Motorcycle accidents occur for a wide variety of reasons, but one of the most frequent is driver negligence. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense in Alabama, and drunk or drugged drivers can often lead to crashes that cause serious or fatal injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported deaths occur 28 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles. Motorcyclists are often powerless when they are involved in drunk driving crashes, and the path to recovery can be even more daunting.
If you have suffered serious injuries or your loved has been killed in a motorcycle crash caused by a driver operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the greater Birmingham area, it is important to retain legal counsel. An experienced Birmingham motorcycle accident attorney will be able to assist you with every aspect of your case and make sure that you get the compensation you need and deserve.
The record of success at the Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP personal injury legal practise includes several multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements. Call (205) 324-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need A Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer?
It is important to understand that when you are injured or a loved one is killed in an accident caused by a driver who was under the influence, the negligent driver will face criminal charges. The criminal case is completely separate from your own civil action, so you should not panic if a driver is not convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense.
Chances are very good that the insurance company for the drunk driver will attempt to contact you. You must remember that no matter how friendly and concerned an agent might seem, the insurance company is not on your side. They may promise to take care of you, but their goal is to create a false sense of security so people will open up and potentially damage their own cases.
One way this is accomplished is through recorded statements that victims provide, which is why you should always decline these invitations from insurance companies, especially if you have not retained an attorney yet.
Another common approach is for an insurance company to quickly offer a person a lump sum settlement. People in desperate situations often feel inclined to accept these offers, but you must know that the offers are usually a fraction of what people are actually entitled to. A lawyer can fight to make sure you get a just amount.
Why Choose Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP To Handle My Case?
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP was founded by Birmingham residents Kirby Farris and Ken Riley, both lifelong residents of Alabama. Mr. Farris and Mr. Riley are both admitted to the Alabama Supreme Court, United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. They are both members of the American Bar Association, Birmingham Bar Association, and Alabama Bar Association.
Our firm has maintained a commitment to our community through support of such organizations as Children’s of Alabama, United Way, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama, and Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama.
We are committed to helping you obtain a fair and full settlement or file a lawsuit to try your case in court when it is necessary to recover complete damages. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless you receive a monetary award.
Differences in a Civil (Injury) vs. Criminal Case
A drunk driver who hits a motorcyclist may end up facing both criminal and civil penalties for their actions. A criminal case is meant to establish guilt or innocence and then punish the wrongful party if they are found to be in violation of the law. A civil case is another way that injured parties may be able to recover compensation from a negligent driver.
If you have been injured as a result of a drunk driving accident and the driver’s insurance company is not negotiating with you in good faith, you may be able to bring a civil suit against a drunk driver as a means to gaining compensation. Contacting an experienced drunk driving accident attorney is the best way to determine the most reasonable course of action for your case.
Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Crashes
Since drunk drivers lack both the cognitive function and motor function that a normal driver would have, they are much more likely to be involved in serious, even fatal collisions. In many cases, they are unable to react to situations quickly enough to take evasive actions to avoid a crash. They may even by so impaired mentally or physically that they don’t understand an accident is about to take place, so they maintain their speed and don’t slow down. Driving recklessly and barreling down full speed on a motorcyclist can have dire consequences.
In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than their passenger vehicle counterparts. Statistics from the same organization also show that in 2017, Alabama was one of the top five states with the most alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the nation. Victims who survive a drunk driving crash can suffer severe and life-altering injuries. Some of the most common injuries a drunk driver may cause a motorcyclist include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck, back, and spine injuries
- Facial and dental injuries
- Broken Bones
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue and organ damage
- Rib injuries
- Road rash
- Wrongful death
Most Common Types of Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving impairs judgment, coordination, reaction time, and even vision. This means that drunk drivers are more likely to miss vital street signs or traffic lights, fall asleep at the wheel, or fail to react properly to road and traffic conditions. Some of the most common types of crashes associated with drunk drivers also happen to be some of the most horrific and deadly types of collisions. They can include:
- Head-on collisions
- Wrong-way crashes
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Left-turn accidents
Regardless of how your accident happened, be sure to contact the police immediately, seek medical attention right away, and contact an experienced motorcycle injury attorney right away.
Frequently Asked Questions about Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accidents
What should I do if I’ve been hurt in a drunk driving accident?
Any time that you are involved in a motorcycle accident, regardless of how badly you think you were hurt, always seek medical attention. Try to take as many pictures as you can of your accident scene, and also look for potential witnesses to get contact information from. Do not speak to anybody about your crash and avoid posting anything about it on social media websites. Contact a lawyer right away.
What is contributory negligence?
Alabama is one of only five states in the country that recognizes the affirmative defense of contributory negligence, which basically requires a plaintiff to prove that a defendant was 100 percent at fault for a drunk driving accident. Contributory negligence means that a plaintiff will be unable to recover any damages when their own negligence contributed in any way to an accident.
What kinds of compensation can I be entitled to for a drunk driving accident?
Most cases end with settlements. However, some cases do go to trial, and people who successfully prove their claims can be awarded compensatory damages, typically a combination of economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible costs while noneconomic damages are not quantifiable. Economic damages frequently include medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, while noneconomic damages might be for the loss of consortium, pain and suffering, or emotional distress. While they are otherwise quite rare, drunk driving cases may be more likely for possible awards of punitive damages. Punitive damages require a plaintiff to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted with deliberate or conscious malice, and they have a limit (or “cap”) of the greater of three times the compensatory damages or $1,500,000.
Alabama Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
According to the NHTSA, the percentage of drivers with BACs of 0.08 or higher in fatal crashes in 2016 was highest for fatalities involving motorcyclists compared to passenger cars (21 percent), light trucks (20 percent), and large trucks (2 percent).
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 1,600 of the 5,286 motorcyclists killed in 2016 were alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, meaning one driver had a BAC of 0.08.
Contact a Birmingham Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Were you hurt or did you lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver in Birmingham? The motorcycle accident attorneys of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP represents those who’ve been harmed by people who chose to drive while under the influence and caused others harm. We will seek the maximum amount of compensation possible on your behalf.
Our firm has been helping people all over Alabama for more than two decades. We can explore all of your legal options when you call (205) 324-1212 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.