According to the CDC, nearly one person dies every 45 minutes in the United States from injuries sustained in an accident with a drunk driver. That equates to 32 deaths every day. The number of people injured in drunk driving accidents is much higher. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident with a drunk driver, you have the right to pursue a compensation claim. However, it’s best to hire an experienced Las Vegas drunk driver accident attorney to represent you.

At Friedman Injury Law, we understand how devastating these accidents can be for you and your family. We are committed to providing the best legal representation for drunk driving accident victims. When you need legal assistance following an accident with a DUI driver, contact Friedman Injury Law to learn how a drunk driver accident attorney can help.

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Drunk Driving Statistics in Nevada

According to a three-year study from BuyAutoInsurance.com, Las Vegas ranks as the nation’s worst city for DUI arrests. DUI arrests per 100,000 residents is 1,986, and the annual rate for DUI arrests is 4,311.

Las Vegas is also known for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment, but unfortunately, this also leads to a higher incidence of drunk driving accidents. Because many Las Vegas establishments serve alcohol 24/7, it means you could be the victim of a drunk driving accident in broad daylight. People spend all night in casinos and bars and get behind the wheel to drive home while others are commuting to work.

As a whole, Nevada also struggles with rising rates of DUI-related fatalities involving drivers under 21 years of age. According to Responsibility.org, between 2010 and 2019, there’s been a 35.7% rise in alcohol-impaired fatalities involving drivers under 21.

Understanding Nevada’s Drunk Driving Laws

Nevada law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. According to Nevada law, a driver is considered under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Drunk drivers can face criminal charges and be held accountable in civil cases.

Nevada also has something called the “Nevada DUI 2-hour rule.” This portion of the law states that someone who has a BAC over the legal limit within two hours of operating a motor vehicle could be charged with a DUI. Consider an accident with someone you suspect was driving under the influence and left the scene before the police arrived. If the police do a test within two hours and the person is still above the BAC, they can still be charged with a DUI, along with fleeing the scene.

Someone who is driving under the influence and causes substantial bodily harm or death will undoubtedly face prison time, too. Nevada considers this a Class B felony, which means a minimum sentence of two years and a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Pursuing a Civil Claim Against a Drunk Driver

Victims of drunk driving accidents in Nevada have the right to seek compensation through civil litigation. Initiating a personal injury claim is necessary to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. That’s where a drunk driver accident lawyer at Friedman Injury Law can help.

What Types of Evidence Do I Need for My Drunk Driving Accident Claim?

You need to gather several types of evidence to prove that another driver was under the influence in a car accident claim. Some forms of evidence include:

  • Police reports. A police report is crucial as it provides an official record of the accident. If the police suspected the other driver was under the influence, the report might include observations of the driver’s behavior.
  • Test results for blood alcohol content (BAC). Multiple types of tests can be employed to determine BAC, including breathalyzer results, blood tests, or urine tests that measure the alcohol or drug levels in the driver’s system.
  • Eyewitness testimony. Statements from people who saw the accident or observed the driver before the accident may be valuable. They could describe the driver’s behavior, such as erratic driving, slurred speech, or difficulty walking, which are indicative of intoxication.
  • Video footage. Surveillance or dashcam footage capturing the accident or the driver’s behavior prior to the accident can provide visual proof of intoxication or impairment.
  • Expert testimony. Sometimes, an expert witness, such as a toxicologist, might be required to interpret BAC levels or discuss how a certain level of intoxication could impair driving.
  • Accident reconstruction. Experts might also reconstruct the accident to show how the impairment could have caused or contributed to the accident.
  • DUI conviction. If the driver is charged and sentenced for DUI relating to the accident, this is strong evidence to use for your claim.

In the absence of a DUI conviction, test results for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) are often considered the most critical because they provide a direct, scientifically verified measure of the driver’s intoxication level at the time of the accident. While some of this evidence may be difficult to collect, an experienced Las Vegas drunk driver accident attorney can help you locate or request it on your behalf.

Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Accident Claims

In Nevada, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a civil claim for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. Missing this deadline can jeopardize your case, so it is crucial to act promptly. If you try to file past the deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. When you hire a Las Vegas drunk driver accident lawyer, we’ll ensure prompt filing of your case, and you won’t miss any deadlines.

Types of Damages Recoverable in a Drunk Driver Accident

Victims of drunk driving accidents may be eligible for various types of compensation. Every case is different, but the most common types of compensation are divided into three categories of damages: economic, noneconomic, and punitive. While the economic and noneconomic categories make their way into most claims, punitive damages are far rarer. Here are the differences between each.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate for direct financial losses resulting from the accident. These include:

  • Medical expenses—costs for both past and future medical treatments related to injuries sustained;
  • Lost wages—compensation for income lost due to time away from work while recovering;
  • Loss of earning capacity—compensation for injuries that impact the victim’s ability to earn money in the future; and
  • Property damage—reimbursement for repairs or replacement of property damaged in the accident, such as a vehicle.

Calculating these damages, especially those involving future losses, can be complicated. Victims will benefit from consulting with a Las Vegas drunk driver accident attorney to prove and calculate these losses. They will ensure that all potential economic damages are included in their claim.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages address losses that are not directly quantifiable financially but significantly impact the victim’s life, such as:

  • Pain and suffering—compensation for physical pain and emotional distress resulting from the accident;
  • Emotional distress—specific compensation for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and trauma;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life—damages for the diminished ability to enjoy daily activities and life pleasures; and
  • Loss of consortium—compensation provided to family members for the loss of companionship, affection, and support due to the injuries.

These damages are often subjective and require the knowledge of a Las Vegas drunk driver accident attorney to effectively argue their validity and extent in court.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages serve to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future. In Nevada, punitive damages can be substantial in DUI cases if the behavior of the drunk driver is particularly reckless or egregious.

According to Nevada Law, punitive damages in most car accidents are capped at $300,000 if the compensatory damages awarded are less than $100,000. If the compensatory damages exceed $100,000, punitive damages cannot exceed three times the compensatory damages. However, these caps do not apply if the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, highlighting the state’s strict stance against impaired driving. In some cases, if the DUI driver is a repeat offender, a jury or court may award punitive damages as a way to deter them from doing it again.

Common Injuries in DUI Accidents

Drunk driving accidents can result in a range of injuries, from minor to catastrophic. Some of the most common injuries in drunk driving accidents include:

  • Head and brain injuries,
  • Broken or fractured bones,
  • Lacerations,
  • Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries,
  • Spinal cord injuries,
  • Herniated discs,
  • Burns, and
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage.

Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you might be eligible for compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company. At Friedman Injury Law, we have experience handling a wide range of drunk driving injury claims. We know how to hold drunk drivers accountable and how to fight for the maximum compensation possible.

Does Nevada Have a Dram Shop Law?

Nevada does not have a standardized dram shop law. Some states have dram shop laws that allow injured victims to pursue compensation from bars, restaurants, and liquor stores—anywhere with a liquor license that sold or served the at-fault driver. In Nevada, your avenue of recovery is primarily limited to the drunk driver.

However, some scenarios might allow you to pursue a claim against another party. For example, social hosts who serve or allow minors to consume alcohol on the adult’s property. Another potential scenario is an individual or business that provides alcohol to someone under 21. Note: businesses with licenses to sell, serve, or furnish alcohol are exempt from this social host liability.

Please Contact a Las Vegas Drunk Driver Accident Attorney

If you have questions about pursuing a claim against a drunk driver, Friedman Injury Law can answer them, including how to establish liability and what your potential case is worth.

Dealing with the aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming. We prioritize providing compassionate, effective legal representation to fight for the justice you deserve. We have a proven record of success in Las Vegas, representing injured accident victims, including in drunk driving collisions. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

Blake is absolutely the best attorney I could ask for! "He took my case with no hesitation and is very knowledgeable and efficient. I appreciate his work ethic and all the communication he provided. If you want someone you can trust and take care of business Blake Friedman is your guy!” - Jessalyn B.