Mike Bottaro car accident attorney

Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Rhode Island

drunk drivingDrunk driving accidents in Rhode Island are one of the biggest risks to other motorists and pedestrians on the road. A driver intoxicated by alcohol or drugs has a reduced ability to safely operate their vehicle due to slowed reaction times, altered perception, and impaired judgment. If you were injured by a drunk driver, a Rhode Island drunk driving accident attorney can help you pursue accountability and justice from the person who hurt you.

At Bottaro Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have years of experience advocating for accident victims. We focus only on injury cases, which gives us in-depth expertise to work on your behalf. Our award-winning firm has a proven track record in our clients’ cases, reflected in the millions of dollars in compensation we have won in settlements and at trial. When you turn to our firm for help in your DUI accident case, you’ll have peace of mind with our firm’s No Fee Guarantee. You will never need to pay anything upfront, and we are paid only when we win compensation for you.

If a drunk driver has injured you, don’t wait to begin pursuing accountability and justice for the harm you have suffered. Reach out to Bottaro Injury Lawyers today for a free initial case review to learn more about how a Rhode Island drunk driving accident attorney from our firm can assist you with your DUI accident claim

Who Can Be Held Responsible After You’ve Been Injured by a Drunk Driver?

When an intoxicated driver causes a motor vehicle accident, several parties may be held liable for your injuries and losses. The liable party depends on the circumstances of the DUI accident and Rhode Island alcohol laws. Liability is something your drunk driving accident lawyer can help you determine.

Driver and Insurance Company

A drunk driver who causes a motor vehicle accident will likely be liable for injuries and property damage that occurred as a result. The drunk driver’s auto liability insurer will likely take responsibility for compensating the accident victims, up to the drunk driver’s coverage limits.

Other Liable Parties

Parties other than the drunk driver may also have liability for drunk driving auto accidents in Rhode Island, such as the following:

  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants
  • Social hosts (i.e., someone throwing a party at home or in a private rented space)

Understanding Dram Shop Liability

Rhode Island General Statues §3-14-6 and §3-14-7 establish dram shop liability under state law. An establishment such as a bar, restaurant, or nightclub can be held liable for injuries and property damage from an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. This requires that the establishment negligently or recklessly provided alcohol to a minor or visibly intoxicated person who consumed the alcohol and then caused an accident.

Negligence occurs when an establishment’s owner or employee serves a patron knowing that they are under 21 or visibly intoxicated. If a reasonable person would have known the individual was a minor or clearly intoxicated, then negligence may also be established. Negligence will be assumed unless proven otherwise if the server provided alcohol without checking identification first.

Recklessness occurs when an establishment intentionally serves alcoholic beverages to a patron that they know is a minor or visibly intoxicated person. This requires that the server know that giving the individual alcohol will physically harm the drinker or others. Recklessness may also include the following:

  • Encouraging the drinker to consume a considerable amount of alcohol
  • Serving enough alcohol to risk death by alcohol poisoning

Rhode Island law also imposes social host liability for a drunk driving accident in limited circumstances. This is specifically if the social host had a “special relationship” with the intoxicated driver who caused an accident. To date, courts have only recognized a “special relationship” existing between a responsible adult who provided alcohol to a minor.

Demanding Compensation for Your Drunk Driving Accident Injury

As a drunk driving victim, you may be entitled to recover compensation for expenses and losses you incurred due to your injuries and property damage, including the following:

  • Costs of medical treatment and physical rehabilitation of injuries
  • Costs of long-term care for permanent disabilities
  • Lost income if you take time off work to recover
  • Loss of future earning capacity when long-term or permanent disabilities interfere with your ability to return to work
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Loss of quality of life because of visible disfigurement or physical disabilities interfering with your daily life
  • Costs to repair and replace damaged or destroyed property, such as your vehicle that was involved in the accident

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim After Drunk Driving Accidents in Rhode Island?

Under Rhode Island’s statute of limitations, you typically have three years from the date of the drunk driving accident to file a lawsuit against the intoxicated driver or other liable parties. If you wait until after the limitations period expires, you run the risk of your case being permanently dismissed as untimely by the court and losing the right to recover compensation for your injuries.

It’s essential to contact a Rhode Island drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident so you don’t run out of time. A DUI accident lawyer will be able to help you collect all the evidence you need before it’s gone and handle the insurance companies while you recover.

What Is the Difference Between Criminal DUI Charges and a Civil Case?

Although both may arise from a drunk driving collision, criminal DUI charges and a civil DUI accident claim have important differences. The state brings a criminal DUI case against a drunk driver for violating the law against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver could not safely operate a motor vehicle due to intoxication. If convicted, a drunk driver could face the following penalties:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Fines
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Requirement to attend alcohol education courses
  • Insurance surcharges
  • Requirement to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles

A civil DUI accident case is filed by someone who suffered injuries or property damage in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. In a civil case, the injured party must prove that it was more likely than not that the accident wouldn’t have occurred if the driver were not under the influence. The injured party can seek to recover financial compensation for expenses and losses they sustained due to injuries and property damage.

How a Rhode Island Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help You

A DUI accident attorney from Bottaro Injury Lawyers can help you pursue your rights to financial recovery by doing the following for you:

  • Investigating the accident to recover important evidence, including accident scene photos and surveillance video, police accident reports, arrest and conviction records, and medical records from your treatment
  • Documenting your injuries and calculating the losses you suffered from the accident
  • Identifying other parties besides the drunk driver who can be held liable
  • Filing your demands for compensation with the liable parties and insurers
  • Aggressively pursuing negotiations for a settlement that provides you with fair and full compensation
  • Taking your case to court when litigation becomes necessary to demand maximum compensation for you

What to Do If You’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver

If you were hit by a drunk driver, you should take the following steps to protect your legal rights and interests:

  • Take photos and video of the accident scene, including details like vehicle damage, traffic signs and controls, skid marks or debris in the road, weather and lighting conditions, and any visible injuries you suffered.
  • Do not try to confront a drunk driver. Contact law enforcement after the accident and let the police handle the situation.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible to have a doctor diagnose the injuries you suffered from the accident. Follow the treatment instructions you are given.
  • Keep copies of bills and invoices for expenses from the accident and your injuries, along with copies of your pay stubs or income statements if you missed time from work.

Finally, make time to speak to a DUI accident lawyer from Bottaro Injury Lawyers to discuss your case and the next steps to take in pursuing your compensation.

Rhode Island Alcohol Laws

Some of the most important alcohol laws in Rhode Island include:

  • A person must be 21 years or older to purchase or consume alcohol.
  • Non-commercial drivers 21 and older are driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit of .08 percent.
  • Commercial vehicle operators are subject to a legal BAC limit of .04 percent.
  • Online sales and delivery of packaged alcohol are permitted.
  • Liquor stores may only open between the hours of 9 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Happy hours may not be advertised and may not start before 6 p.m.
  • Bartenders must be at least 18 years old.
  • Bars must close by 1 a.m.

Talk to a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Rhode Island

Contact Bottaro Injury Lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation if you’re a drunk driving victim. We represent clients in Providence, Pawtucket, East Providence, North Smithfield, Warwick, and Massachusetts. Our drunk driving accident lawyers are ready to discuss your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation.