Can I get sued for a DUI?

This is an important question with a simple answer. Yes. For purposes of this article the term dui, or driving under the influence, includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.  All states have both civil and criminal laws addressing the consequences of being caught driving a motor vehicle under the influence.

 

There are as a rule in these types of cases two possible lawsuits.  The first is a criminal prosecution brought by the government for violating state driving laws; the second is a civil lawsuit brought by a private party who may have been injured as a result of the dui.  The consequences of each are significant, and if the dui also involves an accident with injuries the dui driver will in all likelihood face both a criminal lawsuit brought by the prosecutor, and a civil lawsuit for damages brought by the injured party.

 

The dui laws nationwide are becoming increasingly more complicated, and, if a criminal prosecution is brought, the punishment increasingly more severe. Colorado, for example, requires the court to impose mandatory jail time on a 2nd lifetime conviction for dui, or any lesser alcohol or drug conviction, even if the time lapse between a first and second conviction is 25 years!  A 3rd such conviction requires a mandatory 60-day jail sentence, and a 4th lifetime conviction is a felony with the possibility of up to 4 years in prison. Also, it does not matter in Colorado if the prior dui was in Colorado, Virginia or California.  All prior convictions count.

 

Similarly, if someone has caused an accident because of a dui in which other people have been injured, there will most certainly be a civil lawsuit for damages filed. These suits are also complicated and can be expensive to defend.  Most states require that as a condition of the right to have a driver’s license you also have some form of minimum liability insurance. The insurance policy usually requires the insurance company to defend you if there is a lawsuit.  However, the obligation only goes as far as the limits of the policy.

 

Again, in Colorado, to comply with the insurance provisions of the law you only need to have minimum liability coverage of $25,000.00.   After that amount has been exhausted you are on your own.  It is possible that a judgment could be entered against you for many times the amount of your policy.  The injured parties to collect on the amount owed could expose you to a variety of unpleasant legal efforts, including having your wages garnished and other assets (including your home) seized.

 

To return to the question, “can I get sued for a DUI?” the answer from a Denver DUI lawyer is a resounding yes.  If you find yourself involved in a dui situation you should immediately seek advice from a competent and skilled attorney who is knowledgeable about dui law in your state.

 

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Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into DUI related suits.

Mall Security in Memphis- Oak Court Mall and Wolfchase Mall Incidents

mall security lawyer, crime victim lawyer memphis tnDo you ever shop at shopping malls in Memphis?

According to the Commercial Appeal, Memphis Police Director, Michael Rallings, said that malls in Memphis depend too much on the short-staffed Memphis Police Department and should instead add private security. Director Rallings also issued this warning to parents who drop off unsupervised children and teenagers to roam about at malls: “It’s not our job to raise your children. That’s your job.”

Malls in Memphis Should Add Private Security, Says Memphis Police Director Rallings

Our firm handles negligent security cases, and what Director Rallings speaks of is absolutely in line with what Tennessee law requires of commercial property owners. In our state, a commercial property owner, like a store or shopping mall, must provide reasonable security to its customers. What is reasonable? That’s ultimately up to a jury to decide after hearing evidence about crime history, neighborhood statistics, etc., but it sure sounds like Director Rallings believes that Memphis shopping malls can and should provide better security that what presently exists.  For the sake of the citizens of Memphis, we hope area shopping malls heed Director Rallings’ recommendation to increase security levels.

Crime Victim Lawyers

We represent victims of crime in the civil court system, because remedies in criminal court do not adequately compensate the crime victim. We may be able to help a crime victim recover compensation for injuries and financial losses due to the failure of a business, shopping mall, store, or apartment complex to provide reasonable security measures in accordance with Tennessee law.  If you or someone you know needs our help, please call us today at 901-372-5003.

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, TN  38018

Phone: (901) 372-5003

www.WisemanBray.com

More Resources for Crime Victims

Visit our Crime Victim page here.

View our previous BLOG POSTS about negligent security cases below:

Cordova Apartment Shootings: Was there security?

Apartment Managers Can’t Turn a Blind Eye to Crime

Windgood Manor Apartment Shootings in Memphis

Deadly Shooting at Madison Cypress Lakes in Memphis

Apartment Complex Crime- Memphis Attorneys

What is the difference between a DUI and DWI?

In the United States, the terms DUI and DWI are generally used to refer to the same type of offense of driving a vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance such as alcohol or drugs. However, depending on the various statutes of each individual state, either DUI or DWI may be used to define the offense. DUI is an acronym that stands for the offense of Driving Under the Influence while DWI stands for either Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated. Typically, both DUI and DWI offenses would include driving while having alcohol, drugs, or any other such substance that could negatively influence a person’s faculties and affect their driving. Drugs in this case can include legal prescribed medications, over the counter medications, or any other illegal substances.

In New York, for example, the terms DUI and DWI are distinctly different charges and the statute actually refers to DUI as DWAI, which stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. The offense of DWI in New York is considered driving while intoxicated beyond the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent. DWAI is used when a person has been driving while impaired by some other substance such as drugs or while having a BAC somewhere between 0.05 and 0.07 percent. Therefore, DWAI is considered more broad than DWI because a person who is not guilty of driving with a BAC beyond the legal limit of 0.08 can still be charged and convicted of DWAI.

Unlike New York, North Carolina only has one charge for the offense of driving while impaired (DWI), as an experienced DWI lawyer Shelby NC trusts can explain. There is no such charge as DUI or DWAI. However, under the statute defining the charge of DWI (NCGS § 20-138.1), there are three different ways the State can establish the offense has been committed.  A person is guilty of impaired driving in North Carolina if they have driven on any public vehicular area while: (1) having consumed enough alcohol to acquire an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater; (2) containing any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance such as heroine, ecstasy, GHB, methaqualone, peyote, or opiates in his blood or urine; or (3) substantially impaired by an impairing substance. While this is the only North Carolina statute dealing with the offense of DWI, it essentially covers all the same provisions included in the statutes of other states that consider DWI and DUI/DWAI different offenses.


CVThanks to our friends and contributors from Caulder & Valentine, PLLC for their insight into the difference between a DUI and DWI.

3 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

There’s a lot of misinformation being spread these days about personal injury cases. This is because the insurance companies and their powerful friends like to try to poison America’s jury panels against personal injury plaintiffs. This post debunks three of the most glaring untruths about personal injury cases.

  1. Personal injury lawsuits are frivolous

When talking about lawsuits, the word “frivolous” has a specific legal meaning. It means a case without a legal basis. For example, suing congress because you don’t like a law would be frivolous as there is no legal right to sue over that issue. But personal injury cases are just the opposite. When someone has failed to take reasonable care and injured another person, the injured party has a legitimate legal theory justifying their case. If another driver has failed to pay attention and rear-ended you, a lawsuit based on those facts is in no way frivolous. It is entirely justified under the law. So next time you hear a politician or TV talking head refer to frivolous lawsuits, you’ll know they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  1. Injured people win the “lawsuit lottery” when they recover money.

Personal injury damages are supposed to put an injured person in the same position they would have been in had they not been injured. In other words, the injured person is supposed to receive the exact amount it would take to make up for their pain and suffering. But no one in their right mind would accept an injury in exchange for money. Just think, is there any amount of money that you would accept to lose a leg? How about to be paralyzed? No, injured parties are never made whole. They lose time playing with their children and time doing the things they love. They’ll never get that time back. In no way did they win a lottery.

  1. Insurance companies “are on your side.”

We’ve all seen the ads, Peyton Manning humming Nationwide’s jingle. In fact, it seems you can’t watch a football game these days without seeing an ads for half the national insurance companies. All of them pretend to be looking out for you and your family. But make no mistake, there’s only one side these companies are on: their own. They are out there to make money and nothing else. To do that, they will try to deny, delay, or reduce claims whenever they can. Insurance companies are pros at paying less than full value on claims. If you want a pro to fight back, contact a local personal injury lawyer Fort Collins CO trusts as soon as you can.


CHThanks to our friend and blog author, Sam Cannon of Cannon Hadfield, LLC for his insight into personal injury cases.

Cordova, TN Apartment Shootings: Was there security?

apartment shooting lawyer memphis tnViolent crime isn’t limited to urban centers, or run-down properties. Areas in eastern Shelby County, including Cordova, TN are experiencing violent crime, often at what many people would consider to be luxury apartment complexes.

Earlier this month, 18 year old  Eddie McDonald was shot and killed at the Country Squire Apartments in Cordova, TN.

