Columbus Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Victims Of Drunk Drivers in Ohio Deserve Justice, Financial Compensation
When drivers get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, they are putting themselves and everyone else they encounter at risk of serious injury or even death. Whether you’re dealing with a drunk driving accident caused by another driver on Neil Avenue in Columbus or I-70 or I-71 in Ohio, it’s important to understand that you have rights and they have been violated.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, accident attorney Scott Elliot Smith of the Smith Law Office, can put thirty-plus years of experience to work for you to secure justice and a fair financial settlement. You may be entitled to money to offset your medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repair or replacement, funeral expenses and compensation for pain and suffering.
Why should I hire Smith Law Office?
Columbus drunk driving accidents can be complicated legal cases for many reasons. Sometimes the drunk driver denies being under the influence. Other times, it’s because the drunk driver’s lawyer or insurance company works hard get your injury claim dismissed.
Our dedicated Ohio legal team knows how to react to such challenging situations. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success. Columbus drunk driving accident lawyer Scott Elliot Smith knows exactly what evidence to look for and what it takes to build a successful legal case.
We never take anything for granted at Smith Law Office. Even if a Columbus police officer or Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper arrested the other driver and prosecutors charged them with DUI, don’t simply assume you will be fairly compensated for your accident-related expenses. It takes the hard work of a dedicated attorney to demand the money you rightfully deserve. That’s our job and we’re ready to tackle your tough legal case.
What are common drunk driving injuries?
Because drunk drivers usually are driving at a high rate of speed and erratically, the injuries stemming from a drunk driving personal injury accident can be catastrophic. They include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back pain
- Concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury or paralysis
- Internal injuries requiring surgery
- Facial and other head injuries
- Burn injuries
Some injuries caused by a drunk driving accident can take months or even years to recover from. Others have a permanent impact on your life. Scott Elliot Smith is determined to hold drunk drivers responsible and take on the insurance company to recover all the compensation you need and deserve.
What is legally considered drunk for a driver in Ohio?
Ohio has strict DUI laws prohibiting driving under the influence of alcohol. If most drivers have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher, they are legally considered drunk, according to Ohio Revised Code section 4511.19.
However, Ohio’s OVI laws can vary depending on certain factors. If a driver is under the age of 21 years old, the BAC limit is 0.02 under Ohio’s “Zero Tolerance” law. And any driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) operating a commercial vehicle is considered legally intoxicated if their BAC is 0.04 or higher.
In addition, Ohio has strict penalties for any driver with a higher BAC level. According to Ohio’s OVI laws, any driver with a BAC of 0.17 or higher is subject to increased fines, jail time and other penalties under the state’s Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit regulations.
Remember, though, that even driving while “buzzed” is still dangerous. Even if the driver who hit you was under the BAC limit, you can still hold them accountable for causing your accident in civil court.
What evidence is necessary for an Ohio OVI drunk driving case?
To build a successful legal case seeking financial compensation for your injury-related expenses, you need strong evidence in support of your legal claim. This is due to Ohio’s at-fault insurance system, which requires proof that one party was at fault in causing the collision.
In particular, you need to prove certain elements exist in order to file a successful drunk driver accident claim or lawsuit. But note that you don’t necessarily have to prove that the at-fault driver was drunk – you just have to prove that they caused the accident. Indeed, it’s possible to win your civil case for damages even if the driver who hit you isn’t charged or convicted of DUI.
How much is my drunk driving injury claim worth?
You may be eligible to receive thousands of dollars or significantly more for your drunk driving accident. What’s the difference? It all comes down to how much money your expenses add up to for your injury claim.
This is where there can often be a dramatic difference in opinion. The at-fault driver’s insurance company might try to claim your case is only worth a few thousand dollars. They might even try to claim they don’t owe you a dime since you somehow caused the crash.
So who decides the value of your drunk driving accident claim? Often, it’s a settlement negotiation between the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your lawyer. Other times, a jury might ultimately decide if you choose to file a drunk driving accident lawsuit. Either way, you need an experienced attorney on your side, fighting for your rights.
What can I be financially compensated for?
