Drunk Driving Accident Injury? Know Your Rights.

If you have been injured in an Arkansas drunk driving accident, you may have a claim for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering – includes physical pain, disfigurement, disability and emotional distress
  • Caretaking Expenses
  • Punitive damages – an amount of money meant to punish the party at fault for recklessly disregarding the rights or safety of others

When someone dies in a drunk driver accident in Arkansas, the spouse and next of kin may also have a claim for the following:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of potential earnings
  • Loss of services, contributions, and companionship
  • Loss of life damages
  • Punitive damages

Negligence of Drunk Driver

Drunk Driving Accident Injury

It is a violation of Arkansas law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more. This does not mean that someone who is injured by a drunk driver will automatically win a lawsuit against the drunk driver, but it does mean that the person suing has a good case. If the drunk driver has not been charged or convicted of drunk driving, a person injured by the drunk driver can still bring a civil lawsuit against the driver. The person suing the drunk driver may still have a good case, but evidence of the intoxication will have to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

An experienced and aggressive car accident lawyer will be able to present a case successfully whether there is a criminal conviction or not.

Punitive Damages

In a civil action against a drunk driver, the injured party can ask for punitive damages, which, depending on the circumstances can be significant. A criminal charge or conviction is not a prerequisite to consideration of punitive damages.

Dram Shop Liability (Bars and Restaurants)

Generally, dram shops (bars, restaurants and other sellers of alcohol) are liable when they have violated a law or regulation in the state where the alcohol was served. This means that the bar, restaurant or other seller of alcohol could be responsible for the following:

  • If the victim of the drunk driving accident survives: medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and punitive damages
  • If the victim is killed in the drunk driving accident: funeral expenses, loss of potential earnings, loss of advice and comfort, and punitive damages.

While selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer represents the most common dram shop violation, the illegal sale of intoxicating beverages can take other forms, such as:

  • Selling alcohol without a license to do so;
  • Selling alcohol after hours; or
  • Selling alcohol to a minor.

An Arkansas car accident lawyer can help you determine if a dram shop violation played a role in your car accident.

Negligent Entrustment of Vehicle to Drunk Driver

Under Arkansas law, the owner of a vehicle can be held liable for allowing a person to operate a vehicle he or she owns, if the owner allows the vehicle to be driven by a person who the owner:

  • Knows or should have known was impaired or intoxicated; or
  • Knows or should have known was in the habit of¬†operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Vehicle owners who are negligent in this way could be responsible for the following:

  • If the victim of the drunk driving accident survives: medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and punitive damages
  • If the victim is killed in the drunk driving accident: funeral expenses, loss of potential earnings, loss of advice and comfort, and punitive damages.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, please contact an Arkansas drunk driving accident lawyer today.

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