This is a question that I’ve received a few times. And the answer is, “Being hit by a drunk driver should increase the value of your case, but it doesn’t always.”
What do I mean? Obviously, if the jury knows that you were hit by a drunk driver, they would get mad at the drunk driver and likely award you more money. The trick is whether the jury gets to hear you were hit by a drunk driver. Defense lawyers will go to great lengths to ask the judge to hide from the jury the fact that the driver who hit you was drunk or under the influence of drugs because knowing that might be prejudicial to the driver. There are tricks the defense lawyer will use to try and make this happen.
Fortunately, there are a number of tactics for our side to help us increase the likelihood that the jury gets to hear that the other driver was drunk. Unfortunately, there are too many plaintiff’s lawyers who don’t know these tactics.
If you’re hurt by a drunk driver, you need to do your homework and make sure your lawyer knows these tactics. Ask your lawyer what he or she might do to help increase the odds that the facts regarding the other driver’s drinking are admissible. Ask your lawyer what trial lawyer organizations he or she belongs to help stay educated on the evolution of these tactics. Make sure the lawyer you want to hire is qualified to maximize the value of your claim.