And just this week, a man was shot and killed at the Appling Lakes Apartments in Cordova, TN, while two others were injured by gunfire. The Commercial Appeal reports that the Appling Lakes shooting was the 19th murder in unincorporated Shelby County in 2016–the highest number of homicides ever recorded.

Did you know that apartment owners must provide reasonable security?

In Tennessee, apartment owners are generally required to provide reasonable security measure to tenants and guests of the property. What is “reasonable?” It depends on the circumstances, such as the type of crime committed against a victim and the history of crime on the property and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Every single apartment shooting case is different. We can’t help but wonder if in the Appling Lakes and Country Squire shooting cases, security measures could have prevented the victims’ deaths and injuries.  We do not know enough yet about the cases to make an assessment.

Call us. We are lawyers for crime victims.

We are lawyers for apartment crime victims in Memphis, TN. If you are the victim of an apartment shooting or crime, please call us today at (901) 372-5003.

We have the experience, know-how, and financial resources to properly investigate and prosecute your case. If the apartment complex where you were injured did not provide reasonable security, you may be entitled to money damages to compensate you for your injuries and pain and suffering.   This is the case even if you weren’t a tenant and were just visiting.

We have helped others like you. Let us help you. Call (901) 372-5003 and ask to speak to the experienced apartment crime lawyers in Memphis, TN.

Our office is easy to find and we have free parking. 

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, TN 38108

(901) 372-5003

How to prevent and defend against staged car accidents

Staged accidents are a big criminal enterprise, as a personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts can explain. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they cost insurance companies about $20 billion per year. They impact you with the headaches of being on the receiving end of personal injury and property damage claims, while significantly increasing insurance premiums. Victims of staged accidents might even suffer legitimate injuries.

Many People Can Be Involved

The participants in staged accidents maneuver their way into crashes that are intended to make the real victim appear to be at fault. Often, the person staging the accident has passengers in the car. Everyone in the vehicle will fake injuries to receive money from the victim’s auto insurer, or even the insurer of the vehicle that they were occupying. It’s not unusual for associates to pose as “independent witnesses” to the accident either. So many staged accidents occur that the FBI has categorized the most common scenarios:

  • Swoop and squat: When the car in front of you gets cut off, and you rear-end it
  • Drive down: When a driver waves you to merge, and then hits you
  • The sideswipe: When a driver intentionally sideswipes you if you drift over slightly
  • The t-bone: When a driver broadsides you, claiming that you ran a red light or stop sign

The Common Factors

A sophisticated staged accident ring may operate in several different states. The conspirators of the ring might consist of drivers, passengers, witnesses, medical professionals, body shop owners, and even lawyers. There are two common threads to these types of accident cases. First, there might be three or four people claiming injury. Next, they happen in no-fault insurance states more often than fault-based states. That’s because the participants are more likely to collect on a claim against his or her own insurance company than an adverse insurer in a fault-based state.

Defend Yourself From Stagers

The most effective measures that you can take to defend against accident stagers is to drive defensively, and stay away from cellular devices when you’re driving. If stagers see you using a cellular device, they may consider you to be an easier target. They may accuse you of distracted driving, and may be able to prove it, too. From that point, it’s just a matter of the nature and extent of the injuries and property damage that the stagers claim.

At The Scene

Always insist that the police come to the scene, no matter how much the other driver protests. Call 911 on your own phone, tell the 911 operator that you believe that you were the victim of a staged accident, and reiterate that information to the investigating officer who arrives on the scene. He or she might investigate the crash more closely with an eye toward that. If you receive a ticket anyway, it is not advisable to plead guilty to the traffic offense. That guilty plea can be used against you in a personal injury case. However, a judicial finding of guilt in traffic court can’t be used against you.

As in any accident, you may want to notify your insurer of the occurrence right away. If you suspect that you were set up in a staged accident, advise your insurance company accordingly. They may have their own fraud unit, and access to law enforcement agencies specifically established for investigating possible fraudulent accident claims.


LMThanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead, PLC for their insight into car accident cases.

