It is against Ohio state law to drive when someone has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit for their license type. It is also against the law for someone to knowingly drive when they notice that they are – in any way – impaired as a result of alcohol, illicit substances or medication.
The sad truth is that despite the law, a significant but unknown number of adults choose to drive while chemically impaired. All too often, intoxicated drivers end up causing major crashes that result in potentially devastating consequences for other people. Drunk drivers may face prosecution, but their potential jail sentence won’t undo the harm they caused others.
Those who have been hurt by a drunk driver may have the right to demand financial compensation for the damage caused by a collision. What are the three main options for financial recovery after a drunk driving crash?
1. An insurance claim
Although it is illegal to drive after drinking, a drunk driver’s standard insurance coverage will typically still apply. Therefore, the people affected by the collision can file a claim for property damage losses and also their medical expenses and lost wages. The drunk driver’s policy can help cover those costs, at least up to the driver’s policy limit.
2. A lawsuit against the drunk driver
Ohio personal injury laws specifically permit those harmed by negligence and misconduct to sue those who do not behave safely and lawfully. Drunk driving is both unsafe and illegal, so it may lead to a personal injury lawsuit after a crash injures or kills someone. Lawsuits are often necessary in cases of severe injuries because insurance may not be sufficient and in scenarios where the drunk driver does not have insurance coverage.
3. A lawsuit against a bar or restaurant
Ohio actually has a dram shop law that people can use to hold a licensed business responsible for inappropriately serving alcohol. If a business continues serving drinks to someone who is physically drunk, the business may be at least partially liable if that drunk driver goes on to cause a crash. Most businesses carry insurance policies that can help supplement whatever someone has already received from the drunk driver and their insurance company.
Learning more about how Ohio law protects those who have been harmed in motor vehicle collisions can benefit anyone who is reviewing their options after a wreck and is wondering whether they should seek legal guidance and support.