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Edwardsville
Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
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St. Louis
Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Construction Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Dangerous Drugs
Defective Products
Chemical Exposure

The #1 St. Louis Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a St. Louis Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit Claim.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman
Tor Hoerman

Attorney Tor Hoerman, admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association since 1995 and The Missouri Bar since 2009, specializes nationally in mass tort litigations. Locally, Tor specializes in auto accidents and a wide variety of personal injury incidents occuring in Illinois and Missouri.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

TorHoerman Law: The #1 St. Louis Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Injured Victims

Looking for an experienced St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer?

Our team of accomplished drunk driving accident lawyers at TorHoerman Law has been awarded over $4 Billion in verdicts and negotiated settlements on behalf of our clients since 2009.

On this page, we’ll discuss the benefits of hiring a St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer, how our St. Louis car accident lawyers can help you seek justice, the process for legal action regarding injuries sustained from drunk driving accidents, and much more.

St. Louis Car Accident Attorneys for Drunk Driving Accident Victims

Dealing with a tragic motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver can be overwhelming.

The physical, emotional, and financial toll of such accidents can leave victims feeling helpless and uncertain about their next steps.

At TorHoerman Law, we are committed to helping victims of DUI accidents seek the justice and compensation they deserve.

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If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be eligible to file a claim.

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys to learn about your legal options for Missouri car accident claims.

You can also use the chatbot on this page for an instant case evaluation to find out if you qualify for a car accident injury claim.

Our law firm is focused on securing full and fair compensation for car accident victims.

Reach out to us today to find out if you have a personal injury case and how our car accident lawyers can help you recover compensation.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Impact of Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving accidents are one of the most fatal types of motor vehicle accidents nationwide.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 37 Americans die every day from drunk driving accidents.

In 2021, the agency reported 13,384 individuals died from preventable drunk driving accidents.

This number was 14% higher than the previous year.

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In 2020, the Department of Public Safety-Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 47,894 individuals injured from car accidents in the state.

Of the 47,894 reported, 987 individuals died.

St. Louis car accidents are the second most deadly car accidents in the state.

In 2020, the Missouri DPS documented 123 fatalities in Jackson County, followed by 94 fatalities in St. Louis County and 81 in St. Louis City.

Across all the counties and cities in the state, authorities estimate that about 121 of the fatalities had alcohol involvement.

The recklessness of driving under the influence leads to severe, often irreversible injuries, and in too many cases, fatalities.

The seriousness of these accidents cannot be overstated, as they not only shatter lives but also leave lasting emotional and financial burdens on those affected.

Society’s collective effort to combat drunk driving is crucial to prevent these needless tragedies and uphold public safety.

Common Car Accident Injuries

If you were involved in a car accident in St. Louis, it is essential to seek medical treatment right away.

Even if you feel fine, some injuries may not manifest until days or weeks later.

Car accident injuries are notorious for causing chronic pain, long-term health complications, and debilitating conditions.

Some of the most common serious injuries sustained in car accidents include:

  • Whiplash
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Other bodily injury

Some of these injuries are treatable and avoidable if they are caught early.

Because of the severity of these injuries, it’s critical to contact medical personnel right after an accident, regardless of whether you’re an active party or a witness.

If you have suffered a serious injury after being involved in a car accident, contact our law firm.

Drunk Driving Laws in Missouri

Like most states, the state government of Missouri imposes a legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to declare a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.

However, this limit doesn’t mean those with less than 0.08% BAC are free from liability.

Underaged drivers (those below 21 years old) with a BAC of 0.02% or higher can be charged with DWI.

The potential penalties for DWI vary depending on the BAC level, the number of previous offenses, and other factors.

In most cases, a DWI without inflicting serious damage or a first-time offense will often result in a Class B misdemeanor.

This offense level usually entails around 48 hours to six months of jail sentence and a fine of up to $500.

Legal Challenges in DUI Accidents

Legal challenges in DUI accidents often involve proving the driver’s intoxication level and establishing their liability for the resulting harm.

Gathering concrete evidence, such as breathalyzer or blood test results, can be crucial yet complex, especially if contested by the defense.

Determining fault in these cases often hinges on intricate legal arguments and interpretation of traffic laws.

Additionally, DUI accident cases can involve negotiating with insurance companies, which may attempt to minimize payouts or dispute liability.

Navigating these legal hurdles requires expert legal knowledge and experience, highlighting the importance of skilled legal representation in such cases.

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Proving Intoxication

Proving intoxication in drunk driving car accidents can be challenging, especially if the other party refuses to take a breathalyzer or blood test.

Legally, individuals may deny these tests, but doing so can lead to automatic license suspension, a risk some are willing to take.

Without a breathalyzer test, proving intoxication will rely on other evidence and witness testimonies.

Some evidence may include CCTV footage from a nearby commercial establishment, police officer observations, and statements from witnesses.

Proving intoxication is undeniably challenging but not impossible with the right St. Louis car accident attorney.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Dealing with the other party’s insurance company is frustrating and challenging for many personal injury victims.

Insurance companies of the defendants won’t easily part with the compensation you deserve.

They may even use underhanded tactics, such as offering a portion of what you’re entitled to or delaying the payment process.

Having an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney handle the negotiations could help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.

Attorneys handle all communication and paperwork so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Establishing Liability

Determining who is at fault in a drunk driving accident can also be challenging, especially when there are multiple parties involved.

One of the arguments the opposing party might make is the right of way.

They could claim that you were the one who violated a traffic rule, leading to the accident.

However, this argument is not always valid.

Sometimes, the drunk driver may be more at fault than any other party involved.

The key here is to produce substantial proof proving the driver’s intoxication.

An experienced car accident attorney can gather evidence and build a solid case to establish liability and hold the right parties accountable for their negligence.

Dealing With Multiple Liable Parties

As mentioned above, having multiple liable parties is another common hurdle encountered in DUI accidents.

A liable party is anyone responsible for the accident’s occurrence, such as a drunk driver or the establishment that served them alcohol.

Establishments that serve alcohol to individuals who cause accidents could possibly be held liable according to Missouri’s “Dram Shop Law“.

Since the repeal of the original Missouri Dram Shop Act in 1934, the state has followed the common law that serving alcohol is not the proximate cause of injuries caused by intoxicated persons.

However, there are exceptions:

  1. A person licensed to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink for on-premises consumption can face a lawsuit if they served alcohol to someone under 21 years of age, or to a visibly intoxicated person, and this action can be proven with clear and convincing evidence.
  2. A person is considered “visibly intoxicated” if they display significant physical impairment or dysfunction. Blood alcohol content alone is not sufficient to establish visible intoxication but can be used as relevant evidence.
  3. The law does not allow individuals who voluntarily become intoxicated (and are over 21) to seek recovery for injuries. This restriction also applies to their dependents, personal representatives, and heirs.
  4. In cases involving minors, a seller’s liability can be assessed based on whether they checked for and were shown a genuine ID that falsely indicated the minor was of legal drinking age.
  5. Employers are prohibited from firing employees who refuse to serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.

This law creates specific circumstances under which sellers of alcoholic beverages can be held legally responsible for injuries or deaths caused by individuals to whom they have served alcohol.

Having multiple liable parties can complicate the legal process, but an experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate this complex situation effectively.

Compensation and Justice for DUI Accident Victims

When processing a car accident claim, drunk driving victims are often entitled to multiple forms of compensation, including economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

Victims may also seek non-economic damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.

The court may also award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for their recklessness or gross negligence.

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Here are some of the most common compensatory damages victims may receive in a DUI accident lawsuit:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Medical Expenses

Car accident victims in drunk driving accidents often face severe injuries that may require extensive medical treatment.

Compensation for medical expenses can cover the costs of hospitalization, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and other associated medical bills.

This compensation also extends to future medical treatment if you sustain long-term or debilitating injuries.

Your lawyer can help you appraise your medical expenses and ensure you receive proper compensation.

Lost Wages

If you’re working and had to take time off due to your injuries, you can claim compensation for lost wages.

This compensation includes income lost during the hospitalization, treatment, and recovery periods.

If your injuries result in a long-term disability that affects your ability to work, you may be entitled to compensation for future lost earnings.

Sometimes, the court may also award you with compensation for skill rehabilitation if your injuries affect your career prospects.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages refer to the physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress victims experience after a DUI accident.

