Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Howard County
Every time someone gets behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol, they are risking their lives and the lives of other innocent drivers on the road. It is a common fact that drinking and driving do not mix, yet far too many people continue to do it, often with devastating consequences. According to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Highway Safety Plan, approximately 24,000 people are arrested for drunk driving every year in Maryland, resulting in approximately 4,192 injuries and 175 fatalities. These accidents could have been avoided if the drivers had made the responsible choice to not drink and drive.
In the state of Maryland, a person is considered to be legally drunk if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 that have a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher, and commercial vehicle drivers with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher are considered legally impaired. A person’s BAC is based on a number of factors including the person’s gender and weight. Ideally, you should avoid driving at all if you plan on having even one drink.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people who make the choice to drive while intoxicated are also more likely to make other irresponsible choices. For example, drunk drivers are less likely to wear seat belts while driving, compared to sober drivers. In addition, drunk drivers are more likely to exceed the speed limit, which likely contributes to the high number of drunk driving-related fatalities.
Legal Options for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
- Civil Suits: When a victim is injured in a drunk driving accident, they may pursue a civil suit, which is filed as a personal injury A civil suit may be a victim’s only opportunity to obtain compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Civil suits for drunk driving accidents are separate from any criminal charges the drunk driver may face.
- Criminal Proceedings: When a person is charged with drunk driving, criminal proceedings are meant to protect the public from future harm. In addition, a criminal suit is designed to punish the drunk driver for acting in a reckless and irresponsible manner. Penalties for drunk driving tend to be severe, including steep fines, loss of driving privileges, jail time, and restitution. A drunk driver may face criminal prosecution even if there was no accident or injuries involved.
- Wrongful Death Suit: If a loved one is fatally injured in a drunk driving car accident, surviving family members may file a wrongful death civil suit on behalf of the victim’s estate. A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury negligence lawsuit, which ensures that the surviving family members are financially compensated for their loss.
Dram Shop Liability
Dram shop liability means that a commercial vendor such as a bar, restaurant, or liquor store, can be held liable for damages resulting from an accident if an employee sold alcoholic beverages to a patron who was intoxicated. Maryland does not currently allow dram shop lawsuits, but new legislation may make this liability argument more accessible in the future.
Howard County Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a drunk driving wreck, do not hesitate to contact the Howard County car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. No one should have to endure the physical and emotional pain of injuries from a drunk driving accident. Our experienced and dedicated team will aggressively pursue the negligent party and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To set up 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 Howard County, Maryland, which includes the cities of Columbia, Elkridge, Ellicott City, Fulton, Highland, Ilchester, Laurel, and North Laurel.