what they offered in their settlement. If you accept their settlement offer, you forfeit your right to seek greater compensation later on. That’s why it’s vital to always seek the assistance of a Nashville car accident lawyer after a drunk driving wreck. While there are some car accident cases in which you won’t need a lawyer, such as if there was only minor damage and no injuries, you will virtually always need a lawyer for a drunk driving collision.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driving Wreck in Nashville?
In most cases of drunk driving accidents, the intoxicated driver is the one who will be held at fault. That means their insurance company will be responsible for paying compensation to you. However, in some instances, there are other parties that might be held responsible as well. Most notably, if the intoxicated person who caused the wreck was over-served at a bar beforehand, that bartender or owner may also be held responsible. Specifically, Tennessee Code § 57-10-101 states that the person who sold alcoholic beverages to the person who caused the wreck can be held responsible if they:
- Sold the beverage to a person under the age of 21, and the consumption of that beverage directly caused the injury or death of another person; or
- Sold the beverage to a visibly intoxicated person, and the consumption of that beverage directly caused the injury or death of another person.
In cases in which the intoxicated driver is of legal drinking age, dram shop laws can be difficult to enforce. After all, if a patron doesn’t appear drunk, then a bartender may not have any reason to stop serving them. Your Nashville car accident lawyer may review security footage and speak to any potential witnesses to determine if the at-fault driver was visibly drunk. Unlike other states, Tennessee doesn’t have any kind of social host liability laws. The dram shop statute makes it very clear that the alcoholic beverage must be sold in order for the law to apply. Social hosts who over-serve their visitors or serve underage drivers generally can’t be held liable for drunk driving car wrecks their visitors may cause.
Get the Help You Deserve from a Nashville Car Accident Lawyer
As we mentioned before, if you are hit by a drunk driver in Nashville, chances are their insurance company will do everything they can to pay out as little as they can to you. Don’t take their first offer! At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we know what it takes to get the full compensation you truly deserve. During your free case evaluation, we’ll review the full details of your case. During this review, we’ll determine what types of compensation you may be entitled to. This may include:
- Past and future medical and rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical disfigurement
- Temporary or permanent disability
- And more
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, be sure to learn about all of your legal options. Don’t worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer; you don’t owe us a dime until we win your case. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we have recovered OVER $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients. Give us a call at (615) 590-3106 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Nashville car accident lawyer today.