Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Harford County
In the state of Maryland, an individual is considered to be legally drunk if he or she has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, 0.02 percent if the person is under the age of 21, or 0.04 percent if the individual is a commercial vehicle driver. Regardless of whether a person feels impaired, their BAC may be above the legal limit. No amount of alcohol is safe to imbibe when planning to get behind the wheel. The smartest thing to do is to avoid drinking altogether when driving.
Maryland Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), approximately 24,000 people are arrested for drunk driving every year in the state of Maryland. Sadly, many of the resulting drunk driving wrecks result in serious injuries and fatalities. The MVA’s report indicates that over the past five years, an average of 8,035 drunk driving car accidents have occurred each year, with an annual average of approximately 4,192 injuries and 175 fatalities.
Drunk drivers are also more likely to speed, which can cause even more severe property damage and injuries, should an accident occur. According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) report, in 2002, approximately 42 percent of drunk drivers involved in fatal car accidents were also speeding, compared to only 15 percent of sober drivers. In addition, drunk drivers are less likely to wear seat belts when they are driving.
Types of Lawsuits Against Drunk Drivers
Drunk drivers can face serious penalties for their actions and the victims will either pursue a civil suit or criminal proceedings.
- Civil Suit: This type of personal injury lawsuit is filed by the victims of the drunk driver or their family, if there is a fatality. A civil suit may be the victim’s only chance to recover damages, including medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and in certain cases, pain and suffering. A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil suit that the victim’s family may file in order to ensure that the surviving family receives financial compensation from the negligent party. Economic and noneconomic damages are available in a wrongful death suit, also.
- Criminal Suit: Criminal proceedings are meant to punish drunk drivers for their reckless behavior and protect the public from future harm. Penalties for a drunk driving conviction can include jail time, steep fines, probation, and restitution. It is possible for a drunk driver to face criminal prosecution, even if there is not an accident or injuries involved.
Dram Shop Liability is another type of lawsuit that holds a commercial vendor, such as a restaurant, bar, or liquor store, responsible for damages as a result of selling alcohol to a customer that was already intoxicated. While Dram Shop Lawsuits are not currently enacted in Maryland, new legislation may be introduced that will make this argument available to injury victims.
Harford County Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, you are encouraged to contact the Harford County car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We believe that drunk driving is a serious issue, one that should not go unpunished, particularly if it results in injuries and property damage. Our dedicated team will provide experienced, professional legal representation while we pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Harford County, which includes the municipalities of Aberdeen, Bel Air, and Havre de Grace.