You should receive money for all your accident-related expenses if a drunk driver caused your car accident in Columbus or elsewhere in Ohio. What you might not realize is just how many expenses you can – and should – receive money for after your crash.
It’s not just your bills immediately after your accident. You should also be paid for all future anticipated accident-related expenses. These include:
- Follow-up doctor’s appointments.
- Surgical procedures.
- Prescription medications.
- Physical therapy.
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs.
- Replacement income while you’re recovering from your car accident injury.
- Lost future income if you cannot return to work due to a permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering in certain circumstances.
Each Ohio drunk driving accident is different. Make sure you fully understand your rights and how much money you may be eligible to receive in the form of a settlement or verdict. Talk to an experienced attorney right away.
Should I accept a settlement offer?
If the other driver was clearly intoxicated and violated Ohio’s OVI drunk driving laws, don’t be surprised if the driver’s insurance company makes a financial settlement offer. You might be tempted to accept such an offer. But should you? What’s the right thing to do?
- There’s no single answer for what you should do in this situation. In general, you have three choices:
- Accept your injury claim settlement offer.
- Negotiate a better settlement claim.
- File a lawsuit and pursue financial compensation in court.
Remember, once you accept the insurance company’s money, that’s it. Your case is closed. That’s why it’s critical that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options. Never accept a settlement offer before reviewing it with your lawyer.
Should I file a drunk driving accident lawsuit?
As explained above, one of the options available to injury victims after drunk driving accident in Ohio is filing a lawsuit. There are many reasons why you might want to consider this approach for obtaining the financial compensation you deserve for your injury-related expenses:
- The at-fault party makes a lowball settlement offer and refuses to make a better offer.
- The at-fault party denies your injury claim altogether.
- You believe you can secure more money by filing a lawsuit and going to court.
Deciding whether to file a lawsuit after a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming. You don’t have go down this path alone. Our dedicated Columbus law firm can be there with you every step of the way, including helping you decide whether or not to take legal action.
Who can I sue if I’m hit by a drunk driver?
If you decide to file a lawsuit in response to your Ohio drunk driving accident, you may be able to take legal action against several people or companies. That’s because there may be more than one at-fault party. Such parties may include:
- The drunk driver who caused your collision.
- The bar, restaurant or liquor store that sold alcohol to the driver if they were visibly intoxicated at the time. Such legal cases are known as “dram shop” claims and can be very complicated.
- The driver of another vehicle involved
It’s also important to keep in mind that you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action after a car accident in Ohio. The deadline (known as the statute of limitations) is two years from the date of your accident, according to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2305.10. Don’t miss your opportunity for justice. Talk to a drunk driving accident lawyer at Smith Law Office in Columbus. We can help.
Third-Party Damages Possible In A Drunk-Driving Case
Sometimes a drunk driver is not the only liable party in a drunk driving injury accident. Whoever supplied the alcohol to the driver - a restaurant or nightclub, for example - can be held legally responsible, at least in part, because they should not have served the driver. Scott Elliot Smith will pursue every legal avenue to seek compensation on behalf of you and your family.
Don't Be Just A Drunk Driving Accident Victim - Be A Survivor
A drunk driver who puts the lives of you and your loved ones in their unsteady hands by turning the ignition key on their vehicle must be held accountable by every legal measure. A wise move is to contact an aggressive, compassionate Columbus drunk driving accident lawyer who is experienced with Ohio laws. Attorney Scott Elliot Smith can quickly and efficiently put his experience to work for you so that you can begin the difficult process of putting your life back together. His goal is not only to get you compensation for your losses, but to help you get your life back to the way it was.
Scott Elliot Smith knows how drunk drivers and insurance companies try to avoid taking responsibility for what happened. That's why he takes the time to build a strong case that can't be ignored. He will keep the pressure on insurance companies until he gets results - whether through a negotiated settlement or a court verdict.
Protect your rights - and your future. Call Scott Elliot Smith for a free consultation at 614-846-1700 or contact us online. Because he works on a contingency fee basis, you don't pay any fees until he wins a financial settlement for you.