DUI Accident Lawyer Alexandria, VA DUI Accident Lawyer Alexandria, VA

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Virginia, as well as every other state in the country. Anyone who is caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is legally considered guilty of drunk driving. Unfortunately, many people make the tragic decision to get behind the wheel of their vehicle anyway, resulting in the deaths of almost 30 people every single day in the United States. Thousands more are left with serious injuries. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, a DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA can help you obtain whatever financial compensation you may be entitled to under the law.

The Intoxicated Driver

In most car accident claims or lawsuits, one party acted or behaved in a negligent or reckless manner and that behavior resulted in the accident that injured the victim. Usually, the victim’s lawyer must prove that the alleged at-fault driver was negligent and that negligence caused the victim’s injuries.

But in an alcohol-related car accident, an Alexandria, VA DUI accident lawyer may not have to jump that hurdle since many of these types of crashes result in the at-fault driver facing criminal drunk driving charges. In car accident cases where the driver was arrested for DUI, there is usually a presumption of negligence when it comes to any car accident claims or lawsuits filed.

Instead of having to prove that the driver was somehow at fault, the lawyer can present the police report from the accident scene and any other documents that show that the driver was arrested for drunk driving and what their BAC was via any chemical tests performed by law enforcement.

Damages in a DUI Accident Claim

Damages are the losses that a victim suffers as a result of their injuries sustained in the crash. Damages can be both economic and non-economic.

Economic damages include:

  • Emergency room treatment
  • Hospital bills
  • Surgeries
  • Doctor visits
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Physical, occupational, and mental health therapy
  • Loss of income if unable to work while recovery
  • Loss of future income if the victim is left with a disability

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of life enjoyment

In some cases, a victim may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are separate from any compensatory damages awarded and are instead supposed to punish the at-fault driver for especially egregious behavior, as well as send a warning that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Driving while under the influence is a criminal act, therefore, it is often considered egregious behavior by juries and they often award punitive damages in these cases.

As a DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA from The Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC knows, every year in the state of Virginia, thousands of drivers make the dangerous decision to get behind the wheel of their vehicle after they have been drinking. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, their reaction time, decision-making, and vision can be severely impacted. Although law enforcement throughout the state are always on the lookout for drunk drivers, far too many are able to get away with breaking the law, often leading to terrible crashes. 

Steps To Take Following an Accident With a Drunk Driver

Drunk drivers are responsible for about one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. If you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you can file a claim against him or her for damages caused. While looking for a DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA, you should be on top of the list and take a few other steps.

Notify the Insurance Company

One of your first obligations is to notify the other driver’s insurance company. When you receive the accident report, you should also receive the driver’s insurance information. You need to inform the carrier and make a claim as quickly as possible.

Get Involved With the Criminal Process

Drunk drivers have to go to court because of criminal charges in most cases. Unfortunately, some drunk drivers plea the charge down. It may be harder to get the settlement you deserve when they plea the charge down. You should always speak to a prosecutor following an accident. If there is a plea bargain, explain why you oppose it. While you cannot force anyone to remove the plea bargain, the judge may consider it.

Look for Any Witnesses

One of the best pieces of evidence you can bring to the table is witness testimony. Witnesses from the accident scene may better understand what happened than you do. Most victims of car accidents are in shock following the collision. Even if you stayed on the scene, you may not remember the ins and outs of what happened.

While collecting witness information when at the scene is critical, you may also find witness information with the police. Try to track down any witnesses and ask them to help with your case by telling what they saw. They may have noticed signs of the other driver’s drunkenness before or after impact.

Do Not Accept First Settlement From Insurance Company

Before you accept any settlement, discuss the offer with your DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA. Lawyers know how to calculate the compensation you deserve. If he or she thinks that the insurance adjuster is offering too low of a settlement, then the attorney will advise that you send back a counteroffer. You do not want to accept the first settlement offer in most cases. The lawyer will advise you on when to accept a settlement and take the case to trial. Your lawyer will inform you of his or her calculation of your case ahead of time and may explain when and when not to accept a settlement.

Do’s and Don’ts of a DUI Accident Lawsuit

Do Call 911

Your first step in any car accident is to call 911 for emergency responders to come help. You may need the police, fire engines, and ambulances, depending on the severity of the accident. If you are unable to call 911 yourself, ask other people who may stop to help to call for you.

