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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.