Birmingham Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
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)reported that 2016 fatal crash data showed motorcyclist deaths occurred 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.
When 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 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 Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP 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 going to be 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 yet to get an attorney.
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.
Types of Drunk Driving Accident Cases We Handle
Alabama Code § 32-5A-191 is the state law prohibiting any person from driving or being in control of a vehicle while they have a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, or if they are under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, a combination, or any substance impairing their mental or physical faculties.
First, second, and third drunk driving offenses are all punishable by up to one year in jail as well as varying fines (up to $2,100 for a first offense, up to $5,100 for a second offense, and up to $10,100 for a third offense). A fourth conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,100. When a person is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it is usually considered an aggravating factor in their criminal case.
The burden of proof is much higher for a prosecutor in a criminal case than it is for plaintiffs in civil actions. A person’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest legal standard) in a criminal case, but a civil claim only needs to be proven by more than 50 percent of the evidence.
Other common kinds of drunk driving cases are dram shop claims and social host liability. Bars, taverns, and establishments used to be called dram shops because they sold liquor in quantities called drams. Dram shop laws apply to negligent alcohol vendors that serve alcohol to people who cause motor vehicle accidents, while social host liability refers to private parties who serve alcohol to parties who do the same.
Dram shop and social host claims are possible in Alabama, but they must involve service of alcohol that is contrary to law. In most cases, the violation will either be service to an individual who is already intoxicated with a dram shop lawsuit, or service to a minor, which can result in either a dram shop or social host claim.
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 noneconomic 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
NHTSA reported that 5,414 drivers were involved in fatal crashes with motorcycles in 2016, and 1,351 or 25 percent involved a BAC of 0.08 or more. This was a 2 percent decrease from the 1,428 drivers having a BAC of 0.08 or greater in 2007, which was 27 percent of the 5,306 total accidents. NHTSA stated that 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. The 30 percent of motorcyclists killed in alcohol-impaired crashes was second only to drivers of passenger vehicles (33 percent), but was higher than passengers in vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
III also reported that 21 percent of 19,413 passenger car drivers in 2015 had a BAC of 0.08 or more and 25 percent had a BAC of 0.01 or more. The 18,570 light truck drivers included 20 percent who had a BAC of 0.08 or more and 23 percent who had a BAC of 0.01 or more, and 2 percent of large truck drivers had a BAC of 0.08 or more and 2 percent had a BAC of 0.01 or more.
A March 2019 blog post by SafeWise, a safety information and tips website, used NHTSA data to identify the states with the most and least fatalities due to impaired driving crashes. Alabama had the fifth-highest fatality rate in the nation with 5.49 impaired driving deaths per 100,000 people. Wyoming had the worst rate (7.59) while New Jersey had the best (1.38).
The 2017 Crash Facts from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) stated that 14 of the 83 total traffic fatalities in Jefferson County had drug or alcohol involvement. There were 5,471 drivers suspected of drug or alcohol impairment that year, with 3,970 being men and 1,412 being women. This was a reduction from the 5,989 drivers in 2016 and 9,494 drivers cited in 2015.
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 drunk driver in Birmingham? 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.