Hartford Impaired Driver Lawyer

A driver blowing into a breathalyzer for a police driver to check if he is impaired.Accidents caused by impaired drivers can result in serious injuries and other damages. Connecticut motorists have one recourse: filing a claim against a negligent driver for the losses they face.

Generally speaking, you’ll only face a handful of insurance claims within your lifetime, and that limited experience can make the process feel new and unnerving each time. An attorney can be a valuable resource for overseeing an insurance claim against the drunk driver who hit you.

Associates from The Bert McDowell Law Firm are standing by to help you schedule an initial consultation. Your initial consultation is a free, no-obligation meeting where you and an attorney can review the details of your case and talk about the general process involved in a claim.

Schedule your free case review, and find out how much your claim could be worth when you call (203) 633-7449 or contact us online today!

What Are the Steps to Filing a Claim With a Hartford Impaired Driving Accident Attorney?

The law is clear about driving under the influence — but that doesn’t mean you won’t ever encounter an impaired driver on the road.

Alcohol and drugs inhibit the user’s decision-making skills and coordination: a dangerous mix when getting behind the wheel. Today, we have convenient ride-share and taxi services, so even if a person didn’t initially plan on drinking during their night out, there is a safe way home.

Drinking responsibly is the expected standard, and drivers must understand their limitations while practicing self-awareness. Failing to do so puts them — and everyone else — in danger.

While you can settle an impaired driver injury claim without representation, you can’t be sure that you are walking away with the full value of all damages in your settlement. An attorney will have seen countless accident claims before yours and can use that experience to help you seek all appropriate damages.

Attorneys protect claimants from falling for lowball offers, for example, leaving them with out-of-pocket expenses that the negligent party’s policy should have covered. Remember that, at the end of the day, the insurance claim adjuster assigned to your case is not responsible for ensuring that you utilize every applicable benefit.

However, your attorney is, and they are motivated to aggressively assert your rights towards recovering every penny of damages you have suffered.

The standard process for filing an impaired driver accident damage claim includes the following steps:

  1. Obtain the insurance information of the other driver
  2. File a police report
  3. Report the accident to the insurance carrier
  4. Valuation of the related damages
  5. Negotiation to agree on final settlement
  6. Possible preparation for a lawsuit

How Does Law Enforcement Determine if a Motorist Is Driving Under the Influence?

While you can often easily spot an impaired motorist on the road, law enforcement is ultimately responsible for tracking down the vehicle.

Police officers will use a variety of methods to determine if a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If they find that the driver is intoxicated, an officer can arrest them and have the vehicle impounded.

When assessing if a motorist is under the influence, law enforcement will generally use the following methods:

  • Trained observation: Police officers will go through training that helps them identify impaired drivers on the road. They will look for physical attributes like glazed pupils, sweat, and a smell of alcohol or drugs and behavioral attributes like slurred speech, delayed response time, and lack of coordination. 
  • Various field tests: When an officer pulls over a suspected impaired driver, they can ask the motorist to step out of the vehicle and perform a Stand-On-One-Leg test or a Walk-In-A-Line test to assess the driver’s balance and physical control.
  • Breathalyzer (BAC) test: The most accurate test that a police officer may utilize to determine if a driver is driving while intoxicated is to have them undergo a breathalyzer test that analyzes their blood alcohol content (BAC). A driver must have under a 0.08% BAC to operate a vehicle. However, a low BAC does not guarantee that a driver won’t face charges, as officers have wide discretion to determine if someone is too impaired to drive.

It is imperative to call a police officer and have them assess the condition of the driver who hit you any time there is a suspicion of a DUI. Their finding can help you prove fault, potentially raising your chances of a successful claim.

Spotting an Impaired Driver On the Road

If it’s so important to have an officer come when someone is suspected of DUI, how can you even know? Some of the factors below can help, but remember that you should always report your accident, anyway, so having a police officer at the scene gives you the best chances of determining whether someone was actually under the influence.

If you see a motorist ignoring basic driving safety rules or exhibiting weird behaviors, you can call your local non-emergency police helpline or 911. The operator will send a responding officer to patrol the area in search of any possible criminal actions.

Note that not all impaired drivers will make the same mistakes, show the same signs, or break the rules of the road. Nevertheless, some of the most common driving behaviors that other motorists notice when reporting impaired drivers are:

  • Irregular acceleration or deceleration
  • Weaving or zig-zagging through the road
  • Almost hitting objects like curbs, light poles, or other vehicles
  • Braking without cause
  • Unusually wide turns
  • Straddling the centerline

After the accident occurred, also look for:

  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Slurred or slowed speech
  • Difficulty walking or staying balanced
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse sweat
  • Abnormal behaviors
  • Mood swings
  • Bizarre or overly emotional statements

Report any possible signs of DUI you have seen to the responding officer, and make sure that they have been noted on the Connecticut crash report.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Connecticut?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime. It puts the lives of everyone on the roads at risk of being injured or killed.

A motorist who is deemed to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated can face a combination of consequences in Connecticut, from fines to jail time and license suspension. A driver arrested for driving while impaired in Connecticut will be detained and likely have their vehicle towed at their expense.

Impaired drivers will be transported to the police station and tested with a blood alcohol test. They may also receive a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test at the scene.

If the results of either test show that the driver has over 0.08% BAC, they will be arrested and charged on the presumption of driving under the influence. The officer may also arrest someone below 0.08% if they are suspected to be too impaired to drive.

Note, too, that a driver who is 21 or younger is considered to be driving under the influence at 0.02% BAC in Connecticut.

Jail time for a D.U.I. can be anywhere from 48 hours to a 6-month sentence. Drivers who are found operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol will also be required to install an Ignition interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle for a period of time.

Someone convicted of a DUI will also pay fines and have to attend mandatory driving safety and substance abuse safety courses. They may be ordered to pay restitution for any damages inflicted if their insurer denies coverage.

What Damages Can I Recover From an Accident With an Impaired Driver?

Every accident will look slightly different, but many crashes leave victims with similar damages to bear.

Connecticut is a comparative negligence state, and a motorist can seek compensation for damages that occurred in an accident if they are deemed less than 51% liable for the crash.

When you file a claim with an impaired driver’s insurer to compensate for your losses, you may receive a settlement award for a combination of the following:

  • Medical bills and the cost of continued treatment for injuries
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and compensation for future wages lost due to inability to perform work duties
  • Property damage, including vehicle replacement
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish from the accident
  • Mental health rehabilitation, such as therapy for PTSD

If You Were Hit by a Motorist Under the Influence, Call a Hartford Impaired Driving Accident Law Firm Today

DUI accidents are completely avoidable by practicing responsible drinking, but in instances where a person disregards their impaired state and gets behind the wheel, an innocent motorist or pedestrian could face the repercussions.

The legal team at The Bert McDowell Law Firm has years of experience representing victims of accidents just like yours. When fighting for compensation from an intoxicated driver, we can provide resources, guidance, and professional oversight for your claim.

We know how to value your damages and document faults so that your claim has a high chance of resulting in a reasonable settlement.

An attorney will protect your claim from being undervalued. They won’t let you fall for tactics insurers may use in order to pressure accident victims to settle for lowball offers and are also often willing to file a lawsuit and fight in court for your right to receive compensation.

When you work with Bert McDowell Injury Law, know that our firm will never charge any upfront fees for claim representation services — not even your first appointment!

We work on contingency, which means that we will only take a small, agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement if you are able to recover money for your injuries. In other words, we don’t win unless our clients do!

Schedule your free initial case review with a Hartford impaired driving collision lawyer when you call (203) 633-7449 or contact us online today!