Drunk Driving Accident Victim Lawyers Serving Nevada
Drunk driving accidents are 100% preventable. Unfortunately, millions of motorists across the country make the unconscionable decision to drive drunk. In many cases, this choice often has tragic consequences.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people are killed every year in drunk driving accidents. Countless more individuals suffer life-altering injuries in these crashes.
If you or someone you love was harmed in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Burg Simpson has the experience, resources, and knowledge to hold the driver accountable and pursue the recovery you deserve.
To speak with a Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer, call Burg Simpson Law Firm at 702-668-2070 today. Your initial case evaluation is FREE and 100% confidential.
Do Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents Need an Attorney?
It is a common misconception that fair compensation will be easy to obtain following a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver was completely in the wrong, so why would you need to hire a lawyer?
The sad fact is that insurance companies are more concerned with their bottom line than the rights and needs of the victim. Even when a driver is unquestionably at fault for the accident, their insurance company will try to pay as little as possible.
Drunk driving accidents frequently result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Whether you have suffered injuries that will permanently alter your life or a member of your family has died, the costs are likely immense. Having a lawyer who can advocate on your behalf and fight for the compensation you deserve is critical.
What Is Nevada’s Drunk Driving Law?
In all 50 states (including Nevada), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Nevada also imposes penalties on motorists who drive while under the influence of a controlled substance, including marijuana, amphetamine, cocaine, and more (see Nevada Revised Statutes 484C.110).
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime. A driver may face fines, imprisonment, loss of license, and more if convicted. In addition to criminal liability, the driver may face civil liability for injuries and damages sustained as a result of an accident they cause while under the influence.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents?
It is all too common for drunk drivers to walk away from an accident with only minor injuries while other victims are seriously hurt. We would never wish anyone harm; however, such an outcome is not fair to the innocent people injured by a drunk driver’s recklessness.
Some of the most common injuries we see in drunk driving accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Injuries to the Neck & Back
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Chest Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Damage to Internal Organs
- Burn Injuries
- Loss of Limbs
This is not an exhaustive list of the injuries that may occur in a drunk driving accident. If you or a loved one suffered any kind of injury in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you owe it to yourself and those you love to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
How Many People Are Killed in Drunk Driving Accidents?
Statistics from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety show that substance use (i.e., use of alcohol and/or other drugs) is a factor in more than 50% of accidents and fatalities in the state. From 2020–2021 (the most recent year of data), drugs and alcohol were involved in 668 crashes and 717 deaths in total.
Year over year, Clark County had the most crashes and deaths in Nevada involving substance use. Las Vegas and other areas of Clark County saw 248 substance-involved accidents and 265 fatalities over a two-year period.
What Should I Do After a Drunk Driving Accident?
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of any car accident. Realizing that the other driver may be drunk only adds to your confusion and anger. Nonetheless, it is important to keep a clear head and do everything you can to protect your health and preserve your legal rights.
The steps you should take if you are involved in an accident with a suspected drunk driver include:
1. Call 911
If you or anyone else is injured in the crash, it is important to call for help right away. Ask for emergency personnel and the police to respond.
2. Get Medical Care
You may be treated and released at the scene, or it may be necessary to transport you to the emergency room. Whatever the paramedics’ recommendations are concerning medical treatment, it is in your best interest to follow them.
If you are able to leave the scene on your own, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Prompt medical attention is important for timely diagnosis of your injuries as well as documentation of the effects of the accident.
3. Exchange Information with the Driver
Dealing with a driver who appears to be intoxicated can be challenging. It is up to you to keep the situation in check and get the information you need for your claim. This includes:
- The driver’s name and contact information
- Vehicle information (year, make, and model)
- Proof of insurance and coverage information
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle license plate number
4. Talk to Witnesses
If anyone witnessed the accident, ask for their contact information and find out what they saw. Their testimony may help support your claim.
5. Provide a Statement to the Police
The police will investigate the accident to determine what happened and who is responsible. In addition to providing the officer with your statement, you should mention anything that makes you think the other driver may be drunk (e.g., a smell of alcohol on their breath, stumbling, erratic behavior, etc.). Law enforcement can determine if driving under the influence was a factor, and this information will be reflected in the official police report.
6. Contact an Attorney
Your priority after should be recovering from your injuries. A lawyer experienced in representing the victims of drunk driving accidents can help with multiple aspects of your case, including:
- Gathering evidence on your behalf
- Communicating with the insurance companies
- Making a claim and negotiating a fair settlement
- Filing a lawsuit (if necessary)
- Preparing your case for trial and representing you in court as needed
How Do I Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Case?
