As a personal injury attorney that also represents crime victims I am called upon to represent people that were in a car crash with a drunk driver (DUI Driver). The crashes and injuries vary. Some people are in minor fender benders. These fender benders often injure people and can cause soft tissue (whiplash) injures. More significant crashes can result in broken legs, broken arms, and even death. Often people want to know how much their injury is worth. In other words, how much compensation should the injured person receive for the hell the drunk driver put them through? That is not an easy question to answer because each case is different.
For example I represented a young woman who was stopped at a stop sign. All of the sudden a driver crashed into the back of her car. The vehicles suffered some minor damage. The bad-driver approached my client. My client immediately smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the bad driver. The bad driver asked if my client was OK. She replied she was. The bad driver then gave her a high five, sprinted back to his vehicle and drove off. He did not exchange insurance information or wait for law enforcement to arrive. My client called the police and they later found the bad driver at a local bar. My client had soft tissue injures to her neck and lower back that lasted a few weeks. She did not seek medical treatment. Almost two years later she came to my office. We ended up resolving the case for over $20,000.00, exclusive of PIP benefits. Most cases with those types of injuries will resolve for well under $10,000.00.
I also represented a woman that was a passenger in a vehicle that engaged in a high-speed police chase. In that case the driver was also drunk. The driver hit another vehicle head on and caused a significant crash. My client went to the Emergency Room for treatment the next day and was diagnosed with soft-tissue injuries. She had minimal treatment with a chiropractor. She received almost $20,000.00 in addition to PIP benefits.
I have also received policy limits of $100,000.00 for a cyclist that was hit by a suspected drunk driver. Law enforcement did not arrest the bad driver after giving him field sobriety tests, but we had witness testimony to support our claim he was intoxicated and disposed of a liquor container at the scene. In that case the insurance company was faced with the prospect of trying to defend a driver that had hid evidence from law enforcement and injured a cyclist so they tendered policy limits.
The short answer to the question "How much is my case worth if a DUII driver hit me?" is, It depends. There are too many variables to give an accurate case valuation without determining the extent of your injuries, the treatment sought, the bad-driver's conduct, the bad driver's driving record, the investigation, and other issues.
The equation becomes more complex when you consider the types of damages available. In addition to receiving compensation for your injuries, you may also be entitled to punitive damages from the DUI driver. These punitive damages are designed to punish the DUII driver for their reckless and outrageous conduct. These damages add value to the case, but are affected by various variables.
These types of cases also open up additional sources of compensation. This issue arises when there is not enough insurance to compensate you for your injury, or a bar or social host clearly violated the law. In that case you may have a "dram shop" claim. This allows you to attempt to hold the person that over-served alcohol to the DUII driver accountable for causing your injuries. Dram shop cases are very nuanced and have notice requirements, so you should call a lawyer immediately if you wish to pursue a case against a driver or social host.
If you, or someone you know, were hit by a DUII driver then you should call Portland Oregon Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross. Ross Law LLC provides free personal injury consultations for people hit by drunk drivers. Don't settle with the insurance company for pennies on the dollar. Know your rights and get the compensation you are entitled to. Please remember each case is different, your case may be worth more or less than the cases noted above. At the end of the day only a Jury knows the true value of your case. Jeremiah Ross is happy to take your case to trial if necessary to ensure we do our best to get you the compensation that you desire.