Drunk Driving Accidents
We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.
We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.
Drinking and driving is a dangerous decision that unfortunately, some people still make even though they know that it puts the lives of themselves and others at risk. When you’ve been in a collision that was caused by a drunk driver, it likely seems obvious who was at fault. While fault can be more complicated than it looks, if a drunk driver was involved, they are likely responsible for the accident from their negligence and recklessness.
Our Minnesota drunk driving accident lawyer can help you through the legal process of holding a drunk driver accountable for their choices. You shouldn’t have to handle the costs of your injuries and other damages on your own. We will fight to get you justice and get you the full and fair compensation that you deserve.
Drunk driving accidents can cause serious damage to everyone involved in the collision. According to the impaired driving report from Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there were nearly 25,000 drunk driving incidents recorded in the state in 2017, which was an increase from the previous year. Of these incidents, nearly 6,000 happened in Hennepin County alone.
While the legal limit in Minnesota is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), any amount of alcohol in a person’s system could impair their driving skills and lead to an accident. In our state, 113 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured by drunk drivers in 2017. All of these deaths and injuries were preventable if the intoxicated driver had not gotten behind the wheel.
The violation records give insight into who is committing these violations. According to the same report, drivers between the ages of 20 and 34 were responsible for over half of the incidents. On top of those numbers, about 40 percent of offenders were re-offenders. This shows that if you offend once, you are likely to again. The numbers show that half the people who have one drunk driving offense will commit another, then half of the second-time offenders will commit a third, and so on.
When you’ve been struck by a drunk driver, you’re likely more worried about getting justice and healing from your injuries. You shouldn’t have to deal with the costs associated with your injuries and damages because the collision wasn’t your fault. With the help of our Minneapolis drunk driving accident lawyer, you can feel supported and confident through your claim and know that you will get justice.
Due to the potential for repeated offenses, Minnesota implemented an interlock program in 2011 that created sanctions for people who are charged with a DWI. An ignition interlock is a device that measures a driver’s breath for alcohol before the car will start. If a driver has any alcohol in their system, their car won’t start and they won’t be able to operate their vehicle.
Here are some of the details of the interlock program that are intended to keep intoxicated drivers from being able to get on the road:
In 2015, over 12,000 participants in the ignition interlock program graduated and had the system removed from their vehicles. Unfortunately, over 5,000 participants had the system revoked and over 4,000 were cancelled, but the number of people who graduated show that it can be successful for drivers who stay sober.
Regardless of the DWI offender chose to install an ignition interlock system, when their actions caused your injuries and damages, they should be held accountable for their negligence and recklessness. Our Minneapolis drunk driving accident lawyer can help you hold the liable party responsible for their actions so that you can get the justice you deserve.
Drunk drivers are less capable of paying attention to the road, how they’re driving, and making good decisions behind the wheel. Because of this, when they cause a collision, they usually don’t attempt to brake or avoid a collision like sober drivers might. This can lead to more serious wrecks because of the force of their impact.
More serious impacts also cause more catastrophic injuries than usual as well. Here are some of the different injuries that the victims of drunk driving accidents commonly suffer from:
These catastrophic injuries not only cause victims to have medical bills directly after suffering from the damages, but they could also have life-long effects for them. A victim could have future treatment costs, specialist visits, future medication and medical equipment, partial or permanent disability, and the loss of the ability to work.
All of these costs can be difficult to handle. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for your medical costs, make up for lost wages, or pay your regular bills after a crash that wasn’t your fault. We will help you recover the compensation you deserve for your damages, both economic and noneconomic.
When you’re focusing on healing from the injuries and repairing any other damages that you incurred from a drunk driving accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about handling the legal process to hold them accountable for their negligence. Madia Newville has experienced attorneys and is prepared to fight for your rights. Hire us as your Minneapolis drunk driving injury lawyer today.
We will investigate what happened and consult experts if necessary so that we can determine exactly who was at fault for collision. That way, we can ensure that you will get the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Call today so that we can get started on your case right away.
We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients.
We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely. We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case. We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well. We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case. We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial.
Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward. Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.
If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit. Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required. We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points. Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims. A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations. Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.
Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions. Not us. Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity. We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case. Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections. We view this as a wonderful opportunity. In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on. We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t. The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts. We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny. Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true. And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA. That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.
One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery. We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery. This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses. This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.
This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible. So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true. That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes. We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is. We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.
The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases. We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery. We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.
Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.
After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.
This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries. We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials. At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct. As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.