Drunk Driving Accidents
Of the 918 alcohol-related accidents on Utah’s roads in 2021, 55 resulted in fatalities, and 313 led to injuries. The number of people who lost their lives was 61, while an estimated 485 sustained injuries. The average blood alcohol concentration for impaired drivers arrested for suspected DUI was 0.165, and 66% of those drivers also had other drugs in their systems.
If you sustained severe injuries or lost someone you love due to another person’s decision to get behind the wheel when impaired, you deserve just compensation for your losses. A drunk driving attorney from Siegfried and Jensen can help you navigate the legal process and obtain a fair settlement.
Leave Your Case in Our Hands
The trauma of an accident involving an impaired driver is enough for you to handle. If you received serious injuries in the accident, all your focus should be on recovery and getting your life back on track. At an initial consultation, we will assess your case and provide you with potential options for moving forward. Though you are not obligated to retain our services, if you do, we take care of all the work while you work on healing.
Conducting the Investigations
Building a solid case requires thorough investigations to determine the cause and fault of the accident. Even if law enforcement arrested the other driver for driving while intoxicated, getting the best outcomes rests on constructing an accurate accounting.
Our legal team conducts all the investigations, gathering police and physicians’ reports and obtaining statements from witnesses and relevant professionals. They may also go out to the crash site and take photos or gather video footage.
Handling the Communications
Talking to insurance companies or the defendant’s attorneys is often a frustrating experience. Furthermore, it is all too easy to mistakenly say something that the other side can use against you during legal proceedings. Drunk driving accident lawyers have the necessary experience for communicating with insurance representatives and attorneys. We also have the resources to persist when efforts to contact doctors and witnesses don’t go as quickly or smoothly as desired.
Completing the Paperwork
Who likes completing paperwork? It’s even more tedious and arduous when you must fill out legal or insurance forms. At Siegfried and Jensen, we take care of the paperwork. It is just another aspect of the job for us, and we do it so often that we can usually complete it much more quickly than our clients can. We also have the experience to ensure accuracy.
Representing You in Negotiations
It’s extremely rare for both sides to agree on fault determinations and damage awards immediately. There are almost always negotiations involved. Without a drunk driving accident attorney’s assistance, you may not receive the compensation you deserve. We know how to present your case and counter the defense’s arguments for reducing their client’s responsibility and lowering the damage award. We represent you in negotiations and won’t back down from a fair settlement.
Going To Bat for You in Court
If the other side does not agree to a fair settlement, we go to bat for you in court. Though very few personal injury cases ever make it in front of a judge and jury, we won’t hesitate to take your case to court when necessary.
Understand the Relevant Laws
When an impaired driver contributes to an accident that results in injuries, it may seem like it is a cut-and-dry case. However, almost all car crashes are more legally complex than they appear. As such, having an in-depth knowledge of and experience with relevant Utah laws is crucial to winning a personal injury claim, even one involving a drunk driver.
Utah’s Blood Alcohol Limit
The state’s legal BAC limit used to be 0.08, but in 2017 the legislature successfully lowered the level to 0.05. The law took effect at the end of 2018. While the law reduces the level the legal system considers drunk driving, a drunk driving case isn’t always as straightforward as obtaining the results of a chemical BAC test. Utah has an implied consent law that applies to impaired driving. A driver cannot refuse a chemical BAC test but only if the driver is under arrest for drunk driving.
If the driver is not obviously impaired, the police officers at the scene may not arrest the motorist for suspected DUI. Furthermore, a person’s BAC level does not have to be 0.05 or higher to impair the individual’s driving. If any of the facts of the case indicate alcohol might have played a role in the accident, Siegfried and Jensen’s drunk driving attorneys thoroughly investigate the possibility that the at-fault driver drove while under the influence.
Utah’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law
Even if the other driver operated a vehicle while under the influence, you may not be entitled to the entire damage award. Often, insurance companies and the courts assign multiple parties a percentage of fault in traffic accidents. It doesn’t matter how severe your injuries are; if they assign some of the blame to you, it impacts your settlement.
How To Prove Negligence
Proving negligence in a personal injury claim is critical to the case’s outcome. To establish that the other party’s negligence led to the accident that caused your injuries, you need to demonstrate the following:
- Duty of care: All motorists have a duty of care to all other vehicle occupants, motorcycle riders, cyclists and pedestrians around them. When a driver gets behind the wheel, this duty is assumed.
- Breach of duty: When motorists engage in drunk driving, they breach their duty of care. They may also act irresponsibly in other ways, including breaking other road rules. Demonstrating this aspect of negligence is one of the most critical elements in a drunk driving case.
- Causation: Though driving under the influence is a criminal offense, it does not automatically mean that the other party caused the accident. It is up to the plaintiff to prove that the other driver’s intoxication caused the accident.
- Harm: The final factor in proving negligence is harm or injury. Claimants must demonstrate that they suffered injuries from the accident and that those injuries were severe enough to warrant compensation.
If you were a driver of another vehicle when the accident occurred, you also had responsibilities to others on the road. Even if the drunk driver walked away unscathed, the defendant’s representatives or the courts would consider whether you failed in your duty of care when determining how much of the settlement you are eligible to receive.
How Modified Comparative Negligence Works
If you bear some responsibility for your injuries, you stand to lose some or all of the damage award. Utah has a modified comparative fault rule. If you are more than 50% responsible, you forfeit the entire settlement award. If you are 50% or less responsible, then you receive a sum that is the total damages less your percentage of fault.
Get the Legal Assistance You Deserve
At Siegfried and Jensen, we understand what is at stake when you sustain injuries or lose someone you love due to the irresponsible drinking behaviors of another driver. For over 30 years, we’ve represented clients in Utah personal injury cases. We are here for you, too. Let us handle the work while you concentrate on recovery. We don’t collect any fees unless we win your case. Get in touch with us today for a risk-free consultation.
Finding the right Utah car crash attorney
Siegfried and Jensen is your best choice for experienced Utah drunk driving accident lawyers.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a drunk driving crash and you’re not being treated fairly, you need an experienced drunk driving accident attorney who can give you the aggressive, personalized legal representation you need.
When you team up with our expert injury lawyers you can expect the best:
- We’ll answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire process.
- We’ll help you get the care you need to recover your old life or adapt to a new one.
- We’ll pull together the information needed to build your case, including medical records, police reports, insurance policies, expert testimony, etc.
- We’ll make sure that everyone plays by the rules and treats you fairly.