If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, chances are you are feeling angry and betrayed. While the driver will likely be subject to criminal prosecution, this does little to help you pay for the injuries he caused. Fortunately, you may be eligible to file an injury claim against the driver to recover what you lost. This is where a drunk driving accident lawyer in Manassas, VA comes in.
To find out what compensation you could receive following a drunk driving accident, call the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at 571-229-1800.
How Do I Hold the Drunk Driver Liable?
Many people think that they cannot file a civil claim against a drunk driver if he beats the charges. However, the result of a criminal case has no effect on the civil claim.
In almost every case, you will file a claim against drunk driver, which will be handled by the drunk driver’s insurance company. If the accident involved a large truck in Manassas, you will likely deal with the trucking company’s insurer.
To have a valid claim in Manassas, you and your drunk driving accident lawyer must establish four elements:
- The driver had a duty to drive safely.
- The driver breached that duty.
- The breach caused the accident and your injuries.
- You suffered damages from the accident.
A driver breaches his duty of care by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If this breach directly causes personal injuries (and/or property damage), the driver is responsible.
Another party might also be responsible for injuries resulting from an alcohol-related accident. If a third party provided the driver with the opportunity to drive, knowing the driver had consumed alcohol or drugs, then that third party could also be liable for resulting injuries. The name for this is “negligent entrustment.”
Unlike some other states, Virginia has not enacted a “dram shop law.” This means that bars, restaurants, bartenders, or package/liquor stores are not responsible for anything a patron does after leaving their place of business.
A Manassas drunk driving accident lawyer will investigate your case and determine any and all liable parties. We will also gather the evidence necessary to hold the driver liable. This might include:
- The police report
- Any test results
- Surveillance video
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- The driver’s own admission
What Compensation Can I Recover after a Car Accident?
Life-altering injuries can prevent victims from returning to work, enjoying family time, and pursuing hobbies. They can essentially rob someone of his quality of life. The effects of a drunk driving accident can plague victims for years after an accident.
Among the potential compensation categories available to a drunk driving accident victim are the following:
- Hospital bills
- Physical, occupational, or vocational therapy
- Assisted living facilities
- Counseling or psychological therapy
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Lost wages and lost future earnings
- Loss of certain family relationships
- Inability to contribute household labor
An estate can pursue wrongful death-related damages if the drunk driving accident resulted in a loss of life. The goal of the damages listed above is to compensate a victim for losses. They are examples of “compensatory” damages.
Another category of damages is punitive damages. These differ from compensatory damages in that the court awards them to punish the defendant for egregious behavior, instead of to compensate the victim for his injuries.
Per Virginia Statute § 8.01-44.5, punitive damages are available in cases when a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or more and knew (or should have known) that drinking in excess would impair his ability to drive. If the driver refused to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, Virginia’s punitive damages statute allows for an inference of a heightened BAC.
Manassas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Near Me 571-229-1800
What If the Drunk Driver Claims I Caused the Accident?
Driving while intoxicated is a crime; however, that is not proof enough that the other driver behaved negligently and caused the accident. If the other driver can prove that you caused or contributed to the accident, you may be unable to recover compensation.
And you can bet the driver’s insurance company will do what it can to place as much blame on you as possible. What it does not know, however, is that you have an ace up your sleeve. Our drunk driving accident lawyers used to defend insurance companies so he knows all the tricks they pull to avoid paying out claims. He also knows how to defend against them.
Call a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Now to Get Started
The person responsible for wreaking this havoc on your life has most likely sought legal counsel to protect himself. Should you not do the same?
The team at the Parrish Law Firm starts preparing for court right away. Although most cases never see their day in court and instead settle out of court, a drunk driving accident lawyer will push an insurance company into court if it is unwilling to offer fair compensation. Your future and your finances are at stake, and the Parrish Law Firm does not take that lightly.
Call us for a free consultation today: 571-229-1800.