Wilmington DUI Accident Lawyer

We’ve all heard about the dangers of drunk driving. But drinking isn’t the only cause of impaired drivers on the road. Many drive under the influence of drugs as well. While some drugs involved in DUIs are recreational, others are prescription medications that may cause drowsiness and slow reaction times.

Driving under the influence is never a good idea. Drivers that get behind the wheel after taking drugs and/or alcohol are putting lives at risk. If an accident occurs, they deserve to be punished by the full arm of the law.

At Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys, we have zero tolerance for people that drive under the influence. We also have zero tolerance for insurance companies who try and settle cases for less than our clients deserve. We are former insurance defense attorneys who understand how the other side operates. We know the insurance companies’ playbook and this allows us to help our clients obtain as much compensation as they can.

North Carolina Drinking and Driving Statistics

In North Carolina, a jury works to determine how much needs to be awarded for punitive damages. When it comes to drunk driving cases and drunk driving accidents, there is no cap on punitive damages. This essentially means that if the person who causes an accident is found to be under the influence they can be held liable for punitive damages that far exceed the number of compensatory damages.

Despite this and despite the many campaigns created to raise awareness regarding the dangers of drinking and driving, it continues to be a problem. How bad is it? Here are some eye-opening statistics:

  • There were 10,511 fatal drinking and driving accidents in the U.S. in 2018.
  • 29 people in America die in a drinking and driving accident every day. That’s one person every 50 minutes.
  • There were 11,492 alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina in 2019.
  • There were 7,665 alcohol-related injury crashes in North Carolina in 2019.
  • There were 348 alcohol-related fatalities in North Carolina in 2019.
  • Drunk driving accidents accounted for 23.7% of all North Carolina car accident fatalities but just 4% of crashes.
  • Alcohol related crashes result in a fatality 3% of the time while other types of crashes result in fatalities .04% of the time.
  • In North Carolina, you are six times more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash than you are if you are involved in a crash that does not involve alcohol.

Punitive damages are damages that are designed to punish a defendant while simultaneously deterring similar actions from occurring in the future. They are separate from the simpler forms of compensation that are geared towards aiding victims. In addition to this, it helps to know that there is generally not a cap placed on how much you can recover in these types of suits. Within the North Carolina judicial system, there is no cap on the amount of compensatory damages that plaintiff can recover.

The North Carolina counties with the highest rate of drunk driving-related crashes are:

  • Mecklenburg
  • Wake
  • Guilford

Furthermore, drunk driving cases tend to be higher in coastal communities such as:

  • New Hanover
  • Brunswick
  • Onslow
  • Carteret
  • Dare Counties
This is often related to the high volume of visitors that come to those communities on vacation.

What Constitutes a DWI or a DUI?

A DUI or DWI can occur if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When it comes to DUIs and DWIs, a driver may be considered intoxicated even if their blood alcohol level is below .08. If someone is driving recklessly and swerving on the road and they hit you, they can still be held liable for a DUI accident – even if their blood alcohol level is below .08.

Drivers of commercial vehicles that have a blood alcohol content of .04 are considered to be driving illegally.

In addition to drinking, drivers can also be pulled over if they are driving while using drugs. These include the following:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Legal drugs with a prescription
  • Legal drugs sold over the counter

Currently, marijuana is one of the most common drugs used in DUI accidents. Drivers may be convicted whether they were using marijuana with a prescription or not.
Similarly, any prescription drugs that impair judgment should not be used when driving and can lead to a conviction. However, drivers will typically get a lighter sentence if they were found to be impaired due to taking prescription drugs at the recommended doses as compared to those that were taking drugs illegally.

Prescription drugs that may lead to a DUI include:

  • Cough syrup
  • Nighttime cold and flu medications
  • Prescription pain killers
  • Anxiety medications
  • Muscle relaxants

Illegal drugs that commonly contribute to driving impaired include methamphetamines, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, and more.

What are the Most Common Types of DUI Accidents?

Any type of accident can occur when a driver is under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Here are some of the most common:

  • Rear-End Accidents: Drivers’ impaired judgment makes it difficult for them to determine how closely they are following the car in front of them. If the driver stops short, slowed reaction times mean they may not hit the brakes quickly enough to avoid an accident.
  • Sideswipe Accidents: Impaired drivers are notorious for veering in and out of their lanes increasing the likelihood of a sideswipe collision.
  • Head-On Accidents: Head-on accidents are one of the most fatal types of accidents that can happen on the road. Fortunately, they don’t occur that often. But when they do happen, it’s usually because a drunk driver crossed the median on a freeway or attempted to enter a freeway or one-way street from the wrong direction.

Who is Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident?

It goes without saying that a drunk driver is responsible for his or her actions, but sometimes other parties can be held responsible as well.

According to North Carolina law, if an individual is at a party or a bar, it is up to the bartender or host to decide how much it is too much. If they continue to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and that person gets into a car and causes an accident, they may be liable for damages.

Cases, where a bar or party host may be responsible for drunk driving, are known as ‘dram shop cases’ or ‘social host liability cases.

North Carolina also has zero-tolerance for drivers under 21 who drive intoxicated. Drivers under 21 will be convicted regardless of how much alcohol they consumed before getting behind the wheel. If a party host or bartender serves a minor alcohol and that minor causes an accident on their drive home, they may owe the victim compensation.

Why Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys Can Assist With Your DUI/DWI North Carolina Claim

Driving intoxicated is a serious offense. If you were injured in a DUI accident, you need a good lawyer on your side.

Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have years of experience representing clients in intoxicated driving claims in the Wilmington, North Carolina area. Because we are former insurance defense lawyers, we know what the other side is doing to minimize your claim and will take steps to get you the compensation you deserve. We will stop at nothing to see to it that DUI drivers are held accountable. We will see to it that justice is served.

DUI accident injuries can greatly reduce the quality of life. Don’t let reckless drivers get away with it. Call Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to schedule a free consultation and find out how you can protect yourself and others from people who put lives at risk when they’re on the road.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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