Des Moines Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
In the event that an individual causes an injury accident because he or she was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, civil charges can be filed against the liable party. At the Iowa law firm of LaMarca Law Group, P.C., a Des Moines drunk driving accident lawyer with extensive litigation experience and an exhaustive understanding of the law and insurance contracts can help ensure that your rights are protected if you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver. The trial attorneys at our firm can use their resources and experience to bring your case to a successful resolution.
To schedule a free consultation with a Des Moines drunk driving accident victim’s attorney at LaMarca Law Group, P.C., contact us today by calling (515) 225-2600.
Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuits
Drunk driving accidents are responsible for a significant amount of serious injuries (including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries) and deaths in the United States each year and pose a serious risk to all motorists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2006, there were 16,855 deaths in drunk driving accidents. This accounts for nearly 40 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities in the United States during the course of the year. Unfortunately, this means that nearly half of all traffic fatalities every year could be avoided if only people didn’t make the willful, negligent, and heinous choice to drive while intoxicated.
If you have suffered an injury in a drunk driving accident, LaMarca Law Group, P.C. can help. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible to obtain financial compensation for any medical costs associated with the accident, including rehabilitation costs, past loss of wages, future impairment of earning capacity (including loss of future wages), as well as emotional and physical pain and suffering.
As driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) is illegal and places other motorists and pedestrians at risk, it may also be possible to file for punitive damages in addition to compensation damages for actual losses and expenses. In highly egregious causes of injury or death, such as drunk driving, the law allows a jury to punish the liable party for his or her actions to deter the wrongdoer and others from such conduct in the future. In the event of a loved one’s death, we can help you and your family file a wrongful death claim to ensure that you are justly compensated for funeral costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.
Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident
In the state of Iowa, it may be possible to file civil charges against not only the negligent driver in the event of a drunk driving accident, but also the party which sold the alcohol to the driver. Known as Dram Shop Liability, the law is designed to hold those parties which sell alcohol to a visibly inebriated individual or an individual whom the party should have known would become inebriated, liable for any damages that occur as a result of the intoxicated individual operating a motor vehicle.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an auto accident that was caused by a drunk driver, an auto accident lawyer from LaMarca Law Group, P.C. can help. We can fully investigate and review your case (free of charge) and determine which parties are liable to compensate you and/or your family for damages. It is in your best interest to promptly bring actions against any and all liable parties to help ensure you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Notice must be given to the party deemed responsible within a set time period or your claim will be lost.
Drunk Driving and Other Alcohol-Related Cases Have a Very Short Filing Deadline
In many situations, a victim who is injured by an intoxicated person has the right under Iowa law to bring a lawsuit against the party that served alcohol to the offender — which could be a bar, a restaurant, or another establishment with a “liquor license.” This is called a “dram shop” case. In general terms, a dram shop lawsuit can be filed against a bar or restaurant who sold and served alcohol to a person when the server knew or should have known that the person was intoxicated, or served the person alcohol to a point where the server knew or should have known that the person would become intoxicated.
But, a very short deadline applies to these cases: the injured person must give written legal notice of the claim within 6 months of the occurrence of the injury to either the establishment or to its insurance carrier. The notice must indicate the time, place, and circumstances causing the injury. If you or your lawyer fails to give this legal notice within 6 months, you may completely lose your right to file a claim under Iowa’s dram shop laws.
Do not lose the right to sue for injuries and damages caused by an intoxicated person. A dram shop case is a complicated legal proceeding that requires knowledge of a number of laws. If you have any questions or would like any assistance with a dram shop or alcohol-related injury to you or any member of your family, do not hesitate to call the lawyers at LaMarca Law Group, P.C. We are here to help. There is never any charge for an initial consultation, and there is no fee unless there is a recovery made on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions
The aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. To try to ease this burden, we have included the answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently at our office below.
My family member was injured in a drunk driving accident. We filed a personal injury claim but they have since died from their injuries. Can I now file a wrongful death lawsuit?
It is very common for drunk driving accident victims to be taken to a hospital only to succumb to their injuries and pass away days or weeks later. If you and your family have already taken legal action and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the intoxicated driver, you can take action again and change the status of your case from personal injury to wrongful death. Unfortunately, this can be a complicated and emotionally taxing event, especially in the days following the loss of a loved one where you and your family are in mourning. Fortunately, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can handle every step of this process so you can grieve properly.
How do you calculate the value of a drunk driving wrongful death case?
The unfortunate reality in every wrongful death lawsuit is that no amount of money can bring back your loved one. However, you and your family still may need financial compensation after the loss of a loved one to avoid dire financial circumstances. The amount is determined based on a number of factors including the age of the deceased, how much money they were earning at the time, future earning potential, medical bills and other expenses related to their death, and the financial outlook of the family members left behind. Furthermore, drunk driving cases are unique because insurance companies, juries, and judges widely recognize how destructive driving while intoxicated is and how much pain it can cause surviving family members. Because of this, many insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid taking the case to court where juries may act emotionally, giving plaintiffs an advantage in negotiating and receiving the full amount of compensation they deserve.
Can I still recover financial compensation if the driver isn’t able to pay?
Wrongful death settlements can range anywhere from tens of thousands to even millions of dollars. In many cases, individual drivers aren’t financially able to simply write you a check. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to recover financial compensation from a drunk driver. In most cases, you can recover the money from the insurance company that provides the driver with liability insurance. In the event the driver doesn’t have coverage, your insurance company can pay thanks to the uninsured motorist policy. If the driver left a bar, restaurant, or other establishment before getting in the accident, you may be able to recover compensation from that establishment under dram shop laws. Also, the driver’s employer or the employer’s insurance company may be forced to pay if the driver was on the job or driving a company vehicle at the time of the accident. Whatever the circumstances, a skilled and aggressive legal representative will do everything in their power to get you and your family the compensation you deserve so you can take the first steps moving forward.
You should seek legal counsel from an experienced and qualified attorney if you or a family member have been the victim of a drunk driving accident. A Des Moines drunk driving victim’s lawyer from our Des Moines law office can review your case and determine your claim eligibility. If we feel you have a legitimate claim, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure that you obtain just and fair compensation for your suffering.
Contact us today at (515) 225-2600 to set up a consultation about your case.
To learn more about the important role that demonstrative evidence can play in motor vehicle accident cases, click here. To learn more about issuing legal notice before filing an alcohol related suit, click here.