When a person gets behind the wheel of a car after consuming too much alcohol, he or she is putting everyone else on the road at risk. Even as highly dangerous as this is, in 2017, 1,661 alcohol-related crashes occurred in Nebraska, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation. If you've been in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have the legal right to seek financial support for any losses you've incurred.
Signs of Drunk Driving
How do you know if someone is driving drunk and causes an accident? It's not always easy to tell, especially when there are distracted drivers on the road as well. If you're in your vehicle and notice another vehicle driving erratically, do what you can to avoid that driver. Some signs of drunk driving include:
- Drifting or weaving between lanes
- Driving on the wrong side of the street
- Tailgating, or driving too close to the person in front of them
- Slow reaction to traffic signal changes
- Lack of headlights on at night
- Slow driving
- Stopping or accelerating quickly
If you don't notice the driver before an accident, there are some warning signs that he or she is intoxicated after the accident. They include:
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes or sensitivity to light
- Unable to walk steadily
- Repeating what they've said
- Unable to understand what's happened
- Aggressive behavior or being irresponsible to questions
In these situations, take note of what's happening. If possible, film the driver on your phone to document what's occurring. Never put yourself or anyone else at risk to do this, though.
Nebraska Drunk Driving Laws
A person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more, can be charged with driving under the influence under the state's laws. The state's DUI laws define under the influence as a person who is impaired to an appreciable degree.
If a person is found guilty of driving under the influence, he or she may face sentences such as:
- Up to 60 days in jail and a $50 fine for their first offense with a BAC of .15 percent or lower
- Up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for the first offense with a BAC of more than .15 percent
Second and subsequent offenses will increase fines and jail time while also adding in potential community service.
These criminal charges are in addition to the civil penalties a driver faces when they cause an accident that injures someone.
What to Do if You've Been Hurt by a Drunk Driver
After ensuring your safety, call the police immediately if you've been in a car accident. Don't leave the scene of the accident, but do try to ensure you are safe from other traffic. Take the following steps after a car accident:
- Seek medical attention for any immediate injuries.
- Tell the police any facts you have about the incident, including any signs of drunk driving you noticed prior to it
- Take photos of your injuries and property damage
- Gather the contact information for any witnesses
- Write down any signs you saw of drunken driving
- File a complete police report
- Call an attorney
Potential Damages You May Have After an Accident With a Drunk Driver
With the help of your Nebraska drunk driving attorney, it's possible to file a claim against the driver and his or her insurance for compensation. Common damages after car accidents include:
- Medical bills from emergency room visits, surgical procedures, and other car accident injuries
- Lost time at work due to the accident
- Long-term recovery and rehabilitation
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
It's hard to put a dollar amount on any of these figures right away. Don't feel pressured into filing a claim with an insurance company or settling too soon. Instead, allow our legal team to step in to ensure you are getting compensated for any losses you've incurred through no fault of your own.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Nebraska to Help You File a Claim
Get help for any drunk driving accident claim by calling the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop, PC, LLO. We'll answer your questions and provide a free consultation to discuss what happened to you.