According to the Department of Transportation, Wisconsin sees 5,000-6,000 drunk driving accidents each year. Those struck by intoxicated motorists can suffer some of the most horrifying injuries, often because drunk drivers are speeding at impact. The good news is that those hurt by a drunk driver can seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, and Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC, can help. We offer a free consultation to anyone who wants to discuss their case.
Proving a Driver Was Drunk
To receive compensation, you only need to show a motorist failed to use reasonable care while driving. Being intoxicated clearly qualifies. However, this isn’t a criminal case. You don’t need to show a driver had a certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to win. Instead, any impairment is enough to make the motorist liable for crashing into you.
We can rely on the following evidence:
- Was the driver stumbling around after exiting their vehicle?
- Did the driver slur their words or have bloodshot eyes?
- Were there beer cans or alcohol bottles in the car?
- Did the driver reek of marijuana? Was there marijuana or other drugs in the passenger seat or on the dash?
- Did the driver admit to doing drugs or drinking?
Share any of this information with your attorney because we can use it as part of our negotiations.
Why You Should Call the Police
You should report any accident to the police. An officer can come out and, if they suspect the driver is intoxicated, perform roadside tests. As mentioned above, we don’t absolutely need proof of a driver’s BAC using a breathalyzer to win a drunk driving case, but it certainly helps. And the police can take a dangerous driver off the road.
Seeking Punitive Damages
Accident victims can seek compensatory damages for medical care, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. But you might also seek punitive damages which, in Wisconsin, are available to punish a defendant. Drunk driving victims have had success seeking punitive damages from intoxicated motorists because the act of getting behind the wheel while impaired is particularly egregious.
The good news is that there is no limit to the amount of punitive damages you can seek. Wisconsin sets a limit in other contexts but not drunk driving cases. Let our car accident lawyers review whether this is an option for you.
Suing a Bar or Tavern
Generally, anyone who furnishes alcohol to a drunk driver is immune from a lawsuit. So if the drunk driver came from a tavern, you can’t sue the tavern. However, Wisconsin Statutes § 125.035 does contain some narrow exceptions.
For example, you can sue if the establishment misrepresented that its drinks did not contain alcohol. You can also sue an establishment that provided alcohol to someone under 21. Bringing this type of lawsuit can increase the amount of compensation you receive following a crash.
Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC is the firm to call following a drunk driving accident. We can negotiate a favorable settlement or file a lawsuit on your behalf.