Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Collisions involving drunk drivers are preventable and can leave anyone involved in serious peril. Drunk driving accidents involve a person’s decision to drive while inebriated, a negligent decision that puts everyone’s safety and lives at risk. Additionally, liability in these types of accidents can potentially extend to a bar, nightclub, restaurant, convenience shop, or other establishment overserving alcohol to someone already intoxicated.
A person is killed in a drunk-driving accident every 52 minutes, and many more suffer devastating injuries. Our objective is to assist you and establish a more stable financial future by collecting a fair compensation that you and your family deserve from all liable parties. If you or a loved one were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, the Des Moines drunk driving accident lawyers at the law offices of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling are here to help you through these trying times.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Drunk Driving Accident?
A personal injury lawyer specializing in drunk driving accidents can advise you on how to proceed legally following the crash.
To maximize the odds of successful litigation, they will use their understanding of the statute of limitations and the wide range of drunk driving laws within the state of Iowa.
This could be a difficult situation with unforeseen issues, and your injuries may put you at risk. An attorney who has already handled claims similar to yours is familiar with the process and knows what it takes to win drunk driving accident cases.
Additionally, your attorney will guarantee that your claim is properly filed and that you receive the financial compensation to which you are entitled. A personal injury law firm will know the laws applicable to your case.
Criminal DUI Case
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and faces criminal charges. A driver operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol percentage of.08 percent or above is considered “under the influence” in Iowa. The prosecutor must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person was driving while intoxicated (OWI).
Being arrested and charged with drunk driving in Iowa is a serious matter, and knowing what to do next and when to do it is crucial for top OWI defense attorneys to get charges dropped or dismissed. If you do not take immediate action to determine your legal options, you will face serious financial, criminal, and driving repercussions.
The same evidence required to convict under the 2022 Iowa legal code can be used to defeat an OWI accusation by highlighting arrest defects or legal issues with any key evidence. required to convict. Inaccurate BAC breath or blood tests, police errors, medical reasons, and dozens of other OWI defenses can all be utilized to challenge an OWI and have the case dismissed promptly in court.
Not only can someone face criminal charges for driving drunk, especially when they cause an accident, but they will likely face civil charges if they cause any damage or injury.
Civil Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuits
A victim (or a personal representative of the victim) who has been harmed by the defendant in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver can bring a civil case against him. Because a civil action does not carry criminal penalties, a person who is found accountable for damages in civil court does not necessarily face criminal charges. Instead, a person held guilty in civil court must compensate the victim for their losses, which can include both economic and non-economic damages.
The Filing of a civil complaint differs from the prosecution of a criminal case. The plaintiff is attempting to establish the defendant’s negligence and liability for damages rather than proving guilt. Negligence is defined as failing to act in a way that a reasonable person would. It is irresponsible to drive when under the influence of alcohol – the plaintiff must show that the driver was inebriated at the time of the accident and that this caused the accident and, therefore, the injuries.
Liability and Dram Shop Laws
The main defendant in drunk driving lawsuits is the drunk driver. The criminal case against the drunk driver is usually brought first, followed by any civil suits. The driver may not be the sole person liable for the accident. However, the driver will always be included as one of the liable parties, in addition to other people or entities.
The Iowa Dram Shop Act allows someone who has been hurt by an intoxicated individual to sue the bar, restaurant, or other licensed establishment that gave the intoxicated person the alcohol.
The injured party can seek monetary damages from the business and the intoxicated driver. The most typical Iowa Dram Shop claim involves a person being offered too much alcohol at a bar, leaving the bar while inebriated, and then being involved in an automobile accident in which another person is injured.
The Dram Shop Act makes a bar owner, liquor licensee, or permittee liable if they conduct any of the following:
- When a licensee or permittee knew or should have known that a person was inebriated, and they sell and serve alcohol to that individual; OR
- The licensee or permittee sold and served the individual to the point where the licensee or permittee knew or should have known that the person would become inebriated; AND
- The intoxicated patron injured the aggrieved party’s person, property, or means of support as a result of the patron’s drunkenness.
The Dram Shop Act limits liability to licensees and permittees. This means that the people you can sue are limited. A license to serve alcohol is required for any bar or other drinking facility, including restaurants. The Dram Shop Act’s “sell and serve” phrase requires that alcoholic beverages be sold and consumed on the seller’s premises before Dram Shop liability can be imposed.
Possible Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident
Many persons who have been harmed by someone in a drunk driving accident are unaware of the extent of the damages they may be entitled to after an accident. The following is a quick rundown of the types of damages that an injured person may be awarded through a settlement or court order.
Personal injury damages are the first and most important type of damages. Awards for medical bills, other medical expenses, lost pay, pain and suffering, loss of body function, and all other damages are designed to compensate the injured party in a personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, a plaintiff can seek property damages for any repairs to their vehicles. Most insurance companies may cover a portion of the injuries, as well as property damages. However, claim adjusters can be difficult to negotiate with, and you may not receive the full compensation you are owed.
Second, if the party’s injuries result in death, Wrongful Death Damages may be awarded. Under the Dram Shop Act, the administrator or executor of an estate of a person killed by an intoxicated person can sue the bar or restaurant for wrongful death damages. A spouse’s, parent’s, or child’s consortium claims are recoverable. These are damages designed to compensate persons who are related to the injured party for the loss of “intangible” advantages derived from their relationship with the victim.
Another possible avenue for damages is that more than one bar or restaurant may be responsible for the victim’s injuries or wrongful death claim, which is why the Iowa Dram Shop Act allows
for Joint and Several Liability . If a bar or restaurant is determined to be liable under the Dram Shop Act, that licensee may be held jointly and severally accountable for damages caused by other liable licensees or permittees.
Driving Under the influence Statistics in Iowa
Driving with a BAC of.08 or above is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Even a modest amount of alcohol, even one drink, can impair driving abilities. In the most recent statistics, 1,775 persons were killed in alcohol-related collisions involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 to.07 g/dL. A breathalyzer, a device that measures the quantity of alcohol in a driver’s breath, or a blood test is used to determine the driver’s BAC.
In the latest reporting year in Iowa, 27% of all fatal accidents involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
According to NHTSA, roughly 900 people lose their lives across the United States in car crashes involving a drunk driver each month.
Despite the fact it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in recent reporting years, one person was killed every 52 minutes by a drunk driver.
In the most recently reported year, there were 85 fatalities due to drunk drivers. Additionally, in that same year, there were a total of 10,142 fatalities resulting from a drunk driving accident.
Contact Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling, PLLC After an Accident
After a car accident involving a drunk driver, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The statute of limitation laws in Iowa are strict and offer little to no flexibility.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries or fatal wounds, contact the Iowa drunk driving accident attorneys at the law firm of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling today to discuss. We can provide sound legal advice through a free consultation or free initial case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. You can reach us online or by phone at (515) 444-4000 . Our offices are located in Des Moines, Iowa.