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Reno, NV Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

What started as an evening of fun with a loved one can quickly turn into a nightmare upon an encounter with an impaired driver. Despite the number of initiatives and organizations dedicated to reducing impaired driving, the problem continues across the US. Sadly, a number of Reno, Nevada, residents are injured or killed each year by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Following the initial shock and trauma of an injury, important questions and concerns may arise:

  • How can you pay for the mounting medical bills?
  • What happens if you cannot return to work as planned?
  • What legal options do you have to seek compensation for your losses?

You shouldn’t allow your worries, though perfectly reasonable, to overwhelm you after your accident. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to the careless actions of a drunk driver, the team at Richard Harris Law Firm is here to help.

We can answer your questions and provide the trustworthy legal advice you need at this critical time. Call or text our experienced and compassionate Reno, Nevada, DUI accident lawyers at (702) 213-9779 for a free consultation.

Nevada Drunk Driving Laws and Statistics

According to Responsibility.org, DUI deaths in Nevada are on the rise – in stark contrast to the rest of the country. While national numbers show an approximate 8 percent decrease in drunk driving deaths per 100,000 population between 2008 and 2018, Nevada saw a nearly 12 percent increase in the same time period.

Zero Fatalities Nevada’s data shows that Washoe county had 93 fatal impaired driving accidents with 106 fatalities between 2015 and 2019, making up 16 percent of the total impaired driving fatalities in the state.

Among these fatal accidents:

  • 75 percent happened in urban areas
  • Over one-third of the at-fault drivers were between 21 and 30 years old
  • 58 percent happened on a weekend (Fri-Sun)
  • Nearly half occurred between 6 pm and midnight

Clearly, while there are many organizations dedicated to reducing drunk driving, this threat continues to pose a major risk on Nevada roads. The Reno car accident attorneys at Richard Harris Law Firm have seen the pain and injuries drunk drivers have caused our clients, and we are determined to pursue justice for the injured victims.

Penalties for drunk driving

The State of Nevada is strict when it comes to impaired driving. For a first offense, drunk drivers in Reno can face:

  • 2 to 180 days in jail
  • $400 fine
  • Suspended license for 185 days (or from 1 to 3 years with a BAC of over 0.18 percent)

For a second offense within 7 years, the penalties can include:

  • 10 to 180 days of jail or home confinement
  • $750 fine
  • Suspended license for 1 year

For a third offense within 7 years, a drunk driver can face:

  • 1 to 6 years in prison
  • $2000 fine
  • Suspended license for 3 years

When someone causes serious injury or death, he or she faces more strict penalties than those listed above and could be charged with vehicular homicide. Speak with an attorney to find out more.

How drunk driving is defined in Nevada

Nevada is one of many states with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent. This limit is reduced to 0.04 percent for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders and 0.02 percent for drivers under the age of 21. However, BAC is not the only indication of impaired driving. A driver could be convicted of DUI if he or she was impaired despite the BAC level.

It is also important to note that the criminal charges of drunk driving are separate from a civil lawsuit initiated by the victim, and the outcome of one does not necessarily define the outcome of the other.

The burden of proof is lower for a civil case than a criminal case, and the purpose is different: a civil personal injury case focuses on the victim’s damages and pain and suffering. As such, a victim can pursue civil action against the drunk driver whether criminal charges have been made or not.

If you are unsure whether you have a case or not, the Reno drunk driving accident lawyers at Richard Harris Law Firm can help. Contact our car accident attorneys today for a free consultation and legal advice.

How Drugs and Alcohol Impair Drivers

Driving is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. When a person makes the decision to get behind the wheel after consuming drugs or alcohol, he or she puts everyone on the road at risk of injury.

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Drinking alcohol has a number of effects on a driver that poses an additional risk behind the wheel, including:

  • Slow reaction time: Unexpected events and hazards can appear frequently on the road. Alcohol slows reaction time. This limits a person’s ability to react to (and avoid) a dangerous situation while driving.
  • Drowsiness: Too much alcohol can cause a person to become drowsy and even fall asleep behind the wheel. When out of control, the vehicle may hit another on the road.
  • Reduced concentration: When drinking, you are less able to concentrate on the road and the operation of the vehicle. When this happens, a drunk driver can easily fail to focus on his or her speed, the other cars on the road, or what is going on around the vehicle.
  • Decreased vision: A drunk driver’s vision can be severely impacted by alcohol, affecting his or her depth perception and ability to see pedestrians, other drivers, or potential hazards.
  • Inhibited judgment: Alcohol also reduces a person’s judgment. This can cause a drunk driver to fail to recognize a dangerous situation and respond appropriately.

