Drunk driving is a crime that kills. Every year, thousands of people die in alcohol-related car accidents. Many more suffer life-changing injuries, such as damage to the brain or spinal cord. People who drive under the influence and cause harmful collisions can face criminal and civil penalties for their actions. Police can charge the person with a misdemeanor or felony DUI in Kansas City, and accident victims can bring personal injury lawsuits. For legal assistance with personal injury and wrongful death claims after a DUI crash, come to Wendt Law Firm P.C. to speak with our award-winning Kansas City drunk driving accident attorneys.
Why Choose Our Personal Injury Attorneys After a Kansas City Drunk Driving Accident?
Our KCMO injury lawyers are always prepared to go to court for drunk driving accident claims. We recognize that some cases, especially those involving serious injuries such as brain injuries and spinal injuries, cannot settle for fair amounts and require trials for full compensation.
At Wendt Law, we believe that everyone should have access to high-quality legal representation, which is why we offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis. That means you only pay if your case is successful, and our fee is taken as a percentage of your settlement. No hidden fees and you will not be left out of pocket.
We have over 50 years of combined experience helping victims of personal injury, including numerous drunk driving accident victims.
Our lead attorney, Samuel Wendt, is award-winning, including Top 50 Super Lawyers in Kansas City and Thomson Reuters’ Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyer several years running for his exceptional work in personal injury law.
We are deeply committed to the attorney-client relationship. We will always take the time to listen and respond to you and will do everything possible for your case.
We have experience dealing with large insurance companies with big legal teams and will not be afraid to fight them in court if they will not settle your claim fairly.
We offer a free case evaluation to everyone, so you can make an informed choice.
Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident in Kansas City, MO
The steps you take after a car accident can seriously affect your claim. It is important to know what steps to take to protect your rights. One of the most important things you could do is to contact a law firm that offers a free consultation so that you can get quick advice from a legal professional.
Check for Injuries – The first step is to check yourself, and everyone around you for catastrophic personal injuries that require immediate medical attention. If so, you must call for paramedics as quickly as you can.
Call The Police – Any accident with severe property damage or any personal injury should be attended to by the police. They will also complete a police report which will be invaluable in your case. Even if you do not think the accident warrants police presence, if the other driver is visibly intoxicated then you should contact the police so that they do not put anyone else in harm’s way.
Collect Evidence – If your injuries allow, then it is a good idea to collect evidence from the scene that could serve your case. Take pictures, get the contact information of any witness, take down the information and car registration of other drivers, and ask the police officer for his name and number so that you can easily get a copy of the police report later.
Seek Medical Attention – If paramedics were not called to the scene then you must see a doctor as soon as you can. Without a medical report, you may not be able to make a claim. Additionally, you may have hidden injuries, and the sooner you seek advice from a medical professional, the better you protect your health.
Contact Insurance – You are required to inform your insurance company of a crash, however, do not sign anything, agree to any amount of money, or admit fault in any way. Once you accept a settlement, you will give up your right to fight for more. Insurance adjusters are skilled at getting people to accidentally weaken their claims. Approach insurance companies with caution, and seek advice from an attorney who is prioritizing your interests.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney – An attorney will protect your rights, and maximize your chance at fair compensation. Call Wendt Law today for a free initial consultation, and we will offer you immediate advice to protect your future. You should not have to deal with a drunk driving accident claim alone.
Common Injuries After an Accident with a Drunk Driver in Kansas City
An intoxicated driver often acts erratically, which can lead to serious accidents and life-changing injuries. Our Kansas City drunk driving accident attorneys represent victims with all types of serious injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury such as a concussion or swelling of the brain is common after an auto accident. A jolt or blow to the head could impact the brain and lead to lifelong brain damage. You can claim compensation on behalf of a loved one if their injuries prevent them from doing so. The money will help you make the necessary adjustments to your home and life without financial stress.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Some of the most severe injuries are those to the back and spinal cord. A crush or fracture could lead to permanent injury such as paralysis. Even less serious injuries such as nerve damage or a slipped disc can cause chronic pain and could seriously impact your quality of life. It is essential that this is taken into account and that you are properly compensated.
Whiplash is the most common car accident injury. Whiplash can be severe, leading to long-lasting pain and impairment. You should recover compensation for any injury which causes ongoing pain or a change in the way you lead your life.
The forward motion of the vehicle could result in a collision with the dashboard or ignition, which could lead to broken legs, shattered knee caps, or broken ribs. Broken bones or torn ligaments will inevitably lead to damages such as medical expenses and lost wages.
