Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Waipahu, Hawaii
Drunk driving is a major safety concern throughout the United States. Sadly, Hawaii is no exception. Statewide data indicates that 31 percent of all traffic fatalities over a recent five-year period were due to drunk driving accidents.
If a drunk driver in Waipahu hurt you, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. A legal claim allows you to hold the intoxicated driver responsible for their selfish actions. However, another party could be partly liable for the crash as well. A drunk driving accident lawyer from Recovery Law Center can investigate your case and make sure everyone is held accountable for their part in causing the collision.
At Recovery Law Center, we’ve seen how the reckless actions of an impaired driver can devastate lives forever. Words cannot express the profound grief that victims and/or their families experience in the wake of a drunk driver accident. It’s even harder knowing that all the heartache could have been avoided ― if only the intoxicated driver called a taxi or handed their keys to a sober friend before heading out.
Our Hawaii personal injury lawyers have more than a quarter-century of experience helping individuals and families living with the painful consequences of others’ reckless choices. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a Waipahu drunk driving accident lawyer.
Understanding Drunk Driving Accident Liability in Hawaii
Hawaii law prohibits all persons from driving or being in actual physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. If a drunk driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding the legal limit of 0.08, it is considered a “per se” DUI. Prosecutors don’t even need to prove the driver was impaired to convict them formally.
However, the driver isn’t always the only person to blame when a drunk driving accident occurs. In many cases, drunk drivers receive their alcohol from third parties, such as bars, restaurants, or informal hosts who provide alcohol socially. If you were injured by a drunk driver who obtained alcohol from another party, you might have grounds for a claim against that party and the drunk driver.
Drunk Driving Laws in Waipahu, HI
Hawaii has strict laws against drunk driving:
- The maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08 for passenger vehicle drivers. The allowable limit is cut in half for commercial drivers to 0.04 percent. In an attempt to curb the number of drunk driving cases in Hawaii, lawmakers are pushing to decrease the BAC for non-commercial drivers to 0.05.
- Drivers are presumed to be impaired if found with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. However, drivers can also be charged with DUI if they cannot operate a vehicle safely after consuming alcohol, regardless of their BAC level. “Buzzed driving” can still lead to fatal crashes.
- Hawaii has an implied consent law requiring all drivers pulled over to submit to mandatory blood, breath, or other alcohol testing.
- Refusal can result in the automatic revocation of their driver’s licenses.
- Under Hawaii’s personal injury laws, impaired drivers can be held civilly liable for causing alcohol-related crashes.
- Bars, liquor stores, restaurants, and other commercial establishments may sometimes be liable for drunk driving accidents. Our impaired driving lawyers can investigate whether these “dram shop laws” apply in your case.
- The legal drinking age for Hawaii drivers is 21.
- The penalties for every DUI offense could include fines, jail time, and community service. A subsequent DUI conviction can escalate the punishments to include revocation of a driver’s license and installing an ignition interlock device (IID) to prevent them from driving until they pass a breathalyzer test.
Dram Shop Liability
Under Hawaii law, liquor stores and other alcohol vendors may be subject to “dram shop liability” for a drunk driving accident injury caused by an intoxicated driver if they sell alcohol to:
- Individuals under the legal drinking age of 21
- Those who are already under the influence
Social Host Liability
Similarly, social hosts of private gatherings may be subject to “social host liability” for injuries or damage caused by a drunk driver whom they provided with alcohol. However, social hosts can only be held liable if they serve alcohol to guests under the legal drinking age.
Effects of Drunk Driving
Everyone responds differently to alcohol. But no matter how someone feels after a few drinks, any amount of alcohol in their bloodstream can significantly affect their ability to drive safely. In addition, the more alcohol a person consumes, the more difficulty they have judging how intoxicated they are.
Most people display signs of impairment well before they reach the legal limit. As a person’s BAC increases, these impairments become more apparent:
- Slowed reaction time — Alcohol slows reflexes, making it more difficult to react quickly to traffic scenarios.
- Poor visual acuity — Alcohol slows down the muscles that move and focus the eyes, resulting in blurred vision and difficulty seeing, especially at night.
- Diminished depth perception — Alcohol impairs depth perception, decreasing the ability to judge the relative positions of cars and objects nearby.
- Trouble concentrating — Alcohol can reduce a person’s attention span, making it more challenging to pay attention to the road and stay alert.
- Reduced comprehension — Alcohol can impair the ability to make rational decisions and safe judgments when responding to changes in traffic.
Common Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Drunk driving accidents often result in horrific injuries for both drivers and passengers, including:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Cuts, abrasions, and scrapes
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- External head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Wrongful death
Compensation After a Drunk Driving Accident in Waipahu
A Waipahu drunk driving accident lawsuit is a type of civil claim, which means the drunk driver and any other at-fault parties face financial penalties for their wrongdoing rather than criminal ones. If you can demonstrate that the drunk driver or any other parties were at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you may be awarded compensation for your crash-related damages, including:
- Medical expenses — The costs of medical care for any injuries suffered in the crash
- Lost wages — The value of any wages or income you lost from missed time at work
- Incidental expenses — Any out-of-pocket costs you incurred as a result of the accident, such as the cost of traveling to and from medical appointments
- Property damage — Any repair or replacement costs for your vehicle or personal property damaged in the wreck
- Pain and suffering — The intangible cost of the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident and your injuries
Why File a Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawsuit?
Under Hawaii’s no-fault insurance system, your first option to recover compensation after an auto accident is to file a claim with your own insurer and claim your PIP benefits. However, these benefits only cover your losses up to the limits of your car insurance policy. If your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses go beyond these limits, you’ll have to find another way to get the money you need.
A car accident lawsuit is another way individuals may be able to pursue compensation for injuries from drinking and driving accidents. Hawaii law allows crash victims to file suit if they’ve suffered severe injuries, and a car accident lawyer can determine whether your injuries meet the serious injury criteria set by state law. A drunk driving lawsuit also allows you to seek compensation for losses not covered by your PIP benefits.
Family members of individuals killed in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver may also be entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
Time Limit for Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit in Waipahu
If you believe you have grounds for a drunk driving accident lawsuit, you should understand how Hawaii’s statute of limitations could affect your case.
Under Hawaii law, all personal injury lawsuits, including drunk driving accident claims, must be filed within two years of the date when the injury first occurred. If you try to file after the deadline passes, the court can dismiss your case, and you lose your right to demand compensation for your losses.
A dedicated drunk driving accident attorney in Waipahu can help you keep track of important deadlines and ensure your case isn’t derailed by avoidable administrative errors.
How a Waipahu Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help You
At Recovery Law Center, our Waipahu drunk driving accident lawyers can support you through every stage of your legal case by:
- Explaining your rights and legal options in a free case evaluation
- Starting work on your case immediately, with no up-front or out-of-pocket costs
- Conducting a thorough and independent investigation of the accident
- Interviewing witnesses to obtain valuable statements supporting your case
- Working with expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists
- Communicating with medical providers to ensure you receive the care you need
- Dealing with insurance companies and other attorneys on your behalf
- Negotiating aggressively to maximize your compensation
- Representing you at trial if necessary