A late 2019 report from a national insurance marketplace ranked Massachusetts the sixth “booziest brunching” state. The company analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data across four years to determine the percentage of fatal daytime automobile accidents attributable to driving under the influence.
Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire saw significant declines in drunk driving fatalities across the same time period: Massachusetts DUI deaths dropped by 21.05%, and New Hampshire’s drunk driving fatalities fell by an impressive 35.71%. Still, both came in above the national average in for day-drinking deaths. 14.57% of fatal Massachusetts car accidents between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. involved alcohol impairment. New Hampshire’s rate was lower, at 11.84%, and the national average was 10.83%.
Daytime DUI fatalities weren’t the only area where Massachusetts scored poorly, either. Boston ranked # 2 in the nation for the percentage of drivers in the city with at least one DUI. Earlier data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System revealed that Massachusetts drivers were more likely to self-reported having driven after drinking too much in the past 30 days than their peers nationwide.
Unfortunately, these negative trends mean people get hurt and killed. In 2019, 23% of traffic fatalities in Middlesex County involved alcohol. The percentages were even higher in neighboring counties: 31% in Worcester County and 35% in Norfolk County.
Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents
At first glance, it may seem that recovering damages after being injured by or losing a loved one to a drunk driver would be simple and straightforward. Getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol isn’t just negligent, it’s a crime—a violation of a law specifically intended to promote safety and prevent automobile accidents.
But, those seeking compensation after a drunk driving accident may face other challenges. Some of these include:
- A drunk driver operating without liability insurance, or with inadequate insurance to cover appropriate compensation
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limits being too low to fully compensate the injured person or surviving family members
- The responsible driver lacking assets to make a meaningful settlement or pay a judgment
Even the small recovery that might be available through wage garnishment is often lost or delayed in a drunk driving accident case, since the responsible driver is likely to be incarcerated and thus without income.
An experienced drunk driving accident attorney can assess the case and help to identify any possible responsible parties. In addition to the driver, these may include people or entities such as:
- The owner of the vehicle, if it was negligently entrusted to the drunk driver
- The driver’s employer, if the accident occurred while he or she was on the job
- The establishment that overserved the driver
Of course, the last thing someone recovering from a serious car accident or the loss of a loved one wants is to dig into the complexities of personal injury law and attempt to figure out who may be responsible and how to pursue compensation. That’s why it’s smart to talk to an experienced DUI accident victim’s attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
An attorney who is experienced in assessing liability and assembling evidence can take charge of the investigation, interact with insurance carriers and other parties on your behalf, and construct the strongest possible claim based on the specifics of your case.