The holiday season is the most festive time of year, of course, but a lot of people take their festivities too far, and become inebriated as a result. When they decide to get behind the wheel while drunk, that can obviously lead to horrible consequences.
Sand Law attorneys have an extensive amount of experience representing people who have suffered severe injuries or suffered the tragic loss of a loved one during what is supposed to be the happiest time of year.
Drunk Driving Statistics in Minnesota
In 2017 alone, Minnesota state troopers made nearly 25,000 DWI arrests. Of the 358 fatalities on Minnesota roads that year, 113 fatalities (32%) were the result of alcohol-related accidents. Drivers arrested for DWI had an average blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15. Those involved in fatal accidents had a BAC of .19. The legal BAC level in Minnesota is .08.
Why Does Drunk Driving Increase Around the Holidays?
The biggest reason that more people drive drunk during the holiday season is probably the sheer number of get-togethers that occur this time of year. Between family gatherings, office parties and other occasions, people are simply more exposed to alcohol than usual.
Unfortunately, a lot of people who don’t drink at any other time tend to have one or two during the holidays. Others who do typically drink will oftentimes tend to over-indulge. Some drink because the holidays make them stressed, sad or depressed.
There are other factors that contribute to increased dangers as well. More vehicles are on the road during the holidays, which can heighten the risk that someone who is inebriated will cause an accident. Icy roads just make things even worse.
How to Stay Safe from Drunk Drivers this Season
Thankfully, there are a few precautions you can take to try and avoid an accident involving an impaired driver. Keep these tips in mind to stay as safe as possible.
- Stay even more alert. While you’re already observant of your surroundings when you’re on the road, you should try to be even more vigilant during the holidays. Look for signs, such as a driver who makes an illegal turn, or stops well before a red light or a stop sign. Other indications include swerving, running up on curbs and coming close to hitting objects.
- Stay as far away as you can. If you do see someone who appears to be driving drunk, keep as much distance between you and that vehicle as you possibly can. If you’re at a red light, always check your mirrors. When someone is impaired, they may not be paying attention and could hit your car as a result.
- Stay off of the roads as much as possible. Try to keep any unnecessary driving to a minimum if you can. New Year’s Day is a notoriously dangerous time for drunk driving, especially during the hours just after midnight.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Drunk Driving Accident During the Holiday Season
After you’ve exchanged contact information with the drunk driver (if possible), and you’ve received the medical care you need, your next move should be to contact an attorney as soon as you can.
This will especially be the case if you’ve suffered a severe injury, such as a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury. These types of problems can lead to extremely high medical bills. And they can also cause you to miss an extended amount of time from work. You’re going to need legal help in order to obtain compensation.
You’ll also need evidence to prove you deserve that compensation. This is yet another area where an experienced attorney can help. At Sand Law, we know how to gather proof – through investigations of the accident scene, obtaining footage from any nearby security cameras, and more.
Receiving Compensation for a Holiday Drunk Driving Accident
The medical bills and lost wages referred to earlier are examples of damages, or losses. Hiring an attorney will be your best chance for recovering compensation for your damages.
There are other options you may have in addition to taking legal action against the drunk driver who caused your accident. You may, for example, be able to file a third-party dram shop liability claim against the establishment (such as a restaurant or bar) that over-served the driver. If you lost a loved one due to the accident, you could pursue a wrongful death liability claim.
Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
Again, it will be very important to get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as you can if you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, or suffered the tragic loss of a loved one. It won’t cost you anything to schedule a consultation, and your attorney will answer any questions you may have.
One of the biggest reasons you’ll need legal help will be the insurance company involved in your case. Insurers have skilled professionals, known as adjusters, who will do everything they can in order to either reduce the amount of compensation you receive, or to deny your claim completely. They will harass you into trying to admit you were either partially or totally to blame for the accident. If that happens, you’ll either see far less money than you deserve, or you’ll get nothing at all.
Insurance companies will also typically make low-ball settlement offers in order to entice accident victims into getting money as fast as possible. These offers don’t come close to covering all of the medical bills and other damages that accident victims incur. If you agree to this type of settlement, you won’t have any other legal recourse.
Sand Law attorneys know how to handle insurance companies, and to fight all the tricks they play in order to keep victims from obtaining equitable compensation. Learn more by contacting us online for a free case review, or by calling 651-291-7263.