The signs of drunk driving might seem like they would be obvious. Drunk drivers commonly exhibit the following behaviors:
- Swerving and drifting between lanes of traffic
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Sudden, irregular changes in speed
- Near-misses; it is not uncommon for drunk drivers to nearly hit a vehicle, person, or object and quickly correct themselves
- Departures from the road
- Running red lights and stop signs, or disobeying other traffic signals
After an accident, a drunk driver may have slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and difficulty standing up or walking. If you observe any or all of these signs, it is important to make note and inform the police of your suspicions.
Unfortunately, your word is not enough to prove that the driver who caused the accident was drunk. The insurance company will look for any opportunity to avoid liability. A drunk driving accident lawyer can take on the burden of proving your case with evidence such as:
- The police report and any other legal documentation, including the results of field sobriety tests, blood and urine analysis, citations, arrest records, etc.
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Witness testimony
- Video surveillance footage
- Expert testimony (as needed)
The driver does not need to be convicted of driving under the influence for you to make an accident claim. Our lawyers will collect all pertinent evidence to ensure your case for compensation is well-supported.
What Damages Can I Recover for a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or someone you love is the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is important to account for all of the adverse effects the injuries have on your life. Damages in a personal injury claim may comprise financial losses as well as the impact on your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.
The compensation you may be entitled to in a drunk driving accident claim includes:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of ambulance services, emergency room care, hospital stays, surgery, physical therapy, etc.
- Lost wages
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity (i.e., loss of future income and the ability to make a living)
- Property damage
- The cost of medications, assistive devices, household services, and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- The inconvenience associated with physical and/or mental limitations
Victims of drunk driving accidents can also pursue additional compensation known as punitive damages. Courts in Nevada award punitive damages as a means of discouraging drunk driving and punishing motorists who engage in this behavior.
Nevada allows punitive damages to be awarded if it can be shown that the defendant “caused an injury by the operation of a motor vehicle … after willfully consuming or using alcohol or another substance, knowing that the defendant would thereafter operate the motor vehicle” (see Nevada Revised Statutes 42.010).
Compensation can be sought through a wrongful death claim if someone is killed in a drunk driving accident. In addition to compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the cost of medical care prior to death, loss of economic contributions, and loss of support and companionship—among other losses—you and your family may be entitled to punitive damages.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?
Personal injury and wrongful death claims in Nevada are subject to a 2-year statute of limitations. This is not a lot of time to hold the drunk driver responsible.
You will lose the opportunity to pursue the compensation you deserve if you wait too long to take legal action. It is important to begin exploring your legal rights as soon as possible to ensure our attorneys have time to investigate, gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance companies, and (if necessary) file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Does Nevada Have a Dram Shop Law?
Dram shop laws impose liability for personal injury on a party responsible for serving or selling alcohol to an individual who, as a result of intoxication, causes harm to someone else. Many states allow plaintiffs to sue bars and other establishments for drunk driving accidents. In Nevada, however, people and establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol (including restaurants, bars, casinos, clubs, etc.) are exempt from liability for the actions of an intoxicated patron.
The Nevada dram shop law does allow injured people to bring legal actions against social hosts (i.e., an unlicensed person or entity that serves alcohol) if the social host (a) knowingly furnishes a minor (someone under the age of 21) with alcohol, or (b) allows a minor to consume alcohol on premises controlled by the host. A drunk driving accident lawyer will explore all of your legal options and identify all potential defendants.
Burg Simpson Serves Drunk Driving Accident Victims Throughout Nevada
Shareholder and attorney Jack F. DeGree is the leader of Burg Simpson Nevada. Jack has earned multiple awards and honors for his service to plaintiffs in a wide range of personal injury matters in and around Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, drunk driving is a leading cause of serious and fatal accidents. Our extensive experience, knowledge, and dedication to changing our clients’ lives for the better drive our efforts to maximize compensation in each and every case.
We are not afraid to take on insurance companies—up to and including going to trial. This strong, uncompromising approach to litigation has enabled our firm to recover more than $2 billion for our clients.
A drunk driving accident lawyer at Burg Simpson can help if you were injured by an intoxicated driver in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada. Call 702-668-2070 today for a FREE and confidential case review.