Hamilton Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Drinking and driving continues to be one of Ontario’s most significant roadway problems. In 2015, Stats Can published that police in Canada reported about 72,000 impaired driving incidents – which is about of 201 accidents per 100,000 people. Most negligent impaired drivers were male, between the ages of 20 and 14 years old.
Despite the steady decline in drunk driving rates over the past 25 to 30 years, drinking and driving still remains one of the leading causes of death in Canada. From a criminal prospective, there are about thirteen-thousand drinking and driving convictions annually in the province of Ontario alone. What is even more concerning is that over eighty percent of the convicted drunk drivers are first time offenders. About seventeen thousand total impaired driving incidents were reported by police in Ontario in 2015. Even more shocking was that nearly four thousand people were injured in car accidents involving a drinking driver or impaired driver.
Lalande & Company Lawyers, has no sympathy for people who choose to drink and drive and cause harm to others. If you were injured or a loved was killed by a drunk driver, we’ll do everything we can to hold that the negligent driver responsible and accountable to you or your loved ones. Get in touch with our Hamilton drunk driving accident lawyers today at 905-333-8888 or by filling out an online contact form.
Hurt by a drunk driver and don’t know what to do?
Most people are under the belief that if they are injured in a car accident, the criminal system will simply punish the people that caused them harm. Although there are very serious sanctions for driver’s convicted of drinking and driving in Ontario, impaired drivers also face the possibility of getting sued for causing injuries to their victims.
Therefore, a convicted person can not only lose their licence, be fined, spend time in jail, face the embarrassment of an ignition interlock condition, alcohol treatment program, and not be allowed to drive; their negligence also opens up a possibility of a lawsuit if the victim they harm suffers permanent and serious injuries or a loved one has been killed.
Therefore, in addition to police or the OPP pressing criminal charges, injured victims or their families have the right to pursue claims in civil court to recover compensation. You certainly do not have to wait for the criminal charges to conclude before you pursue your lawsuit for compensation. You can sue the driver and his or her insurance company to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
- If a driver is arrested and charged for impaired driving, he or she will need to be convicted and sentenced.
- If you have been hurt or you have lost a loved in a drunk driving accident, criminal proceedings do not apply to your case. You have the full right to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver and his insurance company for financial compensation for your injuries, wage losses and other damages that you may have suffered.
Who do you sue in a drunk driving claim?
If you have been injured in a drinking and driving accident, alcohol providers could be liable for the actions of drunk drivers that caused the car wreck. The laws on drinking and driving are very stringent for both drivers on our roadways and alcohol providers in the Ontario. Alcohol providers, such as bars or taverns, hotels or restaurants have to abide by very strict laws. It has long been established in our province that an alcohol provider will held liable for losses as a result of an intoxicated person leaving the establishment, drinking and driving, and causing an accident with and/or injuring a third party.
There is a duty of care that exists between establishments that serve alcohol and their patrons that become intoxicated. Bars and restaurants may be required to prevent a drunken person from drinking and driving when it is simply apparent that that person intends to drive. Bars, restaurants and other establishments may be negligent if there is a foreseeable risk of harm to that person that intends to drive, or third party such as his/her passengers in the car. This duty also extends if the patron was not apparently exhibiting any visible signs of intoxication. If there is an intention to drive, and that person was over served then the bar or restaurant can be found liable.
Remember – there may be more than one person or party involved that caused your accident. The drinking could have started at a friends and proceeded to a bar or nightclub. There could be multiple parties involved with the driver’s alcohol consumption.
What compensation can be recovered?
If you have been hurt or you have lost loved ones in an accident caused by a drunk driver you may be entitled to compensation, some of which includes:
- Compensation for pain and suffering – If you have been hurt, you may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities for the inability to lead a normal life due your mental and physical injuries.
- Wage Loss – If you have suffered an income loss because you were hurt, you may be entitled to an award for past and future loss income.
- Housekeeping Capacity Losses: Housekeeping compensation is for the value of the work that you could have done but which you incapable of performing because you are hurt. You have lost an asset: your ability to perform household tasks that would have been of value to you as well as others in the family unit but for the accident.
- Future health care costs: Future cost of care claims are mostly advanced in cases involving serious brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, or in cases where the victim’s life has been seriously altered and he/she needs ongoing help. You can be awarded health care costs that are not covered by OHIP or your car insurance benefits.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are intended to punish drunk drivers for “egregiously wrongful acts” and to discourage other people from acting similarly.
If a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, who can claim compensation?
Pursuant to section 61(1) of the Family Law Act, if a person is injured or killed by the fault or neglect of another under circumstances where the person is entitled to recover damages (or would have been entitled to recover if not killed), a spouse, the kids, the grand-kids, the parents, the grandparents, as well as siblings of the person killed are entitled to maintain a wrongful death action and seek compensation for the loss of their loved one.
The Estate of your loved one can also claim damages.
A spouse is defined as two people who are married to each other or two people who are not married to each other and have cohabited continuously for a period of not less than three years or two people who are not married to each other and have cohabited in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.
What kind of compensation can be claimed in a wrongful death case if a loved one was killed by a drunk driver?
In drunk driving wrongful death cases, the Estate and family of the victim may seek:
- Compensation for Pain and Suffering – Your loved one’s estate can make a claim for compensation under the Trustee Act if your loved one was hurt and suffered before he or she passed away from his or her injuries.
- A Dependency Claim – If your loved one was a financial contributor to the household, then you can make a dependency claim for lost shared income and financial contribution to the household. Damages are to restore a victim to the same position he/she would have been in but for the accident. If you no longer benefit from your spouse’s income into a shared family environment when you may be entitled to damages.
- Punitive Damages – Your estate is entitled to make the argument for punitive damages.
- Funeral Expenses – Reasonably incurred funeral expenses can be claimed.
- Loss of Care, Guidance and Companionship – You may claim compensation for the loss of care guidance and companionship that has been lost which flowed from the deceased to you.
- Monetary Losses – If before your loved one has died, you have provided nursing, housekeeping or other services to which the value of those services may need to be reimbursed.
Liability in Impaired Driving Accidents
Proving that a defendant is at fault is different from a civil (i.e. lawsuit) than it is within the criminal justice system. Within the criminal justice system, if a drunk driver causes an accident then he or she is charged with impaired driving contrary to various sections in the Criminal Code of Canada. In a civil case, if you sue a driver for compensation, you are suing that driver for negligently operating his or her motor vehicle while impaired. Every motorist has a duty to care for everyone else on the road – be it other motorists, pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, scooter, joggers, bicyclists ect. It is no doubt foreseeable that a drunk and careless operator of a car, truck, commercial vehicle or any other type of motor vehicle will hurt someone if they are behind the wheel white impaired. That duty of care is immediately violated when an impaired person gets behind the wheel.
Hamilton Lawyers Advocating for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
Our lawyer are committed to helping victims hurt in drunk driving accidents. We will endeavor to recover every penny owned to you and your loved ones. We are experienced in handling drunk driving cases, we offer personalized attention and we have a demonstrable record of success. Matt Lalande has been representing accident victims for nearly 15 years and recovered millions of dollars in compensation for his clients. We are also dedicated proponents of DUI prevention and supporters of organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who are strong advocated of drunk driving prevention.
Remember – we never ask for upfront fees. Our consultations are free, and without obligations. If you want to improve your chances of recovering compensation to protect your future, you will need to hire a lawyer who has experience with cases involving vehicle accidents and drunk driversCall us at 905-333-8888 to learn more about your rights and what you or your family is entitled to if you have been hurt or lost a loved one at the hands of a drunk driver. We will never back down.