Do You Need a Lawyer after a Drunk Driving Accident?

Many people who suffer injuries in accidents caused by drunk drivers can believe that hiring an attorney will not be necessary because negligence is clear in their case, but the same people need to understand that there can still be complications in recovering financial compensation that make it important for any victim to invest in retaining legal counsel. When you are dealing with any kind of injury or death stemming from a drunk driving accident in Louisiana, you can only benefit from having a New Orleans drunk driving accident lawyer on your side.

The most recent Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Traffic Safety Data Report shows that 40.1 percent of traffic fatalities in the state were alcohol-related. The statistics also showed that 301 of 762 fatal crashes involved alcohol, with drivers having blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.02 or greater accounting for 225 crashes, drivers having blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.10 or greater accounting for 167 crashes, drivers having blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.2001 or greater accounting for 55 crashes.


Reasons Why a Personal Injury Attorney is Important for Drunk Driving Accident Cases

When you suffer injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you are right to want to seek as much financial compensation as will be possible in your case. You should not count on an insurance company for the negligent driver to be willing to provide that, though.

Chances are very likely that an insurance company will do whatever it can to minimize what it pays you, even when its driver was clearly under the influence at the time of a crash. When you have a lawyer working on your behalf, they will know how to negotiate the fairest and fullest settlement to your case effectively.

By retaining legal counsel, you will have a far better chance of recovering all of the different kinds of damages that may be applicable in your case. For example, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, and many noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or others.

Another important aspect of a drunk driving case is that the negligent driver may not be the only party who is liable in your case, and an attorney will benefit you by determining every single party that could be held responsible. Louisiana does not have the same dram ship laws as other states that allow people to sue merchants or social hosts who intoxicate guests, but there are certain exceptions to Louisiana Revised Statute § 2800.1.

While the state law essentially provides that drunk drivers are the only ones responsible for their actions, three important exceptions exist to this law. First, an establishment can be liable for selling alcohol to a person who was under the legal drinking age, a party can be liable if they forced an individual against their will to become intoxicated, or a party could also be liable for serving non-alcoholic drinks that actually contained alcohol. 


Call Us Today to Speak with a New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Did you suffer severe injuries or did your loved one die in a drunk driving accident in Louisiana, Texas, or another location in the Gulf Coast region? Make sure that you do not fail to contact Egenberg Trial Lawyers for complete assistance in recovering the most possible compensation for your injury case.

Our firm knows how to investigate drunk driving crashes and identify every single liable party, so you will be confident that you are able to get as much money as is available in your case. Call (504) 229-3117 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with our New Orleans drunk driving accident lawyer.

Can You Sue a Bar for Overserving Someone that Caused an Accident?

While dram shop laws can often impose potential liability on businesses selling alcohol to patrons who later cause injuries, Louisiana has dram shop laws that are much more limited than other states. If you need help identifying potentially liable parties for your drunk driving accident in Louisiana, you will want to speak with a New Orleans drunk driving accident lawyer.


The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) notes that 30 states have statutory provisions allowing certain licensed establishments to be liable for selling or serving alcohol to people who cause injuries or death as a result of intoxication, but 22 of the 30 states statutorily limit the liability to cases where an establishment sold or served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual or a person under the legal drinking age. The NCLS also points out that statutes in Louisiana exempt licensed establishments from liability except in the cases where they serve a person under the legal drinking age. 


Louisiana Dram Shop Laws

Louisiana Revised Statute § 2800.1 is the state law governing dram shop claims, and Louisiana Revised Statute § 2800.1.B states that no party selling or serving intoxicating beverages to a person over the age for the lawful purchase can be liable for any injury suffered off the premises because of the intoxication of a person to whom the intoxicating beverages were sold or served. Under Louisiana Revised Statute § 2800.1.C, social hosts serving alcohol are also immune to liability.


Louisiana Revised Statute § 2800.1.E does provide one important exception: The limitation of liability does not apply to any person causing or contributing to consumption of alcoholic beverages by force or by falsely representing that beverages are non-alcoholic. In these types of cases, then a merchant or social host may be liable.


Another possible exception could be for cases in which establishments sell alcohol to minors under 21 years of age. Pence v. Ketchum, 326 So.2d 831 (La.1976) was a Supreme Court of Louisiana decision that held that an alcoholic beverage retailer’s sale of alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person in violation of Louisiana Revised Statute § 26:88(2) gave rise to a cause of action by the patron who suffers injuries as a result of the intoxication.


In that case, the plaintiff was a patron of a bar who brought his action against the owners of the bar and another party to recover damages for injuries he suffered when she was struck by an automobile after being ejected from the bar in an intoxicated condition. His action was based upon Articles 2315 and 2316 of the Louisiana Civil Code.


The district court dismissed the lawsuit on an exception of no cause of action filed by the owners of the bar, and the Court of Appeal affirmed the district court by relying upon the Supreme Court of Louisiana’s holding in Lee v. Peerless Insurance Company, 248 La. 982, 183 So.2d 328 (1966). The Supreme Court of Louisiana noted that its decision in Lee was “widely criticized as unsound,” and most of the recent decisions have rejected the no-proximate-cause rubric, leading to it overruling Lee, reversing the Court of Appeals, overruling the peremptory exception of no cause of action, and remanding the case to the district court.


While Louisiana state law is generally unfavorable for dram shop claims, you should still discuss your case with an attorney to see if certain exceptions may exist in your case that can allow you to hold a third party liable. Only three years after its decision in Pence, the Supreme Court of Louisiana ruled in Thrasher v. Leggett, 373 So.2d 494 (La.1979), a case in which an intoxicated plaintiff suffered injuries in a fall when a bar bouncer attempted to eject him, that the plaintiff’s injury was not caused by a breach of duty by the bar owner or bouncer but rather by the plaintiff’s own unruly behavior. 


Call Us Today to Speak with a New Orleans Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If you sustain serious injuries or your loved one dies in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you will want to be sure you know every single party who may be accountable. Egenberg Trial Lawyers has decades of experience handling these types of cases and will be able to assist you in recovering as much compensation as possible.


Our firm will quickly conduct our own independent investigation into your crash and then be able to determine every single party you could be able to hold responsible, negotiating for a fair and full settlement to your case. You may call (504) 229-3117 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with our New Orleans drunk driving accident lawyer.