In our blog entries over the past few weeks we have mentioned numerous types of accidents that have been occurring this summer around the state. NC residents have already suffered from many car, truck, boat and motorcycle accidents this summer, some even involving the abuse of alcohol.
Early Sunday morning, the Charlotte area of North Carolina sadly saw yet another of these fatal auto accidents, this one also involving alcohol abuse. If you live in the state, you have probably already heard about this accident. As reported by WNCN (for WNCN’s updated article on this story, click here ) a college student, 20 years old, killed three people in a collision. He had been driving in the opposite direction down I-85 and was found to have been impaired by the use of alcohol. This tragedy is devastating. Whenever a tragedy like this occurs, it is imperative to take care of yourself and your family first.
Along with providing emotional support, caring for your family can also mean seeking justice. When you reach that step, we encourage you to call us. This way, we can worry about the work that needs to be done while you and your loved ones are at home recovering. In order for us to take over the legal part of the incident, there are some basic things you should do, if possible, after an accident to ensure your claim goes as smoothly as possible. It starts with seeing your doctor. Having your injuries officially diagnosed is important for this type of claim. You will then need to get a copy of the police report. If an officer came to the scene of the wreck, there will be a police report with that department. Next, call your insurance company as well as informing the insurance company of the other driver that the accident has occurred. Call them, but do not make any official statements or sign anything; give only basic information. After this, gather any records pertaining to the crash or your injuries, including photos of the crash scene, witness reports and medical bills.
Now that you have the basic information about what to do after a car accident, this blog entry may have you wondering what exactly you can do if you were involved in a car accident due to the intoxication of another driver. Since 2002, it has been illegal in every state to drive with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. However, even if a driver was not determined to have reached this BAC, they can still be considered impaired and liable for the accident. For more basic information about drunk driving accidents, click here.
Additionally, North Carolina is one of the lucky states to have a “dram shop” law enforced. Under this law, it is possible that you can sue the business that overserved the driver that hit you. This law makes it illegal for any establishment that sells alcohol to sell alcohol to someone who is a minor or to someone who is “noticeably or visibly intoxicated.” In addition, in order to establish liability, it has to be proven that the beverage was the reason for the impairment, and that the impairment then caused the crash. Obviously it can be difficult to determine what exactly happened in order to establish liability, but we are willing to take the time to see if we can do so.
Written by: Brawley Davis
Sources: WNCN and Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law; both are linked above.