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Drunk Driving Accidents and Personal Injuries in Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted by: on Wed, May 01, 2013

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Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in the United States, as well as in Nevada. It is estimated that one in three Americans will be involved in a drunk driving related accident at some time during their lives. According to figures released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 16,694 people were killed in 2004 in alcohol-related crashes in the United States. This figure represents 39% of all traffic deaths in our country. In fact, more than 500,000 Americans are injured annually in drunk driving accidents in the U.S.

Las Vegas is often called an “adult playground” and has become famous worldwide for its night clubs and abundance of alcohol, which is available at a variety of outlets 24/7. It is no surprise then that it is commonplace to see drivers negligently get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Although many residents and visitors will take advantage of the abundance of taxi cabs to help avoid accidents, it offers little consolation if you are one of the unfortunate ones to be hit by a drunk driver.

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Important Tips for the Scene of the Accident

If you are hit by a drunk driver, remember these key things to protect you during the legal process:

  • If you are hit by a drunk driver, call police to the scene immediately. Be cautious about speaking to the driver as they could become violent. Mention to the police that you believe they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel okay. Keep a detailed journal of any pain you may notice. Do NOT wait until it’s too late to collect on your injuries.
  • Collect on the diminished value of your vehicle – a car that has been in an accident suffers a substantial loss in value. Your settlement should compensate for the loss of value in your vehicle, called “diminished value”.
  • See if you qualify to seek punitive damages – if the driver was intoxicated and therefore egregiously negligent then you may be entitled to compensation for the unnecessary pain and suffering you were caused.

Talk to a Lawyer

Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you achieve the full value of your claim.

A lawyer will be aware of all the monies you are owed and will help you collect them in cases where the driver is difficult or hit-and-runs your car. Even if the driver flees the scene, if you have uninsured motorist coverage your insurance company will pay for your injuries as if it was the other car’s insurance company. This will also protect you in cases where the other driver is underinsured and their policy limits are unsatisfactory and not commensurate with your injuries. A lawyer may also help you receive medical attention and a rental vehicle if you do not have medical insurance.

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There is a Criminal as Well as Your Civil Case

A drunk driving personal injury claim is a serious matter and involves proving negligence of the other driver against their public defender or criminal defense attorney. A personal injury lawyer will also help you collect on a wrongful death claim if someone you love was killed as a result of the drunk driving accident. Although your relative or spouse’s life could never be replaced by any sum of cash, a personal injury claim could be life saving in the event they were the head-of-household.

Don’t be concerned if you can’t afford an attorney; most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis – meaning there are no upfront payments and no payment if the case is not won. This allows you to have the very best attorney represent you, no matter your income level.

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Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit

The illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Nevada is:

  • 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21
  • 0.04% for commercial license holders
  • 0.08% for the general public

The BAC applies only to alcohol. If any detectable amount of an illegal substance―like cocaine or marijuana―is found in your blood, you’ll receive at least the same penalties as you would for alcohol, and perhaps even more.

DUI Laws

The Illegal Per Se Law simply means that driving with a BAC at or above the legally prescribed limit is an offense in and of itself. However, because the BAC limits are just a guide, you can also be arrested or cited for having a lower―but still detectable―amount of alcohol in your system.

The Implied Consent Law means that you must submit to BAC testing when requested by a police officer. Getting into the car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol already “implies” your consent to being tested. If you resist, law enforcement has been given permission to use reasonable force. You can also be arrested immediately for resisting (this is the more likely result).

Driving while intoxicated is arguably the most negligent and reckless traffic violation a person can commit. Every year, thousands of individuals suffer serious injury in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

More than 33% of fatal accidents involve a driver who has a BAC of 0.08 or higher – the legal limit to drive in the state of Nevada.

Not only is your chance of getting into an accident quadrupled at this amount, the chances of causing serious injury are equally as high.

Recovering Full Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident

In Nevada, an individual must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in order to be considered legally incapable of operating a vehicle. In order to receive fair compensation for your drunk driving accident injuries and other damages, it is vital that you obtain documentation of the liable party’s intoxication. This includes police and witness statements, contact information of all involved parties, photographs, videos, and any other possible evidence. The legal team at Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright can help you establish liability, so call now to schedule an initial consultation.

Drunk driving accidents are also notorious causes of wrongful death. If one of your immediate family members was killed by a drunk driver, our firm can help you win fair compensation for their death. Attorney Mark Albright lost his sister-in-law and nephew in a case where alcohol was suspected on a Las Vegas freeway, but the hit and run driver hid out in a local hotel until it was impossible for the police to prove intoxication. The driver was eventually convicted of hit and run and sent to prison for several years.

