When we think of the victims of drunk drivers, we usually imagine the things we can see – blood, mangled bodies, demolished cars.
When most people think of compensation for drunk driving victims, the first things they think of are most likely doctor bills, medical bills, and the costs of future medical care.
But, if you are injured by a drunk driver, you may also be dealing with unseen, unmeasurable emotional trauma and other hidden costs that are not always obvious to other people.
What are those hidden costs and can you be compensated for them?
The Hidden Costs Suffered by DUI Victims
Besides the pain and suffering of your injuries from the accident and the associated medical costs, most DUI accident victims suffer from prolonged stress and emotional trauma caused by the accident itself or by the chaos that their lives have been thrown into.
Stress is caused by the time and money required for medical care. You must get medical care, and it likely won’t be just one visit to the hospital – DUI accident injuries may require months or even years of treatment with doctors, physical therapists, and mental health professionals. All that treatment is expensive, and mounting medical bills make an already stressful situation even worse.
Stress is caused by the legal proceedings. You may have to suffer through depositions with insurance defense attorneys who will pry into your personal life and force you to relive the trauma of the accident itself.
You may suffer through what seems like endless court appearances waiting for the criminal trial of the drunk driver. Then you may be forced to sit through numerous court hearings in your own civil case as you wait for the insurance company to pay or the case to be scheduled for trial.
Stress caused by the loss of a job. You could easily find yourself out of work because of your injuries. Then it’s not just medical costs you have to worry about as your rent, electricity, and water bills start to pile up. When you can’t work, and you’ve got ever-growing medical bills, how do you buy groceries, clothes, and school supplies for your kids?
Victims of car crashes often suffer a psychological toll. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common among the survivors of DUI crashes and can lead to flashbacks, intrusive memories, anger, depression, and insomnia.
You may have trouble connecting with family and friends who do not understand what you are going through. Some DUI victims experience survivor’s guilt, and most find themselves struggling to control feelings of anger.
Can you recover these emotional and psychological costs from the drunk driver or their insurance company?
Many of these costs are not compensable in and of themselves, but 1) they can be incorporated into pain and suffering, punitive damages, or other elements of damages; and 2) the insurance company, the insurance defense attorneys, and the jurors need to know about them in order to maximize your recovery.
Insurance Companies Will Not Pay Full Compensation Without a Fight
When their insured was involved in a DUI accident, two things are at the front of insurance companies’ agents’ minds: 1) Drunk drivers are usually at fault, and 2) juries don’t like drunk drivers.
If you do not have a DUI accident personal injury attorney on your case, the insurance company may try to settle your case quickly. They want to give you as little money as possible before you know that you deserve compensation for not only your injuries but for future medical bills, pain and suffering, psychological trauma, missed wages, property damage, and even punitive damages.
Unlike in other kinds of auto accident cases, there is no cap on punitive damages in a DUI accident case.
This is just one of many reasons why you need to have an experienced auto accident lawyer on your side before you talk to the insurance company about your case – you do not want to take “nuisance money” from the insurance company that may not even cover your medical expenses. You want full compensation that covers every element of damages that is owed to you.
SC DUI Accident Attorneys in Myrtle Beach
The Myrtle Beach drunk driving accident lawyers at Coastal Law can help you to investigate your case, gather the evidence that you need, and negotiate your claim with the insurance company. Your attorney will make sure that you know all elements of damages that you are entitled to receive, demand maximum compensation from the insurance company, and try your case to a jury if they do not pay.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case today by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.