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Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk Driving Accidents

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Northern Virginia Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer and Drunk Driving Injury Attorney

 

  • Did you know that approximately 13,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents occur in the United States every year?
  • Would it surprise you to learn that more than 1/3 of these accidents involve drunk or inebriated drivers?
  • Did you know that more than 700,000 people are injured in alcohol-related automobile or motor vehicle crashes every year?

Obviously, these statistics do not begin to tell or describe the shattered lives left in the wake of such senseless accidents.

A family trying to put the pieces back together after the loss of a loved one can be emotionally challenging at every turn. The added economic and financial harm can be further devastating.

Also, those who are seriously hurt by the negligent actions of drunk drivers can sustain life-changing injuries that prevent them from returning to work and reduce their quality of life. Many times the debilitating injuries suffered by drunk driving auto accident victims plague them for years following the accident.

The issues that drunk driving accident victims face (medical bills, lost wages, long-term care, inability to return to their previous way of life) can make an already complicated and traumatic experience even more devastating as you try to get fairly compensated from the insurance companies.

What can you do if you if you have been hurt or lost a loved one to a drunk driver? Contact car accident attorney James Parrish to discuss your legal options and let him review your situation in order to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

We understand how the insurance companies operate and we know how to strategize to obtain maximum recovery through effective negotiation. We are also experienced trial attorneys and we never back down from the courtroom, especially when we are pursuing the money you need and deserve to get better and continue on with your life.

The person who decided to drive drunk may serve time in jail, lose their license, or pay stiff fines, however, these punishments do not begin to offset the pain and suffering experienced by the victims of their negligent actions. Whether you have been injured or your loved one has been injured or killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, our Manassas car accident lawyer and staff in Northern Virginia have extensive experience helping clients throughout Virginia and the metropolitan Washington DC area to obtain the compensation they need to move forward. Contact us for a free case evaluation about your car accident lawsuit.

What makes an injury case involving alcohol or a drunk driver different from another car accident injury claim?

In some drunk driving accident cases, a claim for punitive, or exemplary, damages can be made in addition to the compensatory damages to which you may be entitled. The Virginia General Assembly passed a statute in 1994 (set forth below), which permits people who are injured by drunk drivers to sue for punitive damages in an effort to discourage drunk driving and make an example of the folks who commit this violent and grossly negligent crime.

The requirements to adequately prosecute a claim for punitive, or exemplary, damages in the context of a motor vehicle accident are set forth in the following statute:

In any action for personal injury or death arising from the operation of a motor vehicle, engine or train, the finder of fact may, in its discretion, award exemplary damages to the plaintiff if the evidence proves that the defendant acted with malice toward the plaintiff or the defendant’s conduct was so willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others.

A defendant’s conduct shall be deemed sufficiently willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others when the evidence proves that (i) when the incident causing the injury or death occurred, the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.15 grams or more per 210 liters of breath; (ii) at the time the defendant began drinking alcohol, or during the time he was drinking alcohol, he knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle, engine or train would be impaired, or when he was operating a motor vehicle he knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired; and (iii) the defendant’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the injury to or death of the plaintiff.

However, when a defendant has unreasonably refused to submit to a test of his blood alcohol content as required by § 18.2-268.2, a defendant’s conduct shall be deemed sufficiently willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others when the evidence proves that (i) when the incident causing the injury or death occurred the defendant was intoxicated, which may be established by evidence concerning the conduct or condition of the defendant; (ii) at the time the defendant began drinking alcohol, or during the time he was drinking alcohol, he knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired; and (iii) the defendant’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the injury to the plaintiff or death of the plaintiff’s decedent. A certified copy of a court’s determination of unreasonable refusal pursuant to § 18.2-268.3 shall be prima facie evidence that the defendant unreasonably refused to submit to the test.

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