Collisions caused by drunk drivers are particularly egregious acts of societal violence. Every member of Asheville society is aware that intoxicated driving is incredibly dangerous both to the drunk driver and to the other motorists on the road. This reckless disregard to the safety of other people forced into sharing the road with an inebriated is senseless, and when these drivers cause injury to other drivers, additional damages called punitive damages are available to push these bad actors. Our office has drunk driving accident attorneys that handle these cases on a routine basis, and we are experienced in pursuing both damages to compensate you for your injuries, and damages to punish the drunk drivers, to the full extent of the law.
Drunk driving accidents are not the same as wrecks caused by simple negligence. Negligence is inattention, while intoxicated driving is reckless. However, to get these additional punitive damages your personal injury lawyer must first prove that the other driver was in-fact intoxicated at the time of the collision, and that this intoxication is what caused the collision in which you or your family member was hurt.
Tragically, sometimes these drunk driving collisions cause the death of innocent people, and we are experienced at handling these wrongful death claims when the unimaginable happens. Our attorneys are available to guide you through this impossible process, and we can help take the legal weight off your shoulders while you take care of what’s important—your family.
We are Willing to Take Drunk Driving Accidents in Asheville to a Jury to Maximize Your Recovery
Many lawyers claim to be “trial lawyers,” but in reality will push to get a case settled when the trial date arrives, even if the insurance company is not offering enough money to fairly compensate you for the harm that you or your family member has suffered. This is why we file our drunk driving collision cases early and often, and keep the pressure on the driver and their insurance company to recognize the severity of an intoxicated collision—and to force that insurance company to pay a fair amount of punitive damages in recognition of the harm.
This isn’t to say that every case goes to trial. Often, the intoxicated driver does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for the harm that you’ve suffered. Part of our job as your drunk driving accident attorney is to locate additional sources of insurance coverage or personal funds of the drunk driver to fully compensate you for your damages.
However, nothing is worse than an attorney that pushes you to take a case to trial when there’s no realistic possibility of additional recovery beyond the money already on the table. We are always focused on what is best for our clients, and will recommend settlement when settlement is the right option. “Bulldog” lawyers do their client a disserve by barking too much, and thinking too little.
Asheville Drunk Driving Statistics
The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles 2020 Crash Facts Report found that there were 11,475 alcohol-involved crashes that caused injuries in North Carolina, with 412 fatalities reported as a result of these injures. 24.8% of all fatal crashes in North Carolina in 2020 were influenced by alcohol.
In addition, 1,208 other injuries and 44 deaths can be linked to other drug use. For comparison, speeding faster than the speed limit was listed as a contributing factor in 2,002 injuries and 279 deaths. Clearly, drunk driving crashes are still a serious concern in Asheville and Western North Carolina.
Traffic accidents as a whole were down 13.3%, but fatalities were up 12.8% compared to 2019. A full chart of the contributing circumstances in 2020 can be found below:
In Asheville and Buncombe County specifically, there were 27 traffic fatalities in 2020, down from 30 in 2019. Of these crashes, 12 fatalities in Asheville were linked to alcohol use, which is 44.4% of the total fatalities for all fatal cash crashes in Buncombe County.
And yet alcohol related accidents only make up 6.7% of all wrecks for 2020. The data clearly supports that drunk driving collisions are far more serious than the average car collision.
In Asheville, the situation mirrored the broader state trends. The Asheville Police Department recorded a lower number of DWI arrests in 2020 at 202, which was a decrease compared to previous years. By the middle of 2021, they had already made 127 arrests.
In the period from 2017 to 2021, both the Asheville Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office made more than 1,200 arrests each for DWIs. This heavy enforcement might be one reason why Buncombe County, where Asheville is located, ranks 11th in the state for alcohol-related vehicle fatalities.
In terms of crash statistics, 2019 saw drunk driving result in 176 car crashes in Asheville. These incidents caused 103 injuries and one fatality. Looking back at the period from 2011 to 2018, it can be seen that the number of fatalities from drunk driving in Asheville remained somewhat steady at three or four per year, while the number of alcohol-related crashes fluctuated, reaching a high of 152 in 2017 and a low of 137 in 2014 and 2015.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does the Drunk Driver Need to Be Convicted in Order to Obtain Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident in Asheville?
No, you do not need to wait for a conviction in order to pursue a civil claim against the drunk driver’s insurance company. the criminal justice process and the civil process are completely separate from one another, and it is often advantageous to pursue a civil claim while the police and district attorney are still prosecuting the drunk driver.
The biggest advantage is that the intoxicated driver will find it very difficult to testify at a deposition or at trial in the civil case, because anything they say in court in the civil case can be used against them by the Asheville district attorney. As a result, the drunk driver will often assert their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. However, we are well-acquainted with this tactic, and we are able to use this assertion of the driver’s constitutional right against them in the civil lawsuit for damages.
What types of Compensation can You Obtain After a Drunk Driving Accident in Asheville?
The categories of compensation depend on what types of harms that you or your loved one suffered as a result of the collision. However, Melrose Law routine pursues these broad categories of damages:
- Pain and Suffering
- Property Damage
- Scars and Disfigurement
- Lost income
- Lost Earning Capacity
- Permanent Injury and Disability
- Punitive damages to punish the drunk driver for their reckless conduct
These are just broad categories that we explore in every case, and your case will require an individualized attorney review to determine what compensation you might be entitled to receive. Our skilled team is available to review your case, and you do not pay us anything unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf.
Time is of the Essence in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
It is important to begin collecting and preserving evidence soon after a drunk driving wreck occurs. As time passes, memories of witnesses to the collision begin to fade, and physical evidence is not always preserved by the police investigating the accident, or by the insurance companies who have a vested interest in avoid paying you money for the harms you suffered.
An insurance adjuster may reach out to you soon after the collision. Do not give a statement without talking to a lawyer first.
As a result, it is of critical importance that you retain a lawyer as soon as possible if you or a family member were hurt as a result of an intoxicated driver. The lawyer should then immediately inform the district attorney of the injuries that were suffered, and begin collecting evidence to zealously pursue your claim.
Contact Our Asheville Drunk Driving Attorneys Today
We provide free case evaluations, and we do not get paid unless you make a recovery. Please reach out to us today at (828) 452 – 3141, or through our “Contact Us” button on our website, with no obligation to hire our firm, and we will help you to the very best of our ability.