In the worst accidents, death can occur. If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, then you deserve compensation. Wrongful death claims can be complex, and add stress to what is an already incredibly painful situation. That is why you need an attorney who understands your situation and who can handle your case with the care and consideration it deserves.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me in Kansas City, MO
Most people who have been involved in accidents involving drunk drivers, should not try and handle the case alone. Drunk driving crashes can lead to life-changing and serious injuries which deserve quality legal representation.
A lawyer will ensure that you are not taken advantage of by insurance companies, whose goal is to save money and minimize your compensation. At Wendt Law, we have the skills and resources to demand maximum compensation from the drunk driver, and any other reckless parties such as the dram shop for supplying alcohol.
It isn’t only tangible economic damages that you should be compensated for such as medical bills and lost wages, but also your pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in your life. These things are not easy to quantify, but your attorney at Wendt Firm will not rest until you get what you deserve.
Your drunk driving accident attorney will guide you on every step of your injury claim. They will investigate your crash and collect evidence such as eyewitness statements, CCTV footage, mechanic reports, and police reports. They may draw upon experts such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts to ensure that the full extent of your injuries are considered.
While everyone agrees that a drunk driver should be held accountable for their actions, the courts require you to prove fault for an accident. Your attorney will prove that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care to you and that you suffered as a result.
Can I Claim Punitive Damages Following a Kansas City Drunk Driving Accident?
A successful personal injury claim will compensate you for both economic and non-economic damages. There is also a third category called punitive damages, which are only awarded in specific circumstances.
Punitive damages serve to punish the perpetrator, rather than compensate the victim. They are awarded in circumstances where the at-fault parties’ actions were particularly reckless. They are therefore relatively common in drunk driving accidents, due to the egregious nature of the act.
Only a judge can award punitive damages, and only if they believe the situation justifies it, and the evidence is absolutely clear. The defendant must have acted in a deliberate way and with disregard for others’ safety.
In a drunk driving accident case, your attorney may fight for punitive damages by demonstrating that the driver reasonably could have foreseen the risk of harm to others by drinking and driving.
Drunk Driving Statistics in Kansas City
The daily death toll from drunk driving in the U.S. is around 30 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drunk driving takes more than 10,000 lives each year. In 2016, federal drunk driving statistics showed over one million drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many defendants who cause drunk driving injuries and deaths are repeat offenders. In Kansas, there were 1,993 alcohol-related accidents in 2017, while Missouri had 2,613 the most recent year data is available. Strategies to help KC reduce the risk of drunk driving include public education, law enforcement, and technology to catch offenders before they cause car accidents.
Drunk Driving Laws
Regardless of whether you are in Missouri or Kansas, every state in the United States is governed by federal laws which state that driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above is breaking the law. However, for people under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol is considered drunk driving.
BAC can be affected by gender, weight, tolerance, as well as how much someone has drunk. Unfortunately, it is common for people to drive over the limit without realizing it.
Driving while intoxicated seriously hinders your ability to make judgments, react quickly and drive safely. It can also lead to loss of muscle control, poor coordination, and lack of concentration.
What Is Your Drunk Driving Accident Case Worth?
Many accidents involving drunk or drugged drivers are catastrophic for victims. Drunk drivers often speed, drive the wrong way, or otherwise drive recklessly, increasing the odds of a serious accident. Many victims do not survive these collisions. Those that do survive can suffer life-altering injuries such as multiple bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. Drunk driving crash cases are often high in value in terms of insurance settlements and lawsuits.
Do not let an insurance company downplay your losses during negotiations for a settlement. Learn the true, accurate value of your case by asking a Kansas City personal injury attorney. You can trust a lawyer to want to maximize your compensatory award, not minimize it. An attorney can review your losses and help you understand whether you can seek compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, legal costs, or property damages. Then, your lawyer can help you receive a fair award through diligent legal services and aggressive representation.
How Long Do You Have to File?
Bringing your drunk driving accident claim comes with a time limit in Kansas City. Each state has unique statutes of limitations. If your crash happened on the Kansas side of state lines, you will have two years from the date of your accident to file. On the Missouri side, you will have five years – unless your case involves wrongful death, in which case you will only have three years from the date of death. Talk to a Kansas City drunk driving accident attorney right away to avoid missing your deadline.
Contact a Kansas City Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
There is never a good reason to put other people at risk. Car accidents are mentally and physically traumatic and can affect people for the rest of their lives.
If you or someone you love has been in a drunk driving accident, you deserve to recover damages. In doing so, you will also be holding the at-fault party accountable for their actions, which may prevent them from putting others at risk in the future.
At Wendt Law, our attorneys are award-winning. Our commitment to personal injury victims in Kansas City and our personalized approach to cases, have secured us many successful claims, and happy clients.