Drunk Driving Accidents

Columbia Lawyers Helping Victims of Auto Accidents

People who drive in an intoxicated condition are not only violating Missouri law but also needlessly endangering the people around them. Victims of any collisions that result have the right to take legal action to hold a drunk driver accountable for his or her carelessness. The auto accident attorneys at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig have dedicated their practice to helping injured individuals in Columbia and surrounding communities. We can advise you on seeking compensation from the intoxicated driver who caused your harm.

Protect Your Rights by Taking Legal Action

Even though drunk driving awareness is at an all-time high, more than 3,500 Missouri residents are injured in alcohol-related accidents each year, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. In most cases, people who are hurt in these crashes can file a negligence claim, which consists of proving four essential elements. The first step is to show the existence of a duty owed to the victim by the drunk driver. The standard of care in most negligence cases is defined as what a reasonable person would do when faced with a similar situation. Every motorist must avoid unreasonable conduct on the road that risks the safety of the people around him or her.

What happens when a defendant fails to meet that standard? Any behavior that falls short of it is called a breach, which is the second element of a negligence case. Getting behind the wheel after too many drinks is very likely to be deemed a breach because it is unreasonable and dangerous behavior.

The third element of a negligence claim is causation. In Missouri, it is divided into two sub-elements. The defendant must be both the factual cause and the legal cause of the victim’s injuries to be held liable. Factual cause means that the accident would not have happened if the defendant had not acted carelessly, such as by driving drunk. If the victim’s injuries were also a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s behavior, legal cause may be established.

If someone hurt in a crash progresses through each of these steps and identifies actual damages that arose from the accident, he or she may be able to recover damages. These can account for physical, emotional, or financial forms of harm, and they may include compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.

People injured in a drunk driving accident may have other ways to seek compensation beyond an ordinary negligence claim. This particular type of crash is likely to give rise to a claim of negligence per se, which can apply when a defendant violates a safety-related statute. To use this theory of legal liability, a victim would need to show that he or she is part of the group of people that the law is designed to protect and that the harm caused by the defendant’s behavior was what the law was intended to prevent. Negligence per se can serve as a substitute for proving the elements of duty and breach in a more typical injury claim. The elements of causation and damages still must be proved.

Consult a Jefferson City Attorney after a Car Crash

If you were hurt by a drunk driver, you probably have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. The Law Office of Matt Uhrig is comprised of car crash lawyers who have decades of combined experience litigating cases for accident victims in Jefferson City, Columbia, and throughout Missouri. We will work diligently to understand the circumstances of your case and construct a plan for you to seek the compensation you deserve. Call (573) 657-2050 or visit our contact page to schedule a free case evaluation.

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