Columbus Drunk Driving Lawyer
Injury cases or wrongful death cases caused by a drunk driver are the most upsetting and anger-provoking cases we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Throughout the world, drunk drivers are causing serious injuries or fatal injuries to innocent victims and the victims are left to deal with never-ending medical bills, emotional distress, grief and the sudden financial problems that surface due to the unfair accident.
2005 – 16,885 people in the United States died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. (CDC)
2005 – Almost 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a narcotic. (CDC)
2005 – 48 children age 14 years and younger who were killed as pedestrians or pedal-cyclists due to being hit by impaired drivers. (NHTSA 2006)
Over half of the 414 child passengers, aged 14 and younger, that were killed in 2005 were riding with a drinking driver. (NHTSA 2006)
NHTSA reported in 2006 that alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and cause injuries every two minutes.
At GBM Law, we aggressively pursue claims against irresponsible drunk drivers and the establishments that improperly serve them. Although the law can never replace a loved one, it does provide the finances victims need to recover medically, financially and emotionally. If a drunk driver is uninsured and/or indigent, there may be a way to pursue recovery against the person who provided the alcoholic beverages to the drunk driver.
Do I have a case?
People who serve alcoholic beverages may be liable under Ohio law for damages resulting from the consumption of alcoholic beverages. (O.R.C. Ann. 4301.22, 4301.69).
Liability may be imposed either under specific laws (dram shop acts), or under the general law of negligence. Dram shop acts (dram was once a common term for liquor) are laws that impose liability for negligence on the sellers of alcoholic beverages for sales to persons under the legal drinking age or to those who are obviously intoxicated. (O.R.C. Ann. 4301.22, 4301.69).
Liability can attach to social hosts as well. A social host is an individual who serves alcoholic beverages in a social setting, such as a home or a party, or in the case of an employer, one who serves alcoholic beverages at a company function. The social host is not required to make sure that no one is consuming more alcohol than they can handle, unless the host can reasonably be aware of a problem and prevent it. In the State of Ohio, however, the social host can be held liable. Huston v. Konieczny, 52 Ohio St. 3d 214, 556 N.E. 2d 505 (1990).
What can I do?
You simply never know when a drunk driver may cross your path and cause a serious collision. As in all motor-vehicle accident cases, it is essential that measures be taken to promptly preserve evidence to help investigators determine negligence and responsibility. The best way to achieve this goal is to have photographs taken of all visible injuries and damage to vehicles at the scene of the accident. If you have sustained injuries, physicians and other experts can utilize this information to thoroughly evaluate your medical condition and these visual documents can help investigators determine the cause of the collision.
Have you, or a loved one been the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver?
If so, please contact GBM Law at (614) 222-4444 or fill out a case evaluation form.. We will use our experience to investigate every possible contributing cause of the accident, to determine responsibility and negligence, and ensure that you receive not only medical attention for your injuries, but full compensation for your suffering. Leave it to us to make arrangements with your medical care providers to defer payment until your case has been resolved, through either settlement or trial, so that you can concentrate on healing.
Our initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds on your behalf. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Is my claim somehow different because I was hit by a Drunk Driver?
Yes, your claim is more complex when you were hit by a drunk driver. When a driver chooses to drive under the influence, the penalties are greater. The drunk driver will likely have criminal charges filed against them and you may be called by the prosecutor to testify about what happened and your observations. The civil liability to the drunk driver is also greater. As the victim, the drunk driver may be liable to you for punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages available with general negligence claims.
Will the insurance company for the Drunk Driver handle the claim differently?
Although insurance companies usually want to settle claims quickly, before victims have a chance to know what to do, the pressure to settle is MUCH GREATER when the other driver was drunk. Insurance companies know that you have additional claims you can bring against a drunk driver, so they want to eliminate all of that risk quickly by pressuring you to settle FAST.
Can others be held liable for overserving a drunk driver?
Ohio law permits recovery against an entity which sold alcohol to an intoxicated person OR person under the age of 21, where the alcohol contributed to the person’s intoxication and that intoxication cause the injuries. These claims can be challenging to prove and must be acted upon quickly. It is important to have contact with the bar soon after the incident to preserve evidence such as potential witnesses, video footage and purchase receipts.
What if the drunk driver did not have insurance? Do I still have a claim?
Yes, it is still possible to have a claim even when the drunk driver did not have insurance. If the drunk driver was operating a car that he or she did not own, the owner of that vehicle may be liable for negligent entrustment of their vehicle to the drunk driver. Additionally, your own insurance company may have sold you insurance coverage to protect yourself when you were hurt by an uninsured driver.
Is it normal to feel anger after being hit by a drunk driver?
Yes! Most victims of drunk driving accidents experience significant anger and frustration after drunk driving crashes because it feels very intentional when someone chose to act dangerously and in disregard for those they were likely to harm. Simply put, humans tend to be more forgiving after honest mistakes. Hiring a lawyer can help victims of drunk driving crashes access resources that not only help manage these additional frustrations but also increase the overall value of their claim.