North Carolina Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.1 establishes that a person commits the crime of impaired driving if he or she operates a motor vehicle in the state while under the influence of an impairing substance, whether it is alcohol or a Schedule I controlled substance. In most jurisdictions, this crime is known as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
One of the major reasons for the enactment of drunk driving laws nationwide was the intent to reduce the number of accidents caused by intoxicated motorists. Drunk driving crashes frequently result in very serious or even fatal injuries.
Victims of these accidents can be entitled to compensation from the drivers, but not the parties that served them alcohol. Impaired driving criminal cases are completely separate from personal injury claims, which are civil actions. Convictions in criminal cases may be used as evidence against drivers in civil actions, but a driver who is acquitted of drunk driving charges can still be held civilly liable.
North Carolina Drunk Driving Laws
Like many other states, North Carolina’s impaired driving law establishes a legal blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08. When a drunk driver causes serious injuries or death to another person, victims or their families could be entitled to compensatory damages that include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages could also be available, although they are rarely awarded.
The drunk drivers themselves can be personally liable for damages, but it is important to work with an experienced attorney because other parties could also be held accountable.
North Carolina also has a “dram shop” law that allows some victims to seek compensation from vendors who served alcohol to people who then caused traffic accidents. The one catch to North Carolina’s dram shop law is that North Carolina General Statute § 18B-121 only applies to alcohol served to minors. While state law does prohibit vendors from serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated persons, the law does not allow a person to seek damages from the vendor.
Social hosts, or people who host private parties, are not afforded the same limited liability as vendors of alcohol. If a person serves alcohol to any person who the host knew or should have known was intoxicated and would be driving, the host could be liable for damages stemming from an accident caused by the drunk driver.
North Carolina DUI Accident Lawyer
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver in North Carolina? You will want to contact Need an Injury Lawyer North Carolina as soon as possible.
Our firm is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and handles cases on a contingency fee basis so clients do not pay anything without receiving financial awards. Our experienced personal injury lawyers provide a free, no obligation consultation at which we can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.