Drunk Driving Accidents

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Posted by Christopher Combs on January 25, 2024

Drunk driving accidents lawyer St. Louis, MO. It is an unsettling reality that drunk driving accidents occur on our roads every day. Though the numbers have declined in recent years, the truth is that drunk driving accidents end thousands of lives and leave thousands more injured every year. In fact, there is one person killed in a drunk driving car accident every 52 minutes in the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Any one of us could become a victim. Even the most responsible, meticulous, defensive driver could be struck and injured by a drunk driver. If it happens to you or someone you love, the Combs Waterkotte is here to help you seek justice so you can heal.

A drunk driving accident is tragic and can be justifiably more emotionally charged than some other types of car accidents in St. Louis or elsewhere in Missouri. After all, choosing to drive drunk or otherwise impaired is an act of gross negligence and one that could have been completely avoided. The injuries and other damages in a drunk driving accident are often devastating due to the drunk driver’s impairment and lack of control.

A drunk driver can dramatically change the course of your life in the blink of an eye. As the victim in a drunk driving accident in Missouri, it is essential that you find a St. Louis auto accident lawyer who not only has the legal expertise to secure full compensation for the damages you and your family have suffered but also has the intuition, emotional intelligence, and compassion to invest in your complete physical, emotional, and financial well-being throughout the course of your case and into the future.

Combs Waterkotte is the drunk driving accident law firm in St. Louis, MO that will truly stand by your side in your accident case. Our focused, dedicated team of personal injury lawyers and legal staff provides first-class client-centered representation for drunk driving accident victims and their families in St. Louis and across Missouri. We believe you deserve the complete compensation you need to move beyond the physical and emotional trauma of a drunk driving accident and know that it takes hard work and legal prowess to obtain such an outcome. We dedicate our time, resources, and expertise toward getting you the best possible settlement. For a free consultation to discuss your drunk driving accident, call us today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.

Who Can I Sue for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in St. Louis or Elsewhere in Missouri?

It is common sense to most of us that if a driver chooses to ingest alcohol or other psychoactive drugs and then chooses to get behind the wheel to operate a vehicle, they are practicing negligence and should be held legally liable for any harm they cause as a result of these decisions. If you or your family member is injured or killed by a drunk driver, you have a personal injury or wrongful death case against the driver. Combs Waterkotte has a team of drunk driving accident lawyers in St. Louis ready to help you pursue compensation from the drunk driver and their insurance company.

A skilled personal injury lawyer can argue your case against the drunk driver and demand a settlement for you from the driver’s insurance company. However, they may additionally find that there are other parties involved and can bring your case against these other entities as well. The potential for a case against additional parties depends on the circumstances of your accident. If other people’s actions directly contributed to the plaintiff driving drunk, your lawyer may be able to help you secure additional damages for their part in your injuries.

The following Missouri laws and policies allow a victim to file claims against third parties in a drunk driving accident.

  • Dram Shop Law

    The state of Missouri goes by a dram shop law, meaning the person or business that supplied the driver with alcohol could be held legally liable for their part in causing the accident. Under this law, places where alcohol is served for consumption, such as bars and restaurants, can be sued in a drunk driving accident case if it can be proven that the driver was over-served or the driver was served as a minor.

  • Negligent Entrustment

    Missouri’s negligent entrustment laws provide a way to hold a third party – the owner of the vehicle – accountable if they allowed the driver to operate their vehicle. To have a negligent entrustment case, the drunk driver must have been driving another person’s vehicle, and that person must have allowed the driver to operate the vehicle though they knew they were intoxicated, impaired, or underage.

  • Commercial Drivers

    If the driver in your drunk driving accident was a commercial driver such as a semi-truck driver, delivery driver, or bus driver, the companies involved in that driver’s job could have legal responsibility in your case, too. The driver’s employer can be held responsible for their part, which could be manifested as the failure to perform a background check that would have revealed the driver’s drunk driving history, failure to follow laws on driver drug testing, or dismissal of previous reports of the driver’s misconduct or intoxication.

    The cases against additional parties in your drunk driving accident may not be as straightforward as the one against the driver and, therefore, call for a truly skilled litigator to fight for your rights. Your St. Louis, MO drunk driving lawyer at Combs Waterkotte will put in the footwork to ensure that no stone is left unturned and no responsible party gets away with their negligent actions consequence-free.