Do Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel badly injured as a result of your car accident, a DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA, such as Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC, would recommend you seek medical attention as quickly as possible. When you’re in a car accident, your brain releases a rush of adrenaline to keep you functional under the extreme stress you’re experiencing. That adrenaline can mask injuries and pain for over an hour. If you don’t seek immediate medical attention after your accident, you could make any injuries you’ve sustained worse.

Do Talk to the Police

File a police report once your medical needs have been taken care of. Not only will it help keep a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel again, it’s a necessary piece of documentation to help you pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. The police will have taken photos, spoken to witnesses, done accident reconstruction, and determined how impaired the drunk driver was — all that’s left is your statement of what happened. 

Tell the truth without exaggerating; you don’t want to be brought up on charges of making a false statement to the police. Depending on the circumstances, that could be a Class 1 misdemeanor or a Class 6 felony.

Don’t Try To Talk to the Drunk Driver

Some people get happy when they’re drunk. Others get sentimental. And some get downright mean. You don’t know which kind of drunk caused your car accident, so it’s safer to try to avoid talking to the drunk driver about the accident. 

The drunk driver also may have no idea of what happened and blame you for causing the accident. That can result in a shouting match at best and a physical altercation at worst. Drunk people also have poor memory, emotional outbursts, and emotional instability, all of which can intensify an already bad situation.

Don’t Try To Pursue a Personal Injury Case Alone

A DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA, would strongly advise against trying to go it alone in a personal injury case like this. Personal injury lawsuits are tricky at best. Attorneys in personal injury lawsuits know how to maximize the payout to their clients, and can get you the best outcome possible. Let the experts at Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC help you with your case.

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Drunk Driving Statistics

It is estimated that there are 29 people killed each day in this country because of an alcohol-related vehicle accident. One person is killed every 50 minutes in the United States because of a driver operating under the influence of alcohol. There are approximately 19,000 drivers convicted each in Virginia for DUI. Unfortunately, there are also many drunk drivers who are never caught. 

The number of drunk driving victims appears to bear that out. Approximately 35 percent of all fatal crashes in the state are alcohol-related. The average blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of these drivers is usually twice the legal limit. Statistically, a Virginia resident has a one in six chance of being involved in a drunk driving accident.

Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving accidents are often more severe than other types of vehicle crashes. This is because when a drunk driver is about to crash into another vehicle, they are usually totally unaware the crash is about to happen and there is no attempt to try to slow down or veer away from the object they are going to hit. This means the impact of the crash is much more forceful and causes more damage than a sober driver who is aware and capable of trying to avoid the accident. This impact means that victims are often left with severe or catastrophic injuries that require months – if not years – to recover from. Many victims are left with permanent injuries that are with them the rest of their lives.

Impact To Victims

People who decide to get behind the wheel after drinking are more likely to cause accidents compared to sober drivers. There are many reasons why being intoxicated can impair a person’s driving. Reaction times are often slower, judgment is flawed,  and it’s easier to rise to anger. Our law firm, we do not have sympathy for people who choose to drink and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle. 

As your lawyer may tell you, there are numerous parties who may have played at least a partial role in the accident happening. Firstly, drunk drivers are responsible for their actions because they have the choice to drive their vehicles after consuming alcohol or not. Secondly, hosts are people who have parties where alcohol is served and can be held liable if a guest causes a drunk driving accident, particularly if the host knew that this guest was not sober enough to drive. Thirdly, restaurant or bar staff and owners may be held responsible for alcohol-related accidents; it is their responsibility to halt serving alcohol to patrons that appear to be inebriated.

If you or someone you cared about was injured because of a drunk driver, then we will do everything within our legal power to hold a person accountable for their actions. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team today.

Civil and Criminal Cases

As your Alexandria DUI accident lawyer in Virginia can discuss with you, the process and verdicts of your case will be separate from a criminal one. Drunk driving accident victims and their families can press criminal charges in pursuit of compensation in civil court to recover their damages and losses. If a driver is facing a DUI/DWI conviction, then the victim has a right to file a civil claim immediately. Victims do not have to wait for a criminal trial to finish before pursuing legal action on a civil level.

