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Why Get Legal Help After a Crash With a Drunk Driver

Las Vegas is a place where people like to cut loose, and that often means drinking a lot of alcohol. Unfortunately, far too many people drink and then get behind the wheel and cause dangerous crashes. Drunk driver crashes often result in serious injuries that affect victims for a long time. If you were injured by a drunk driver, you need an experienced litigator protecting your interests. Crashes involving drunk drivers often cause more severe injuries and property damages, which may result in a larger settlement. Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages may also be assessed. At High Stakes Injury Law, our attorneys are committed to fully investigating your crash and seeking full compensation. If a drunk driver is responsible for the crash and your injuries, we will fight to hold them accountable for their actions. Contact our firm 24/7 to schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Why File a Personal Injury Claim After a Crash With a Drunk Driver?

Drunk drivers who cause a crash often face criminal charges. If the accused pleads guilty or goes to trial and is found guilty, he or she faces significant punishment, including fines and jail time. Sometimes, the judge may also order the defendant to pay some amount of restitution toward the victim’s medical costs and lost wages. However, restitution will not be sufficient to cover your losses and will not cover your pain and suffering. To seek full compensation for your medical costs and other losses, you will need to file a personal injury claim. For this reason, we strongly recommend seeking legal help as soon as your injuries are stabilized. Some of the damages that may be available in a drunk-driving claim include:
  • All reasonable and necessary medical costs – including surgery, diagnostic testing, physical therapy and rehabilitation, mobility assistive devices (crutches, etc.)
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Disfigurement, scarring and humiliation
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death if the injured victim did not survive his or her injuries

What if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Quick Settlement?

Once you file a claim, the liable insurer will likely try to contact you and may even offer you a quick settlement. Even if the offer seems tempting, be aware that any early offer will not even begin to cover your damages. This is because you still do not know all of your damages, and you have not yet reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI). Unfortunately, if you agree to an early settlement, the remainder of your losses would then have to be paid out of your own pocket. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot pursue more compensation for your injuries.

How Crashes With a Drunk Driver Are Different

In addition to a drunk driver facing criminal and civil legal actions, there are a couple of other reasons crashes with a drunk driver are different than for other accidents.

Crashes With a Drunk Driver Often Cause Severe or Life-threatening Injuries

Crashes with a drunk driver often result in more severe injuries. This is because an individual who is impaired by alcohol is more likely to be driving aggressively or at excessive speeds. Drivers in this condition are also slower to react or brake to avoid hitting another car.

Punitive Damages May Be Assessed

If your case does not get resolved through negotiation and ends up in a trial, punitive damages may also come into play. These damages are assessed in cases where heinous and malicious behavior is involved, such as drunk driving. It is important to state that punitive damages are not assessed to give the victim more compensation. The point of punitive damages is to punish the defendant in hopes of discouraging future similar behavior.

Are There Other Parties I Can Sue for My Injuries?

Some states have a dram shop law that permits injured victims to sue not only the drunk driver, but also the establishment that provided alcohol to that individual. However, Las Vegas does not impose a dram shop law against either businesses or individuals that sell alcohol. That said, there are two laws that may permit you to sue another party:
  • Nevada Revised Statute 202.055 – a bartender could be charged if he or she knowingly served an underage minor.
  • Social host law – someone hosting a private party could be charged for allowing a minor to drink on his or her property. Unfortunately, a social host is still protected if the individual drinking was of legal age.

Do I Have a Claim if I Am Partly to Blame for the Crash?

You likely still have a claim as long as the defendant is at least 50 percent liable for the crash that caused your injuries. If you are more liable than the drunk driver, however, you are barred from any recovery. It is worth mentioning that if you are assessed with some liability, that percentage of liability will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you.

How Can an Attorney Help With My Claim?

If you hire an attorney, he or she must prove the defendant was not only drunk, but also negligent for the crash. The causes of action for your claim could include:


Since the burden of proof falls on the victim or his or her attorney, you must prove the other driver:
  • Owed you a duty of care, such as not driving while intoxicated
  • Breached that duty, by driving drunk
  • That breach led to a crash and caused you to suffer harm
  • You sustained damages, such as lost wages, medical costs and more

Negligence per se

If a driver drove a vehicle while drunk and then caused a crash, negligence per se may be another cause of action your attorney could use. To prove it, your attorney would need to establish:
  • The defendant had a duty to adhere to a state law – in this case, Nevada’s drunk driving laws
  • The plaintiff (injured victim) was an individual designed to be protected by that law
  • The defendant breached this law by driving impaired by alcohol
  • The defendant’s violation of the law caused the crash and your injuries

Negligent entrustment

If another individual knowingly allowed the defendant to drive while intoxicated, there may be a claim for negligent entrustment. Although this may be harder to prove.
  • The defendant is not the drunk driver, but the person who allowed the drunk driver to take the vehicle, knowing that individual was intoxicated.
  • The defendant in this case knew or should have known that the drunk driver could have caused harm.
  • The drunk driver negligently drove the vehicle, causing you harm.
In addition to establishing negligence, your attorney should also be ready for a trial should the need arise. Many cases settle out of court, making a trial unnecessary. However, insurance companies know which attorneys generally settle and which ones are prepared to represent a case in court. This can make a significant difference in the settlement an insurance company will be prepared to agree to during negotiations.

Call to Discuss Your Car Crash With Our Firm Today

Were you or a loved one injured by a drunk driver? If so, you may benefit from seeking legal help today. At High Stakes Injury Law, no client is ever just a number. Our partners are personally involved in every case we handle. Our experienced car crash attorneys in Las Vegas understand the devastating injuries that often occur in drunk-driving crashes. Our firm has a history of proven results, and we are ready to work hard to hold the at-fault party accountable for his or her actions. If we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay us up front. We take drunk driving cases on contingency, so you only pay our fees if we win compensation for you.



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Clients' Stories

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  • Do I Have A Case?
  • Dealing With The Insurance Company
  • When a Lawsuit Is Filed
  • Overcoming Common Defense Themes
  • Special Considerations in Specific Types of Cases