Types of Drunk Driving Accident Cases in St. Louis and Across Missouri

Inhibited by the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is no secret that drunk drivers perform much poorer than sober drivers who have their faculties about them. With alcohol in their system, a drunk driver displays delayed reaction times, vision and depth perception problems, loss of motor functions and coordination, and hindered decision-making skills.

This is a clear recipe for disaster, and there are countless ways driving intoxicated can result in disaster. However, below are a few of the most common drunk driving auto accidents we see in St. Louis and throughout Missouri.

  • Rear-end collisions – With impaired depth perception, slow reaction time, and general recklessness, it is easy to imagine how drunk drivers rear-end other cars. Inebriated drivers usually have difficulty maintaining a consistent speed which is dangerous both for cars in front of and behind them.
  • Head-on accidents – Drunk drivers can get in dangerous head-on collisions when they fall asleep at the wheel, disregard traffic signs and signals, swerve into oncoming traffic, fail to use their headlights, and make other operating errors.
  • Wrong-way crashes – With poor judgment and vision problems, impaired drivers often turn into the wrong lane, swerve into an oncoming traffic lane, and miss traffic signs directing one-way road traffic. There is typically little time and space for properly traveling vehicles to avoid drunk drivers going the wrong way.
  • Pedestrians, Bicycles, and Motorcycles – Not only do drunk drivers pose the risk of striking another car, but they also put other road users like pedestrians and cyclists at risk. Drunk driving pedestrian and bike accidents commonly happen when the driver swerves off the road onto the sidewalk or into a building or when the driver passes through an intersection, failing to detect or react to a traveler who is crossing.

Drunk Driving Accidents: The Facts and Figures in St. Louis and Throughout Missouri

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you are not alone. Though we all hope to never know the pain and panic of a drunk driving accident, the facts illustrate that many of us are not so fortunate. It is our mission to not only help repair the lives of drunk driving accident victims, but also to raise awareness and protect others from becoming future victims.

What the numbers on St. Louis and Missouri Drunk Driving Car Accidents Say

  • Both Missouri and Illinois, sadly, rank among the top 15 states for number of annual drunk driving accident fatalities.
  • Every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving accident
  • Each year, drunk drivers and the accidents they cause cost the United States $132 billion every year.
  • In the United States, 28 lives are lost every day due to drunk driving accidents
  • One third of all traffic fatalities every year are attributed to preventable drunk driving accidents
  • Drunk driving remains the #1 cause of roadway deaths
  • On average, it is estimated that drivers who are pulled over for drunk driving have driven under the influence 80 times before getting caught
  • In 2016, about 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence, yet 11 million people self-reported having driven impaired, meaning they were only arrested 1% of the time
  • More than 10,000 people are killed every year by drunk drivers, and 1,000 of these victims are children
  • Your Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in St. Louis and Throughout Missouri

    Being injured or losing a loved one to a drunk driving accident is a devastating event that too many St. Louis and Missouri families are forced to experience. No one should ever have to go it alone. Though it may be the case in some minor car accidents that a personal injury lawyer is not necessary, a victim in any kind of accident involving significant injuries or death should have an experienced car accident attorney representing them.

    The St. Louis drunk driving lawyers of Combs Waterkotte provide unique value to you and your family during your drunk driving accident case. We recognize how sensitive this time is for everyone involved, and we are committed to dedicating our services towards obtaining the best outcome in your case and providing the highest degree of support and professional care to you as our client. A personal injury suit is meant to help restore your life after experiencing physical and emotional trauma, but the process of getting the final settlement can be taxing. Combs Waterkotte is here to make the months of your drunk driving accident claim as smooth as possible.

    When you hire a drunk driving accident lawyer in St. Louis or elsewhere in Missouri for your case, you should look for someone who is equipped to give you the best available legal representation as well as someone who offers support and peace of mind to you and your family during this trying time. As a leading St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer with an exceptionally compassionate legal team, Combs Waterkotte is able to do the following for drunk driving accident victims:

    Prove your case

    In any personal injury case, the victim must prove that the person they are bringing the claim against had a responsibility to keep you safe, that they breached that responsibility by acting negligently, that you were injured, and that it was their negligence that caused your injuries. In auto accident cases, the responsibility to keep you safe is a given. All drivers have a responsibility to act in a way that does not pose a risk to other road users. When it comes to the breach of that responsibility, a concept known as negligence per se comes into play in many drunk driving accidents. Negligence per se says that if the plaintiff broke a law meant to keep people safe, there is automatically a breach of responsibility in the civil case. As applied to drunk driving, if the driver who caused the accident was arrested for a DUI, DWI, or other reckless driving act, then the breach of responsibility to keep others safe is automatically satisfied.

