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Drunk Driving Accidents

Goldsboro Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

Drunk driving is against the law in North Carolina. Those who drive drunk are clearly at fault when getting behind the wheel and putting the safety of others at risk. Their negligence can result in criminal charges and convictions. It can also lead to civil lawsuits by those whom they injure in traffic accidents. At Strickland Agner Pittman, our team of seasoned attorneys has the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to hold drunk drivers and their insurers accountable for the injuries and losses sustained in the accidents they cause. 

Drunk Driving Accident Cases in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported the following 2019 drunk-driving statistics: 

  • Alcohol was involved in 11,492 traffic crashes
  • Alcohol was involved in 348 traffic fatalities
  • Alcohol was involved in 7,665 injuries 

The percentage of traffic fatalities in which alcohol played a part was 23.7 percent. This demonstrates its deadly influence when drunk drivers take to the roads and highways in our state. 

Proving Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident

Here is a general overview of proving liability in a drunk driving accident in Maryland:

  1. Establishing Duty of Care: The first step is to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to others on the road. In North Carolina, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.
  2. Proving Breach of Duty: To prove liability, you must show that the defendant breached their duty of care. In drunk driving cases, this typically means demonstrating that the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which impaired their ability to drive safely.
  3. Causation: You need to establish that the defendant's breach of duty directly caused the accident and resulting injuries. This might involve presenting evidence such as witness testimonies, police reports, and expert opinions.
  4. Damages: Finally, you must prove the damages suffered as a result of the accident. This includes both economic damages (such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages) and non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering).

In a drunk driving accident case, various types of evidence can be crucial for establishing liability and proving damages. Here are some common types of evidence:

  • Police Reports: These documents provide an official record of the accident, including details such as the time and location of the crash, statements from involved parties and witnesses, any citations issued, and observations of the responding officers regarding signs of intoxication.
  • Breathalyzer or Blood Test Results: If the driver was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at the time of the accident can be critical evidence. This is typically obtained through breathalyzer tests or blood tests administered by law enforcement.
  • Field Sobriety Test Results: Law enforcement officers often conduct field sobriety tests at the scene of the accident to assess the driver's coordination, balance, and cognitive abilities. Results of these tests can indicate impairment and support the claim of drunk driving.
  • Witness Statements: Statements from witnesses who observed the accident or the behavior of the driver before the crash can provide valuable testimony regarding the driver's condition, actions, and the circumstances leading up to the accident.
  • Surveillance Footage: Video recordings from nearby security cameras or traffic cameras may capture the accident as it occurred, providing visual evidence of the events leading up to the crash and potentially revealing the driver's behavior and impairment.
  • Accident Reconstruction: Expert analysis and reconstruction of the accident scene can help establish factors such as the speed of the vehicles, the point of impact, and the sequence of events, which can contribute to determining liability.
  • Medical Records: Documentation of injuries sustained by the victims in the accident, including medical reports, diagnostic tests, treatment records, and rehabilitation plans, can demonstrate the extent of the harm caused by the drunk driver.
  • Damage to Vehicles: Photographs of the vehicles involved in the accident can show the extent of the damage, which may help corroborate the severity of the collision and support the victims' claims for compensation.
  • Prior DUI Convictions or History: Information about any prior DUI convictions or a history of alcohol-related incidents involving the driver can be relevant to establishing a pattern of behavior and demonstrating negligence or recklessness.

North Carolina Dram Shop Law

Under North Carolina's dram shop law, an alcohol-serving establishment, such as a bar, restaurant, or tavern, may be held liable if it serves alcohol to a patron who is visibly intoxicated, and that patron subsequently causes injury or property damage due to their intoxication.

To establish liability, it must be demonstrated that the patron was visibly intoxicated at the time they were served alcohol. This typically means that the patron exhibited clear signs of intoxication that a reasonable person would recognize, such as slurred speech, unsteady gait, or impaired coordination.

There must be a direct link between the patron's intoxication, the service of alcohol by the establishment, and the subsequent harm caused. In other words, it must be shown that the patron's intoxication was a substantial factor in causing the injuries or damages.

Lastly, the establishment must have had actual or constructive knowledge that the patron was intoxicated at the time they were served alcohol. This knowledge can be established through observations by the establishment's staff or other patrons, as well as any prior incidents involving the same patron.

Why You Need a Goldsboro Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

While drunk drivers are arrested, charged, and often convicted for this behavior, their criminal cases do not result in compensation for those they victimize by their careless behavior. As someone who has been injured or who has lost a loved one due to the fault of a drunk driver, you must file an insurance claim, personal injury lawsuit, or wrongful death lawsuit to recover rightful compensation. 

Additionally, other third parties may be held accountable in these cases as well, such as the owners of bars or businesses or those who hosted social events that involved serving alcoholic drinks to already intoxicated individuals who later became drunk drivers. These types of claims fall under North Carolina’s “dram shop” laws. Our team can educate you on these laws and determine if they apply to your case. Where they do, we can take legal action on your behalf to recover damages. 

Gross Negligence in Drunk Driving Accidents

North Carolina practices the policy of “contributory negligence” which means even the slightest amount of fault on your part in an accident will negate your ability to recover damages. However, many drunk driving accident claims and lawsuits involve “gross negligence” on the part of the drunk driver. Where we show this to be the case, contributory negligence will not apply, meaning the drunk driver and/or his or her insurer can be held fully accountable for the losses and damages you sustained in the accident. 

Request a free case evaluation with a Goldsboro drunk driving accident attorney by contacting Strickland Agner Pittman at (919) 893-0090


Discuss Your Case in a Free Consultation Today

As you can see, drunk driving accident cases can be extremely complex. This is why you should rely on a seasoned attorney at Strickland Agner Pittman. We have the resources, experience, and dedication you need in fighting for you, whether at the settlement table or in court. 

Let us help you obtain maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages by contacting us today. 

Contact Strickland Agner Pittman Today


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