Three Key Factors in Truck Accidents

There are several key factors to keep in mind after being involved in a crash with an 18-Wheeler:

First, safety is often lacking in the trucking industry due to profit motive. The trucking industry finds itself hiring less qualified drivers than a decade ago because aspects of the job such as long periods away from family are undesirable. This often results in less qualified drivers being behind the wheel of trucks. It is common for drivers to become drowsy behind the wheel, jeopardizing public safety. Also, at times the training of drivers does not properly prepare them to avoid rollovers and other hazards. Secondly, the industry has a lot of resources at stake with each claim so they use various tactics to try to reach a speedy settlement. Our law firm has both the resources and experience to fully investigate all three aspects of a trucking accident claim:

  • Collision evidence
  • Trucking Industry evidence
  • Injury information

If you or a loved one has been injured by an 18-wheeler, don’t let the trucking company or insurance company take the lead in your crash investigation. They will focus on reducing liability and cutting your post-crash compensation. Our attorneys will protect your rights and negotiate a settlement that covers all damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Investigating A Truck Accident Claim – Collision Evidence

Collision evidence is the first type of information that needs to be collected. Collision evidence is all the information that can be gathered at the scene of the accident. This includes:

  • Police accident report
  • Accident reconstruction evidence
  • Eye witness accounts
  • Photos of vehicle damage
  • Video of vehicle damage
  • Roadway damage and debris
  • Weather information

Trucking Industry Evidence

Truck drivers and trucking companies are governed by strict state and Federal regulations. Evidence that applies to the trucking industry is vital to learning more about the driver , the company, and if they have complied with trucking laws. There are time-limits to making claims, so do not delay. Our attorneys will fight to obtain all the evidence to make a truck accident claim including:

  • Dispatch records
  • Data recorders
  • Service and Maintenance Logs
  • Inspection reports
  • Driver employment information
  • Records of traffic violations
  • Trucking company safety records
  • Driver criminal record

Trucking companies are notorious for attempting to “lose” some of this data after a trucking crash. Evidence that might show negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company is often hidden and difficult to access. The insurance companies are savvy to these tactics, and have strategies of their own for gathering complete evidence after a truck crash.

Injury Information

It is important to gather information on the type of severity of injuries sustained in a trucking accident. Knowing the extent of your injuries can help determine the cost of medical damages that should be recovered in a settlement. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, common injuries fall into four categories:

  • Back, Neck and Spine Injuries
  • Broken Bones and Fractures
  • Head Trauma
  • Burns and Cuts

Protect your rights! Don’t answer questions from the truck-driver’s or trucking companies insurance without calling an experienced personal injury lawyer Naperville IL trusts first. We will guide you in how to work with the insurance while being mindful of your rights.

Sherinian LawThanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into truck accidents.

Providing a statement to the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim

Steve Harrelson, a personal injury lawyer Little Rock, AR trusts, has experience with insurance claims and litigating them across the mid-south.  Once a claim for bodily injury and property damage is submitted to an insurance company, they will assign a claims representative or claims adjuster and open a claim file.

Once the adjuster opens his file, he or she is likely to contact their insured for a review of the facts after reviewing the policy.  Once that happens, you can expect that the adjuster will reach out to you, the victim, for a statement.  While many lawyers will advise clients to remain tight-lipped about the incident to the insurance company while the firm investigates the claim, Harrelson takes a different approach. “You want to help the adjuster do his job, which is to complete his investigation and make a recommendation to the higher ups in the insurance company,” says Harrelson. “The more information that can be provided to the insurance company, the better chances of showing them additional compensable portions of the claim, making the claim of higher value.”

The initial statement taken by the insurance adjuster is simply to get a grasp of the overall claim and to determine how different, if any, the perspectives are from the insured and the victim.  The adjuster, at this stage, won’t go into minute detail, as he or she doesn’t have enough information about the claim yet.  In addition to asking facts, he or she very well might ask about glaring differences between statements of any witnesses.   

It’s very important to review your memory in your mind and discuss it with your attorney to make sure you don’t leave out any details.  This is likely your first statement, and this will be a benchmark statement that could be referred to throughout the claim or in trial.  If your story changes even in the slightest from this initial statement, you can be sure that it will be used against you often.

Discussion medical treatment 

In addition to the statement about the facts of the crash or incident that caused you to file a claim, the insurance adjuster will likely want to find out information about your injuries and your medical treatment.  It will be important to maintain a list of every single medical provider who has examined or treated you since the accident, along with a list of each pharmacy where you have purchased your prescriptions.

For these reasons, it is always smart to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in these particular issues when filing an insurance claim and even presenting cases to a jury.  Steve Harrelson, a personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR trusts, has successfully navigated insurance claims for years in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer today.  


Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into insurance claims in personal injury cases.