    A charge of driving under the influence is not the be-all and end-all, however. If the driver who caused your accident and injured you was somehow able to get away from the accident without the police arresting them for inebriated driving, do not fear. There is still other evidence your St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer can use to show how the driver failed to uphold their commitment to keeping you safe. At Combs Waterkotte, we do not shy away from a case just because they require more work or are less than straightforward. We are committed to going the extra mile in proving how the drunk driver’s behavior obliterated your life as you knew it.

    Inform you of your rights

    With the legal expertise of a practiced St. Louis personal injury lawyer, you can be sure that your claim meets all the legal requirements and that you don’t lose your chance to collect damages due to a simple administrative error or lack of knowledge about the process. For example, your St. Louis, MO lawyer will be familiar with state statutes and rules for filing a claim. In the state of Missouri, personal injury victims like victims injured by drunk drivers have five years from the date of the accident to bring their claim. Those who lose a loved one in a drunk driving accident must file their wrongful death claim within three years of the accident.

    An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in St. Louis and throughout Missouri will not only ensure that your claim is processed correctly but will also identify additional potential claims you may have against other parties. If the driver was willfully overserved at a bar prior to the accident or if the driver was drinking and driving while on the job, you may have valid claims against the company or individual responsible for those actions. It takes a legal professional with insight to sight and explore these third-party claims.

    Collect and present all evidence

    Even as a naturally responsible and organized individual, you shouldn’t have to concern yourself with keeping track of paperwork and documents throughout your case. Hiring a drunk driving accident lawyer with an established St. Louis personal injury law firm provides you with an entire professional team to manage your case and communicate with you. Your law firm has the power to collect and file medical records, police reports, correspondence from the other parties, and other documentation and evidence relevant to your case.

    Not only is your lawyer better equipped to keep track of the evidence in your case, but they can also skillfully present the evidence in a way that paints the most accurate picture of the damages you have suffered. Damages in a drunk driving case include anything from medical bills, lost earnings, disability, pain and suffering, and things like funeral costs and loss of consortium when the victim is killed in the accident. The sum of damages in an individual case will be determined by many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the permanence of the injuries, and, in wrongful death cases, the age, career, and relationships of the victim who was killed.

    Appraise and negotiate your damages

    We understand how extensively a drunk driving accident imbues your life as a victim. Your losses include economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, but also non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. With our experience representing drunk driving victims like yourself, the Combs Waterkotte St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyers have a keen sense of what damages are worth and how to demand and pursue compensation that accurately and fully reflects the losses you have suffered. It is nearly impossible to put a dollar value on non-economic damages like pain and suffering or permanent loss of use, but through their years of experience advocating for victims of drunk driving accidents in St. Louis and across Missouri like you, your drunk driving accident lawyer knows how the court views such abstract damages and, more importantly, how to convey their value to the judge or, in the event that your case goes to trial, a jury of your peers.

    Provide resources and support

    The thing that differentiates a good lawyer from a great lawyer is the intangible value they provide. It is important that you choose a drunk driving accident lawyer in whom you feel confident and comfortable. The fit will not be the same for every individual. Choose a lawyer you can trust. Combs Waterkotte prides itself in the personalized approach and genuine interest our legal team takes in the well-being and case outcome of each of our clients. Rather than taking on every potential client who comes to us and focusing on a few easy, high-dollar wins we can boast, we are careful to make sure that we have a natural rapport with our clients and dedicate our complete time and resources to the success of each of those cases.

    Contact a Skilled Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer at Combs Waterkotte Today

    Becoming the victim of a drunk driving accident has the power to disrupt life as you know it. Combs Waterkotte is here to help you reclaim your life and hold the reckless drunk driver responsible for the harm they have caused you. Chris Combs is the skilled drunk driving accident lawyer in St. Louis, MO you want to fight for you. With a practice built upon fierce advocacy and client-centered communication, our clients take comfort in knowing that the Combs Waterkotte is working to restore their lives. Discover how we can help you recover by calling us today at (314) 900-HELP or contacting us online. Our drunk driving attorneys are ready to help.