People know that drunk driving is dangerous and illegal. Still, for whatever reason, many people continue to engage in this reckless behavior in Oklahoma City and throughout the state. In fact, in 2016 alone, drunk drivers caused more than 3,500 crashes in Oklahoma, including 173 fatal accidents, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
There is no excuse for these crashes. If a drunk driver hurt you or caused the tragic loss of a loved one, then you have a right to hold that driver accountable and recover all compensation you are due.
About Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
The dedicated Oklahoma City car accident lawyers of Cain Law Office have more than two decades of experience with recovering maximum compensation for injured crash victims. Our founder, Monty Cain, has earned recognition from the National Association of Top 100 Trial Lawyers and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We are ready to go to work for you today. Contact us to schedule a private and completely free consultation.
What Are the Drunk Driving Laws in Oklahoma?
Drunk driving is a crime in Oklahoma. It is also strong evidence of negligence. In some cases, it may be negligence as a matter of law. The issue often turns on the degree to which someone is intoxicated. For this reason, you should understand Oklahoma’s drunk driving laws as you move forward with your case against the driver who hit you.
- Driving under the influence – A person in Oklahoma who is of legal age to drink (21 or older) faces a charge of “driving under the influence” (DUI) if the person is arrested and found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. A DUI is considered a “per se” offense. If a person’s BAC is above the limit, the person is presumed to be in violation of the law. A person can also receive a DUI charge for being under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
- Driving while impaired – Another possible charge a person can receive in Oklahoma is “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired” (DWI). This charge is typically brought against a driver whose BAC is below the “per se” legal limit but is still high enough that the officer believes the person to be impaired by alcohol or an illegal substance. Typically, a person receives a DWI charge when his or her BAC is between 0.05 and 0.07.
- Underage DUI/DWI – Drivers who are under 21 years of age are strictly prohibited from drinking. So, even a slight amount of alcohol is enough to face criminal charges. In Oklahoma, a BAC as low as 0.02 is enough for police to charge a minor with DUI.
- Commercial drivers – Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders are responsible for operating large and very dangerous vehicles. A CDL driver in Oklahoma can receive a DUI charge if the driver has a BAC as low as 0.04.
As 2016 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals, drunk drivers with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit (0.08) who are involved in fatal accidents are as much as 4.5 times more likely to be repeat offenders. In other words, a lot of DUI crashes are due to chronic and habitual drunk drivers – people who know the dangers and consequences of drunk driving, but they choose to do it anyway. At Cain Law Office, we believe these drivers should be held fully accountable.
Who Can You Sue If a Drunk Driver Injures You in Oklahoma?
It all comes down to who is responsible for your injuries. If a drunk driver causes your injuries, then you clearly can sue that person. To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver, you would need to prove:
- The driver was impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination
- The driver’s impairment or intoxication directly caused the crash
- The crash directly caused your injuries.
If you are a passenger in a car with a drunk driver, and you are injured, then you may have a right to bring a case against the driver. Insurance companies might argue that you were partially to blame for assuming the risk. However, Cain Law Office will aggressively fight that argument and fight for what you are due.
In some cases, the drunk driver is not the only one who is at fault for an accident. Other parties who could be liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Alcohol vendors – In limited situations, Oklahoma law gives injured persons a right to file a claim against the owners of establishments that serve alcohol. These are called dram shop cases. To bring this type of claim, you must prove that the establishment served a driver who was visibly intoxicated or under age 21, and the intoxication caused your injuries.
- Employers – If the drunk driver was “on the clock” at the time of the accident, then you may be able to bring a claim against the driver’s employer. In Oklahoma, employers are generally responsible for the actions of their employees that occur within the course and scope of their employment. Employers such as trucking companies may also be responsible for hiring drivers without conducting an adequate background check or for negligently training and supervising drivers.
- Vehicle owners – If a vehicle owner allows a drunk person to drive his or her vehicle, and it leads to injury or death, then the vehicle owner may be held liable for negligently entrusting the vehicle to that person.
You can count on Cain Law Office to put our rapid-response investigation team on your case and thoroughly research and investigate the facts to identify all potential sources of compensation.
What Damages Can You Recover in an Oklahoma Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
Our dedicated attorneys will work hard to pursue what is owed to you, including:
- Past medical expenses and reasonably anticipated future medical bills
- Lost income and decreased potential to earn money in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress (including post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Loss of consortium (if your spouse suffers life-altering injuries)
- Punitive damages (to punish the wrongdoer and deter future bad conduct)
- Wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one).
How Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Can Help
When you work with the personal injury attorneys of Cain Law Office, you can rest easy and know that we will skillfully manage all aspects of your case. We will:
- Investigate your accident to identify who is responsible and how bad your injuries are
- Identify all insurance policies and assets available to compensate you for your injuries
- Meet with you to discuss and better understand the entire impact of the injuries on your life and your family
- Calculate your total losses
- Negotiate with the insurance company to settle your case
- If necessary, put forth a strong and compelling case at trial.
Additionally, throughout your case, we will make sure that you have the resources and support you need, and we will be available 24/7 to answer your questions. We won’t charge you anything unless we secure compensation for you through a settlement or verdict.
Contact Our Oklahoma City Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
With offices in Edmond and Oklahoma City, Cain Law Office can meet with you today to discuss your case in more detail and explain the many ways in which we can serve you. Contact us now to schedule your free case review.