Drunk drivers are among the most common causes of high-speed automobile accidents. In North Carolina, these drivers may be charged and convicted of Driving While Impaired (DWI) under N.C.G.S. § 20-138.1. If you have been injured because of the drunk driver’s negligence, contact the Raleigh personal injury firm of Maginnis Law at 919.480.8526. Our firm can assist you in recovering fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In most DWI accident cases, our attorneys will also pursue recovery of punitive damages.
Defining DWI in North Carolina
North Carolina refers to a drunken driving offense as a DWI (and in some jurisdictions, a DUI). The relevant North Carolina statute, N.C.G.S § 20-138.1, provides that “[a] person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:
(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance; or
(2) After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. A chemical analysis is sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration; or
(3) With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90‑89 or its metabolites in his blood or urine.”
A DWI conviction of the at-fault driver is essential to your personal injury case in several respects. First, it is strong evidence that they caused the accident. The sentence makes it less likely that the insurance company’s adjuster or lawyer will aggressively pursue a contributory negligence claim. Driving impaired does not necessarily mean the driver caused your accident. Still, the intoxication makes it more likely that the jury will err on your side when it comes to liability.
Next, the fact that the impaired driver will be highly persuasive to the jury in determining appropriate compensatory damages. The jury is more likely to want to fully compensate you if the at-fault driver was convicted of a DWI than if they had just rear-ended you out of a lack of attention. Finally, a DWI conviction means you should get to the jury on punitive damages. The jury will be able to award punitive damages of up to the greater of $250,000.00 or three times your compensatory damages. So, if your compensatory damages were $150,000.00, the jury could award you as much as $450,000.00 in punitive damages.
Representation for DWI Automobile Accident Injuries
The Raleigh lawyers of Maginnis Law provide free consultations and evaluations to all victims of drunk drivers, including their passengers, and would be happy to represent you against the at-fault driver and their automobile insurance company. We regularly handle cases from Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Clayton, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Fayetteville, and the surrounding Triangle Area. We take all personal injury matters on a contingency basis. This means you pay no attorneys’ fees unless and until we make a financial recovery for you.
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Wake, Durham, Cumberland, Chatham, Orange, Alamance, Johnston, Nash, Moore, or Lee County, contact the automobile accident attorneys of Maginnis Howard at (919) 526-0450. You may also submit a new case inquiry by visiting our contact page.