The law in Oklahoma makes it a punishable criminal act for anyone to operate a motor vehicle on the roadways of the state if they have a blood or breath alcohol concentration level of .08 or they appear to be under the influence of alcohol. Motorists driving while under the influence (DUI) or while impaired by (DWI) alcohol face penalties including fines, jail time, and license suspension.
When the police or highway patrol are able to get drunk drivers off the roads before they cause an accident it is a good day. But unfortunately, there are just too many people who are out driving after drinking. The fact they are too drunk to drive is not known until after an accident occurs.
According to the Highway Safety Office at the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, there were a total of 2,949 alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2020 resulting in 176 fatalities. Tulsa County recorded 491 alcohol-related accidents – 20 of which resulted in fatalities.
At the Tulsa law firm of Graves McLain, we believe too many people get seriously injured or die as a result of drunk drivers. In representing persons injured in drunk driving accidents we hope to send a strong message to the community that drunk driving hurts families, is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.
Hiring a personal injury attorney after a drunk driving accident will ensure that an attorney:
Even though the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since the organization was founded in 1982, drunk driving is still the number one cause of death on America’s roadways, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The following statistics demonstrate how pervasive drunk driving remains.
The consumption of alcohol affects the body by depressing the central nervous system. What that does is slow down the communication between neurons in the brain, causing decreased brain function.
A report by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies the skills important to driving that are impaired by alcohol.
As little a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as .02 (well below the legal limit) has been shown to cause some loss of judgment, a decline in the visual ability to track movement, and an inability to simultaneously perform two tasks.
Drunk driving accidents can occur at any time on any given day but recent Oklahoma drunk driving crash statistics show certain times seem to record more crashes than others.
The majority of drunk drivers who get into accidents on Oklahoma roads are men ages 20 to 29. Men are driving in about 60% of all alcohol-related crashes. The most often cited contributing factor in drunk driving accidents is unsafe speed.
Of course, it is not often possible to recognize a drunk driver prior to the driver causing an accident but there are some driving behaviors that can indicate a driver may be under the influence of alcohol. MADD suggests that observing the following driving behaviors may help someone spot a drunk driver before an accident:
The injuries that can be sustained in a drunk driving accident are not different than injuries that occur in car crashes that do not involve alcohol. But they may be more severe due to the speed of the at-fault driver at the time of the collision. Since speed is often a contributing factor in alcohol-related crashes, the impact may be more forceful, resulting in more significant injuries.
The nature and extent of injuries that occur in a drunk driving accident will also depend on where a vehicle is impacted and what happens after the impact.
Compensable injuries that may result from drunk driving accidents include:
Persons injured in drunk driving accidents or the surviving family members of persons killed by drunk drivers are allowed to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages from the at-fault parties.
Economic damages can include:
Non-economic damages can include:
There has never been a limit on the amount of economic damages that can be recovered. But non-economic damages were capped at $350,000 in most personal injury cases until the Oklahoma Supreme Court declared the limitation unconstitutional in 2019.
A drunk driver may be facing criminal charges in addition to a civil claim for personal injuries. The focus of the two proceedings is slightly different. In a criminal proceeding, the state is trying to prove the fact of being drunk while driving. In a personal injury claim, an injured party needs to prove the drunk driver caused the accident. Proof that a driver was drunk increases the likelihood that a driver will be found at fault for an accident.
But what happens if a drunk driver does not get convicted on criminal charges or agrees to some lesser penalty to avoid a possible conviction?
While a criminal conviction for drunk driving can help a civil case for personal injury, it is not necessary to establish fault in a civil case. The level of necessary proof is different in criminal and civil cases. Evidence that was not sufficient to get a criminal conviction may be adequate to support a finding of fault in a personal injury case. Please speak to a skilled DUI accident lawyer in Tulsa for help moving forward, regardless of whether or not the at-fault driver is facing criminal charges.
Drunk driving not only causes direct injury to the persons involved in accidents caused by drunk drivers but also harms society as a whole by making our roadways less safe for all of us. Drunk drivers need to understand the damage they can cause with their careless actions and be held accountable for the choices they make.
The personal injury lawyers at the Tulsa law office of Graves McLain are experienced in representing clients who have sustained serious injuries at the hands of drunk drivers. We don’t tolerate drunk driving and are aggressive advocates for justice on behalf of our clients. In most cases, we only get paid after our clients do. Call 918-359-6600 to schedule a free consultation or contact Graves McLain here.
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I have been working with chad McLain for two years. He has helped me get my case resolved in a professional, compassionate, and very smooth way. I wasn’t just a number in this lawsuit which included many others. This firm has made me feel like I was the only one. Amy Cox has also been amazing. She was always so very kind each time I contacted her with questions. Her character shines through, and I’m so thankful she was there for me. I would definitely suggest that anyone who might need a lawyer for a medical lawsuit to choose Graves McLain law firm.
I was referred to Graves McLain through an Uber passenger. I reached out and was connected with Miss Angela, who made me feel so comfortable. She was very upfront with everything and kept a very open line of communication. I got to work with Amy W. & Amy M., who were two fabulous ladies who helped wrap up my case. When I thought I would be screwed with trying to get somewhere with the insurance company, these ladies came to the rescue. Without a doubt, I would contact them again, and I will recommend them to others. Thanks again!
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I had 10/10 experience with Rachel and the team from Grave’s McLain. I had been feeling overwhelmed with medical bills from a car accident that wasn’t my fault, and the long list of things that had to be done that I had to figure out how to do myself. They put my mind at ease and handled everything perfectly. I’ll definitely use them again if the time comes!
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My case just settled and I want to thank Rachel Gussman, Janet, Sonia, Emily, Amy, and Margo. This process was definitely a team effort. When I was involved in a car accident last year, I turned to my friend Rachel for guidance. I was thoroughly impressed with their skills, office staff professionalism and friendliness, communication, and of course, the end results. I highly recommend Graves McLain.
My experience with Graves McLain was first and foremost a top notch experience from beginning to end. Their expertise and professionalism was impressive and thorough. I was completely satisfied with their efforts. In two years I had not one but two accidents . They handled both so that I didn’t become a victim again by the insurance company. I’m satisfied and happy with their handling of both suits. I would highly recommend them if you find yourself a victim of an accident.
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