A conviction in criminal court can help with your civil case, but the drunk driver does not have to be charged in criminal court for you to have a civil claim. Your lawyer can review with you what kinds of proof is required to win your civil case, in addition to getting you prepared for court so you are more comfortable in front of a judge.  In some cases, a drunk driver may not be charged in criminal court but you can still seek restitution through filing a civil lawsuit.

How to Spot a Drunk Driver

Even if you are a safe and responsible driver, you can’t always be sure about other drivers. Some drivers choose to engage in dangerous activities, like drunk driving, that put everyone on the road at risk. If you are aware of the signs of drunk drivers, you can stay away from them. Here are a few ways to spot a drunk driver.

  • Speeding. It is one thing to drive a few miles over the speed limit. However, if you notice a motorist driving much faster than other vehicles, it’s a cause for concern. When a person has had too much to drink, it can impair his or her judgment. Excessive alcohol can cause a person to do things he or she normally would not, such as excessive speeding. 
  • Weaving and out of lanes. Weaving in and out of lanes is a common behavior of drunk drivers. Excessive alcohol can make it difficult for a motorist to drive in a straight line. A drunk motorist may experience blurred vision, fatigue, and dizziness, which can lead to swerving around the lane. If you notice that a driver is weaving in and out of lanes, stay far away.
  • Driving too slow. It is also important to be cautious of motorists who are driving too slow. Some motorists may be too drunk to realize that they are driving way under the speed limit. Others may purposely be driving very slowly to avoid suspicion. Either way, it is important to steer clear of them.
  • Not following multiple traffic laws. It is not uncommon for sober drivers to accidentally break a traffic law once in a while. However, if you see a motorist breaking multiple traffic laws, like running red lights and failing to use turn signals, he or she may be drunk.
  • Stopping and starting abruptly. Drunk drivers may also stop and start randomly. For example, if you see a driver stopped for a long time at a red light, he or she could have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
  • Driving late at night. Most drunk driving accidents occur later at night. Therefore, if it is possible, you should avoid driving too late at night. If you stick to driving during daylight hours, you will be less likely to encounter drunk drivers.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, permanent disability, scarring, and more. We will evaluate your case and determine how much compensation you may be entitled to and what your legal options are to obtain that compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Alexandria, VA DUI accident lawyer.

How Can a DUI Accident Lawyer Help Me?

If you have been involved in a DUI accident and aren’t sure what to do, you should call a DUI accident lawyer to understand what your legal options are. Retaining the advice and services of a lawyer that specializes in DUI law, will ensure that you have the support you need throughout the insurance and legal process. If you are searching for a DUI accident lawyer in Alexandria, VA, look no further. At the Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC we will support you and fight for you every step of the way. Call us today to set up a free and confidential consultation with Ryan Quinn. 

Assessing Your Case

The first thing a DUI accident lawyer does is sit down with you to assess your case. They will ask you questions about the accident such as the events leading up to the accident, what kind of damages you experienced, whether there were any witnesses at the scene, and where you are in the insurance claims process. If you have information such as police reports, medical bills, documentation of lost income, or other pertinent information, bring it to your consultation. The more information you provide, the better able your lawyer will be able to give you a clear picture of your legal options. 

Building A Case

If you decide to proceed, your lawyer will begin collecting all of the evidence needed to support your case. They will use information from police reports, witness statements, and insurance company reports to build your case. Be sure to let your lawyer know if you have pictures and videos from the scene. These can prove invaluable, especially if a police officer or insurance adjuster missed gathering crucial evidence that supports your claim for compensation. A skilled lawyer will consider medical bills, lost wages, and the emotional damages you experienced when developing a compensation amount that is suitable to meet what you deserve. If you have questions about how much compensation you should seek, you can call an experienced firm like the Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC for a professional opinion. 

Advocating On Your Behalf

After your lawyer has built your case, they will begin advocating on your behalf. They will use the evidence that they have gathered to negotiate with the insurance company. Insurance companies are private businesses and the less they pay in claims, the more profit they make. Unfortunately, this can lead to them offering compensation that is less than what you need and deserve. A lawyer will fight for the rightful amount so you don’t have to. And, if necessary, they will take your claim to court. Since insurance companies want to avoid the cost of going to court, they will often settle before then, especially if you have retained the services of a lawyer. 

Furthermore, a lawyer will represent you if your DUI case goes to court, which will help remove the worry of going through the legal process. To remove stress from your life, reach out to the Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC now and set up your first appointment for free.