Injured by a Drunk Driver?
Connecticut Drunk Driver Accident Lawyers
When personal injuries or wrongful death are caused by the conduct of a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, the driver has acted recklessly, not just negligently. The personal injury lawyers at the Stamford, Connecticut law firm of Casper & de Toledo aggressively pursue claims of individuals and families throughout the state of Connecticut who have been injured by the negligent behavior of impaired drivers.
How DUI is Defined and Tested in Connecticut
Every state has laws prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The Connecticut drunk driving statute can be found in Section 14-227a of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Connecticut statute bars the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or, alternatively, when the driver has an elevated blood alcohol content, which is defined as being eight hundredths of one percent of alcohol by weight (.08%). This differs for intoxicated drivers under the legal drinking age: for those under 21 years old, this limit is reduced to two hundredths of one percent of alcohol by weight (.02%). Be aware that this has changed from the previous law, which used to set the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for those 21 and older at .1%, and for those under the legal drinking age at .08%.
During the course of investigating a car accident where drunk driving is suspected, it is routine for the investigating officers to first administer a field sobriety test to determine if there is good cause to proceed with further testing. A breathalyzer test is usually administered, during which the person blows into a tube and the equipment seeks to capture deep lung air that is then tested for alcohol with the use of infrared light.
Another method is the actual testing of blood. Blood drawn in a hospital or other medical setting is processed in a customary laboratory fashion. Through centrifugation, the blood is separated and the measurement of alcohol is performed from the blood serum, yielding a blood serum alcohol content, also known as BSAC. Since the blood serum contains higher water content than does whole blood, the alcohol content is about 15 percent higher when measured from blood serum. Therefore, the reading must be adjusted downward to reflect a whole blood reading. Some further adjustments might be required to account for other variables such as the amount of time that has elapsed from the time of the car accident.
Finding Further Compensation
If a car accident involved a DUI violation, the attorneys at our Stamford, Connecticut firm may pursue a claim for what is generally known as punitive damages. First, Connecticut has a special statute that can result in double or triple damages if the intoxication statute is violated. Second, driving while intoxicated may be the quintessential act of recklessness, which may warrant a claim for common law recklessness that can yield exemplary damages. Punitive/exemplary damages in Connecticut are generally limited to attorney’s fees and case-related expenses.
Injuries caused by a drunk driver may also result in a claim under Connecticut’s dram shop act, which imposes liability upon the purveyor of alcohol who serves an already intoxicated person. However, to preserve a dram shop claim, notice of the intention to bring such a claim must be given to the seller of the alcohol within sixty days of the injury, and the claim is limited to a maximum of $250,000 under Section 30-102 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
In case of injury or wrongful death caused by a driver suspected of being intoxicated (or known to be intoxicated), the car accident lawyers at Casper & de Toledo act quickly to notify the investigating law enforcement officer to preserve evidence. We also determine if it is necessary to retain an independent toxicologist and/or pathologist to present testimony at the time of trial. To maximize your chances of recovery, the sooner you retain an attorney in a drunk driving case, the better your chances may be.
Helping Injury Victims of Drunk Drivers
The car accident attorneys at the Stamford firm of Casper & de Toledo do not represent people accused of driving while intoxicated. We only represent the victims of drunk drivers.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a car accident, contact our attorneys for a consultation. Our car accident lawyers in Stamford, Connecticut may be able to help you seek restitution (compensation).