Drunk Driver FAQ’s

Information from Our Kansas City Car Accident Lawyers

About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and an estimated 39 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents are alcohol-related. As of 2004, 45 states had created laws making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 g/dl or higher. However, nearly half a million people are injured each year in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present – an average of one person injured approximately every minute. Contact Cullan & Cullan in Missouri and Kansas if you or a family member is injured in an alcohol-related crash. Our drunk driver accident lawyers can help victims understand their legal rights.

Frequently Asked Questions: Drunk Driver Accidents

I was hit by a driver cited for DUI/DWI, now what happens?

The suspect will appear within seven to 10 days before a judge to be formally arraigned on the DUI charge(s). You have the right to be present and heard by the judge at the arraignment. At this time, the defendant will be informed of the charges and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A Pretrial Disposition Conference (PDC) will be set approximately two to four weeks from the time of the arraignment, and you will be sent victim’s rights information to review. It is important that you contact experienced drunk driver accident lawyers to help you understand this information and ensure that your rights are protected.

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Who pays for my medical bills and other damages?

That depends on who is at fault, whether you and the other driver have insurance, and what kind of insurance you have. There are two major types of automobile insurance: liability and collision.

Liability – If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy’s limits. If you are not at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car damage and personal injuries up to the policy limits of the other driver’s policy.

Collision – Collision insurance pays for damages to you car (not your medical expenses) no matter who is at fault, minus the policy deductible.

You may have other insurance, too. Your health insurance, for example, may pay your medical bills. Also, your automobile insurance may have medical payments coverage. If so, it can pay the cost of necessary medical treatment for you and your passenger up to the medical payment policy limits.

If the other driver caused the accident and is not insured, your own policy may make up the difference for your personal injuries and damages. If you do not have these kinds of insurance or if your damages are more than the policy’s limit, you can sue the other driver.

Contact Cullan & Cullan if you’ve been seriously injured by a drunk driver. Our accident lawyers can help you understand insurance policies and laws that apply to your case. We can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and other damages, and will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

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What if a loved one has been killed by a drunk driver?

Tragically, in many alcohol-related accidents, another driver, passenger, or pedestrian is killed as a result of the drunk driver’s negligence. In these cases, a family member may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. If you are the family member of someone that passed away as the result of a drunk driver, you should seek legal assistance from qualified accident lawyers as soon as possible. Statutes of limitation may apply, which can affect your eligibility to claim.

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Can bars or night clubs be held partially responsible?

Yes, they can. Dram shop liability refers to the body of law governing the liability of taverns, liquor stores, and other commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages and liquor. Generally, dram shop laws establish the liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third-parties – those not having a relationship to the bar. These laws most commonly apply to drunk driver accident cases.

If you were injured by a drunk driver, your dram shop claim could be against the bar, liquor store, or night club that sold the driver the alcohol when he or she was obviously intoxicated.  In Missouri, Kansas, and Arizona, the drunk driver accident lawyers at Cullan & Cullan can help you understand dram shop laws and how they may apply to your individual case.

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Drunk Driving Accident and Injury Statistics

The following statistics emphasize the negative impact that drunk driving accidents have on our society:

  • There were 42,636 total motor vehicle accident deaths in the United States in 2004. 16,694 (39 percent) of these were alcohol related.
  • There were 1,150 total motor vehicle accident deaths in Arizona in 2004. 435 (38 percent) of these were alcohol related.
  • There were 1,130 total motor vehicle accident deaths in Missouri in 2004. 449 (40 percent) of these were alcohol related.
  • There were 461 total motor vehicle accident deaths in Kansas in 2004. 148 (32 percent) of these were alcohol related.
  • The majority of those who reported alcohol-related DUI in the 12 months prior to a national survey are not alcohol dependent or alcohol abusers.
  • Beer is the drink of choice in most cases of heavy drinking, binge drinking, drunk driving, and underage drinking. Alcohol-related fatalities are caused primarily by the consumption of beer (80 percent) followed by liquor/wine at 20 percent.
  • In 2004, 30 percent of all fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-related, compared to 51 percent on weekends. For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate was 5 percent during the week and 12 percent during the weekend.
  • The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than 3 times as high at night as during the day (60 percent vs. 18 percent). For all crashes, the alcohol involvement rate is 5 times as high at night (16 percent vs. 3 percent).
  • For fatal crashes occurring from midnight to 3:00 AM, 77 percent involved alcohol in 2003.  The next most dangerous time period for alcohol-related crash deaths were 9 PM to midnight (64 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol), followed by 3 AM to 6 AM (60 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol).
  • Forty-one percent of 1,672 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2004 had BAC levels of .08 g/dl or higher.  Sixty percent of those killed in single-vehicle crashes on weekend nights had BAC levels of .08 g/dl or higher. For more information on motorcycle accidents, click here.

For more information or a review of your case, Contact our personal injury firm. Serving Missouri and Kansas, our drunk driver accident lawyers can help victims restore their quality of life by obtaining the compensation they need to cover medical care, lost wages, and other damages. We would be honored to help you.

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Cullan & Cullan
4900 Main St, #310
Kansas City, Missouri 64112
Phone: (816) 861-7600
Toll Free: (866) 540-7600

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If you or a family member is injured in an alcohol-related crash, The Law Offices of Cullan & Cullan M.D., J.D. in Missouri, Kansas, and Arizona can help. Our drunk driver accident lawyers understand the devastation that these types of accidents can cause and they work to protect victims.

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Missouri Auto Accident Attorney Disclaimer: The information on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal or medical advice. This website is provided by The Law Offices of Cullan and Cullan M.D., J.D. for informational purposes only. Laws are very complex. You should not rely on a website or advice from a friend who had a case when it comes to making decisions about your rights. You should personally consult with an attorney as early as possible for advice regarding your own situation. Every situation is different. Every state is different. There are many factors that are important for an attorney to know before it is possible to give you advice on your case.