DUI/DWI Consequences

No one intends to be involved in a DUI. However, when we make an error in judgment concerning alcohol consumption and wind up being apprehended by law enforcement, the consequences are often a surprise to us in terms of severity, especially for those of us never in trouble with the law before. If you wind up in a position where you are caught driving drunk or impaired, it is generally a good idea to be aware of the consequences. Some states have some extremely stringent laws regarding impaired driving.
First Offense
In many states even the penalties for a first DUI are relatively stringent.  These laws were passed because of the huge amount of injury and death caused by drunk drivers. In many cases, a first offense can result in imprisonment, as well as fines, depending on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and the presence of any minors in the vehicle at the time of the stop. Many other states may initially require only probation instead of these stiff penalties. While some first-time DUIs are spared imprisonment, many are not.
First offenders can also have their driver’s license suspended, usually for around 3 months (but possibly for up to 1 year), although some states a allow a limited license to be used only to get to and from work.  In addition to a temporary license suspension, some states follow this with a period of requiring an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) fitted to their vehicle. This device requires the driver to blow a breath sample showing no alcohol before starting the engine.  The increased use of IIDs is thought to increase deterrence, as well as providing the fringe benefit of more information to be studied by lawmakers.
Later Offenses
As one might imagine, the penalties for second and third DUIs only become more severe because these later offenses cannot simply be ascribed to a mere act of poor judgment. For example, while a first offense can carry an imprisonment sentence of few days, a second offense under the law might be punishable by a longer stint in jail. License suspensions also increase in length with each conviction, often going from 180 days to as much as 10 years . This license suspension may be followed by a period of requiring and IID remaining on your car.
Many states also have an implied consent law. This law makes is a crime or grounds for license suspension for an apprehended driver to refuse to give a breath sample to the law enforcement officer.
These tougher drunk driving laws have been imposed by the efforts of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who have marshaled the statistics that showed an increase in drunk driving fatalities. These zero tolerance policies can be a headache to contend with on a personal level, but they save lives, including the lives of potential drunk drivers.
Injured by DUI/DWI
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk or intoxicated driver, you should contact a Coeur d’Alene ID personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Driving under the influence is considered negligent, and if you’ve been involved in an accident with someone acting negligently, you may be entitled to financial relief.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bendell Law Firm for their insight into DUI/DWI and negligence.

5 Key Factors in a Slip and Fall Case

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common accidents during the holiday season. Most slip and fall accidents are caused by wet, dirty or defective floors. Most of these holiday accidents happen in grocery stores, parking lots and malls. If you find yourself toting a purse, packages or children through a crowded store this holiday season, make sure to keep a proper lookout for obstacles in your path. If during the busy holiday shopping season you find yourself a victim in an unfortunate slip and fall accident, here are a few important factors to consider before it’s too late.

  • Just because you got hurt does not mean you will recover.

Many people believe that if they are injured in a store, they automatically can recover for their injuries. That is not the case. If you have sustained injuries from a fall, you must be able to prove what caused you to fall before you get compensated. Merely owning or occupying land does not make that person or business liable for your injuries. There must be some form of negligence on the part of the owner or occupier of property before they are liable for your injuries.

  • The employees who are assisting you after your fall are not there to help you.

You should report your fall immediately to store personnel, and make an accident report. Even though you might be hurt or embarrassed, failing to do a report can ruin your case. Employees who arrive at the accident scene are there to gather evidence to help the store avoid paying you, not to protect you.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings, the accident scene can change quickly.

Store personnel often arrive with cameras, mops and wet floor signs after a slip and fall accident. They are not there to help you. They are building a case against you. Make sure to take pictures of what caused you to fall. Keep any wet clothes, shoes or pictures from your fall. Get names, addresses and phone numbers of any non-employee witnesses. All of this evidence will be gone once you leave the store.

  • Get and document all medical treatment.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you must get medical treatment for your injuries. The longer you wait to get treatment, the more difficult it is to prove a connection between your fall and your injuries. A good starting point is the local emergency room or family doctor. The stores insurance adjusters will question all treatment you receive, especially if you have pre-existing injuries.

Insurance adjusters who call to tape record and interview you are trying to help their client. Everything you say can be used against you in your case. Make sure to talk to an attorney before you talk to the adjusters.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Ferguson & Ferguson Attorneys at Law for their insight into key factors in a slip and fall case.