After reviewing your case, an attorney with experience handling drunk driving accidents in Reno can give you the advice you need.

Driving under the influence of drugs

Like alcohol, consuming drugs before driving results in a number of dangers, including:

  • Erratic driving: Drugged driving can cause erratic behaviors like unsafe lane changes and the inability to follow a safe speed and distance between vehicles.
  • Increased risk-taking: Certain drugs can cause a driver to engage in high-risk activities behind the wheel or travel at excessive speeds.
  • Hallucinations: Some drugs can cause intense and life-like hallucinations. If a driver were to experience drug-induced hallucinations behind the wheel, this increases the chances of a dangerous accident.
  • Lack of coordination: Drugs reduce a person’s coordination skills. For example, a drugged driver could accelerate instead of applying the brakes or improperly turn the steering wheel, causing an accident.
  • Inability to multitask: Multitasking is an essential part of driving. When using drugs like marijuana, a driver loses the ability to multitask, increasing the risk of losing control of the vehicle or being unable to avoid a hazard.

We want to hear your story and fight for your family to get justice after a drug-related or drunk driving accident. Contact one of our Reno drunk driving accident lawyers at Richard Harris Law Firm today for a free consultation and case review.

Compensation Available After a Reno, NV Drunk Driving Accident

As both injury victims and personal injury lawyers are well aware, being involved in a DUI accident can affect your entire life. When you work with a qualified and compassionate DUI car accident attorney, he or she will fight the insurance companies to win you a fair settlement.

Financial damages

Suffering serious injuries in a drunk driving accident can soon put financial strain on a family. After a Reno DUI accident, your attorney can help you recover damages for:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Travel costs to medical appointments
  • Prescription costs
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Loss of financial support

When you work with a impaired driving accident attorney at our firm, you know you have someone on your side looking out for your interests.

Emotional damages

The emotional toll an accident has on the victim may be hard to quantify, but it can have extensive repercussions. Our Reno DUI lawyers can pursue compensation for your emotional losses, which may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of emotional support
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Punitive damages

Drunk driving victims in Nevada may be able to receive punitive damages as well. These are typically awarded in cases of malicious or fraudulent harm caused but are meant to dissuade the impaired driver and anyone else tempted to drive under the influence from taking the same wrong actions.

In any case, you deserve for your story to be heard and to receive the full compensation available for you for your injuries. The DUI accident lawyers at Richard Harris Law Firm have the experience and resources necessary to strengthen your case and fight for your rights after your accident.

When a Drunk Driving Accident Ends in Death

Unfortunately, many drunk driving accidents are fatal. If one of your family members was killed by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to wrongful death benefits in addition to other compensation related to the accident.

How can family members receive wrongful death benefits? The claim may be filed by the estate executor or surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, or other close family members, in order of legal seniority. Generally, Nevada law gives family members 2 years to file a claim.

A wrongful death suit can allow the family to receive necessary compensation for burial expenses and emotional pain caused by the death of their loved one. Medical bills from the time after the accident until the deceased passed away due to their injuries may be covered. Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded as well.

After hearing about your story, one of the Reno DUI accident lawyers at our firm can help you better understand the legal options available to you after losing a loved one in such a tragic way.

Richard Harris Law Firm is Here For You

For over 40 years, the compassionate attorneys at Richard Harris Law Firm have been dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims across Nevada. We can do the same for you and your family. Take a look at our client testimonials and reviews to be sure.

When you work with one of our passionate Reno lawyers, you can be confident that your attorney will:

  • Investigate your case and your injuries thoroughly
  • Gather evidence needed to strengthen your case
  • Take the lead in communicating with the insurance company
  • Answer any of your legal questions
  • Hear your story and fight for your rights

Suffering injuries from a Reno DUI accident? You deserve fair compensation for your losses. Call or text our law firm 24/7 at (702) 213-9779 for a free consultation with a drunk driving attorney.