A car accident can be a frightening experience, especially if it happened out the blue. After the accident, if the other driver turns out to be intoxicated, you may become upset that someone could be so irresponsible to put you and your family in danger. Injury claims in an impaired driver accident can be complicated by the fact that the other driver will likely face criminal charges. In order to make sure you and your family receive compensation for your injuries, you may need to contact an experienced Maryland attorney. Your personal injury accident lawyer will make sure your interests are represented, and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Criminal DUI Accidents
Driving while impaired is against the law in Maryland. A first offense is generally a misdemeanor, resulting in a suspended license, possible jail time, and heavy fines. However, if the driver was in an accident while impaired, the penalties can be more severe.
Under Maryland law, if a driver causes a life-threatening injury to another person while under the influence of alcohol, they are guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment of up to 3 years in prison, and $5,000 in fines.
In the event that a drunk driver causes an accident resulting in someone's death, they may be charged with homicide by motor vehicle. Homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a felony. Penalties include imprisonment of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000.
In some cases, a drunk driver may try and leave the scene of an accident, which could result in additional criminal charges. Leaving the scene of an accident that might result in serious bodily injury, is a felony, with up to 5 years in jail. If the driver leaves the scene of an accident involving death, they may be imprisoned for up to 10 years in jail.
A car accident with an impaired driver may involve a criminal charge for the driver, and a civil lawsuit for the injured individuals trying to recover damages. In most cases, the criminal case will have to be completed before the civil lawsuit can be taken to trial. This can cause additional delays to the injured plaintiff seeking to recover damages for their injuries. Contact a Maryland personal injury attorney immediately after an accident with an impaired driver to retain your right to seek compensation from the negligent driver.
Minor Accidents with an Impaired Driver
Not all accidents require you to call the police to conduct an accident investigation. However, an accident involving injury, serious vehicle damage, or accidents involving an intoxicated driver are required to be reported. In some cases, the impaired driver may plead with you not to call the police, offering cash upfront to cover the damages. However, for a number of reasons, this may not be a good idea.
If your injuries become more serious than you realize, or your vehicle damage is more serious, failing to report the accident may mean that you can't contact the responsible party. In some cases, the impaired driver may later claim that you caused the accident, and you will have evidence that the impaired driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, letting the impaired driver go may risk them getting involved in another accident, possibly a fatal car crash.
Impaired Driver Accident Personal Injury Claims
Filing an injury claim against an impaired driver can be more complicated than other accident claims. In some cases, the driver may not be insured, or may not have the financial resources to pay for the damages they caused. However, your attorney may be able to make sure you can recover by going after anyone else who may have been responsible for the accident. If you didn't cause the accident, you shouldn't have to be responsible for the expensive medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Make sure you make the call to ensure you are compensated for your injuries.
Baltimore Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an impaired driver, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help. Recovery from an accident with a drunk driver can take time, especially if the impaired driver has to go through a criminal trial. Your insurance company may not be interested in actively pursuing your claim, leaving you waiting as medical bills continue to mount.
Hiring an attorney to represent you will ensure that you have someone to advocate on your behalf, to get you the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with automobile accident cases throughout Maryland. Contact us today for a free consultation.