Recover Your Damages with Legal Help

The Law Office of Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright has been in practice for over 40 years and has more than 165 years of collective legal experience. We’ve handled all kinds of personal injury cases. Our goal is to assist anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of another person, so contact our firm today to get started. We offer a free consultation to help you make an educated decision regarding your legal case. You have limited time to file a claim under the statute of limitations, so call now!

The Nevada Department of Public Safety recently released the following statistics showing that in 2012 Nevada experienced 170 accident fatalities, of which 30 were related to alcohol:

COUNTY 2011 Crashes 2012 Crashes % Change 2011  Fatalities 2012 Fatalities % Change 2011 Alcohol Crashes 2012 Alcohol Crashes % Change 2011 Alcohol Fatalities 2012 Alcohol Fatalities % Change
CARSON 2 1 -50% 3 1 -67% 0% 0%
CHURCHILL 8 4 -50% 13 4 -69% 3 -100% 3 -100%
CLARK 112 152 36% 117 170 45% 41 27 -34% 44 30 -32%
DOUGLAS 12 5 -58% 12 7 -42% 4 2 -50% 4 4 0%
ELKO 14 10 -29% 18 11 -39% 4 2 -50% 4 2 -50%
ESMERALDA 3 2 -33% 5 2 -60% 0% 0%
EUREKA 2 1 -50% 2 1 -50% 0% 0%
HUMBOLDT 3 5 200% 3 5 200% 1 1 0% 1 1 0%
LANDER 4 4 0% 4 4 0% 1 100% 1 100%
LINCOLN 3 2 -33% 3 2 -33% 0% 0%
LYON 11 4 -64% 16 7 -56% 4 -100% 5 -100%
MINERAL 1 2 100% 1 2 100% 0% 0%
NYE 15 8 -47% 15 8 -47% 3 -100% 3 -100%
PERSHING 2 1 0% 2 1 -50% 1 1 0% 1 1 0%
STOREY 0% 0% 0% 0%
WASHOE 29 31 7% 30 31 3% 10 3 -70% 10 3 -70%
WHITE PINE 2 2 0% 2 2 0% 0% 0%
YTD 223 234 5% 246 258 5% 71 37 -48% 75 42 -44%
TOTAL 11 223 —– 5% 246 —– 5% 71 -48% 75 —– -44%

Despite public pressure and strong laws, people still drive while intoxicated and cause wrecks that have tragic results. Across the country, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That means one drunk driving fatality occurred every 51 minutes. Although an improvement over prior years, we still have a long way to go.

What does “Blood-Alcohol Content – BAC” Mean?

Alcohol is a depressant. This means it slows your breathing rate and heart rate. It also impairs mental activity (cognitive skills) like your driving reaction time, and it affects your physical activities, including eye-hand coordination (psychomotor skills), according to the nonprofit DUI Foundation.

A person’s BAC – blood-alcohol content or concentration – is the amount of alcohol in his or her blood. When you consume alcohol, it stays in your bloodstream until it is broken down by the liver, the National Institute of Health explains on its PubMed Health website. If you drink alcohol faster than the liver can break it down, your BAC will rise. The effects of alcohol may appear within 10 minutes and peak around 40 to 60 minutes after taking a drink.

The DUI Foundation describes the symptoms of increased BAC levels:

  • 0.03 – 0.59 percent – Reduced inhibitions, impaired alertness, judgment, coordination, and concentration
  • 0.06 – 0.10 – Impaired reflexes, reasoning, depth perception and vision
  • 0.11 – 0.20 – Motor impairment, including decreased reaction time and motor control, staggering and slurred speech
  • 0.21 – 0.29 – Confusion, stupor, loss of understanding, impaired sensations, possible loss of consciousness and memory blackout
  • 0.30 – Bladder function, breathing and heart rate are seriously impaired; severe depression, unconsciousness and even death are a risk.

Since 2002, it has been illegal in all 50 states to drive with a BAC that is 0.08 percent or higher.

Drunk driving is an extremely reckless decision. Drunk drivers often cause serious and fatal accidents. If you have a concern that you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to another driver’s negligence, particularly caused by driving impaired, please call one of the attorneys at Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright in Las Vegas, Nevada at 702-384-7111.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 888-927-8551.

Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.