While these non-economic damages are challenging to quantify, experienced car accident lawyers can help determine appropriate compensation based on the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life.

Punitive Damages

As mentioned earlier, the court could award punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct was excessively reckless or malicious.

This compensation punishes the defendant and deters others from engaging in similar behavior.

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, this compensation doesn’t always apply and is only awarded in extreme cases.

Navigating the Missouri Legal System

Understanding the legal system and procedures of a car accident case in St. Louis is critical to ensure a favorable outcome.

An experienced car accident lawyer can guide you through every step of the process, from initial filing to settlement negotiations or court appearances.

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Missouri Statute of Limitations

According to the Missouri Revised Statutes § 516.120, personal injury victims have five years to file a civil lawsuit in Missouri courts.

This time limit, known as the statute of limitations, provides a deadline for victims to pursue legal action against the at-fault party.

If you fail to file your case within this time frame, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries.

Although five years is a lot of time, building a strong case after some time has passed can be challenging.

Evidence could disappear, and witnesses’ memories may fade, so it’s best to act promptly to preserve proof and protect your rights.

Comparative Negligence in Missouri

The state of Missouri follows a pure comparative negligence doctrine, meaning that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages.

However, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For example, if the court finds you 20% responsible for the accident and awards you $100,000 in damages, the court will reduce your compensation to $80,000.

Missouri Is an At-Fault Car Accident State

Drunk driving accident victims in Missouri can pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company as the state follows an “at-fault” car insurance system.

This system holds the driver responsible for paying compensation for any damages they cause in an accident.

In contrast, “no-fault” states require drivers to seek compensation from their insurance company before pursuing the at-fault party.

In no-fault states, victims may only pursue a legal claim if their injuries meet a certain severity threshold and they qualify for other special circumstances.

Support and Resources for Car Accident Victims

Car accident cases involving intoxicated driving could result in tragic consequences.

These accidents can leave victims with severe injuries, trauma, and financial strain.

It’s essential to have a team of compassionate legal representatives who can guide you through the legal process while providing support and resources to aid in your recovery.

Competency in lawyers isn’t solely measured by the cases they win but also by their commitment to their client’s well-being.

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Exceptional lawyers take the time to listen, understand, and empathize with their clients and their families while providing effective legal representation.

We are not just lawyers; we are advocates who stand by your side through every step of your legal journey.

We understand that behind every case is a human story, and we strive to bring justice and closure to those stories.

Choosing us means choosing a firm that not only aims to win your case but also seeks to make a positive impact in your life.

TorHoerman Law: Your St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

The aftermath of a DUI accident can be catastrophic and traumatizing.

If a reckless drunk driver injured you, our team of St. Louis auto accident attorneys at TorHoerman Law is here to help.

Our experienced lawyers have a track record of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients in personal injury cases across Missouri and Illinois.

We understand the complexities of DUI accidents and car accident claims and can provide you with legal representation that ensures justice and fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

You can also use our chatbot on this page for an instant case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I do immediately following a drunk driving accident in St. Louis?

    If you’re involved in a drunk driving accident, prioritize your safety and health first.

    Seek medical attention, even if injuries are not immediately apparent, contact law enforcement and obtain a police report, and then contact a St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer to discuss your legal options and next steps.

  • How can a St. Louis DUI accident lawyer help me?

    A St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer can assist you by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court if necessary.

    Our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

    Contact us today for a free consultation, or use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a car accident lawsuit instantly.

  • What types of compensation can I pursue in a drunk driving accident case?

    In a drunk driving accident case, you may be eligible for compensation covering medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident, such as vehicle repair costs.

    Your lawyer can provide a comprehensive assessment of your case to determine the full extent of compensation you’re entitled to.

  • Is there a time limit to file a claim after a drunk driving accident in St. Louis?

    Yes, Missouri law stipulates a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims, including those resulting from drunk driving accidents.

    It’s crucial to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed within this legally mandated timeframe.

  • What if the liable party's insurance company offers me a settlement?

    Before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company, consult with a St. Louis drunk driving accident lawyer.

    They can help you determine if the offer is fair and negotiate for a better settlement if it doesn’t adequately cover your damages and losses.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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