Drunk driving is responsible for about 32% percent of all fatal auto accidents in Virginia. Learn what to do if you are injured in a drunk driving accident.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, you should get a personal injury attorney to represent you. Often called impaired driving, drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 28 people die daily in the US due to drunk driving.
In 2019, about 32% of all traffic fatalities in Virginia were alcohol-related. Although the data shows that the number of deaths caused by drunk driving is declining, over 10,000 people lost their lives in an accident caused by drunk driving in 2019.
So what if you are injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver? Can you get compensated for these injuries, or will you be left on your own? We’ve provided some answers to these questions and more in this article. Read on to learn more.
Common Injuries and Consequences of Drunk Driving Accidents
Many alcohol-related auto accidents will lead to injury for the victims. Here are the most common injuries suffered in drunk driving accident cases.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures and broken bones
- Neck injuries and whiplash
- Post-traumatic stress disorder/emotional distress
- Brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
Injuries are not the only consequences of drunk driving. There could also be property damage, loss of companionship, and death.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Drunk Driving Accident?
Before you file your car accident claim, you may want to know what types of damages you could recover. Auto accident victims are eligible for both economic and non-economic damages. However, occasionally, you’ll find that you are awarded punitive damages. This is usually done as a punishment to deter the negligent driver from repeating the same mistakes. We’ll cover a few of them here.
Medical care after an accident can be very costly, so an injured person will usually get compensated for their medical costs. Burial expenses can also be awarded if a death occurs.
A drunk driving accident could cause you to lose time at work. Filing a drunk driving accident lawsuit will ensure that you get compensated for the loss of wages.
You can also file a wrongful death claim if you have lost a loved one due to an impaired driver’s negligence. Depending on the extent of property damage, you can also be awarded damages.
Drunk driving laws differ from state to state, with most states using a comparative fault system. However, Virginia uses a pure contributory negligence system which could mean that you get nothing if you have some fault.
What To Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver, you may be at a loss on what to do. In this section, we’ll take a look at some things you can do after the accident.
Get a Doctor To Attend to Your Injuries
Your priority after any accident must be your health. No matter how good you feel after an accident, do not waste time before you see a doctor. Some people do not feel pain after an accident. Therefore, they erroneously believe that nothing is wrong with them.
Equally important is that a medical examination helps you document your injuries and the cost of treatment. This will be valuable when you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. We’ll also add that you should follow any course of treatment prescribed by your doctors so that you can heal faster.
The success or failure of any personal injury lawsuit lies in determining fault. In this case, your ability to prove that an accident occurred and the other driver had a duty of care which they did not discharge is crucial. The first place to start gathering this evidence is the accident scene. Take as many pictures as you can from different angles. Bear in mind the need to show who was the responsible party.
In addition to getting pictures of the accident scene and the cars involved, you need to make a record of everything that happened. There’s a chance that you will forget some of the events that occurred, which could harm your case in the future. Another thing that you should document is your medical expenses. You’ll need them when claiming damages.
Call the Police
Usually, the police will visit most accident scenes. However, you should call them if they don’t. They’ll be able to make a report which should show the blood alcohol concentration of the other driver.
Do Not Speak to Insurance Companies Without a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
You may get a visit from the fault driver’s insurance company after making a personal injury claim. They’ll likely make you an offer. However, you must be careful when accepting these offers. Make sure you have explored all available options to claim damages.
You need to understand that insurance companies will investigate every claim you make. However, unlike accident lawyers, the purpose is to ensure they can pay little compensatory damages. Therefore, do not speak to insurance adjusters without your lawyer, as they could use what you say against you.
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
Getting an experienced personal injury lawyer will significantly increase your chances of success. An experienced attorney knows what to look for when investigating a DUI-related car crash. They’ll also help you craft your legal strategy.
Like many people, you may be worried about the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. However, that should not deter you from pursuing the case, as most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
Talk to Reputable Personal Injury Lawyers in Richmond, VA
At VACAIL, we are committed to helping drunk driving accident victims get the maximum compensation for their injuries. We also represent other auto accident injury victims. We combine decades of experience and compassion for people to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Our law firm has been responsible for providing legal representation that has helped clients receive financial compensation in a wide range of personal injury cases. Not sure if you have a strong case? Give us a call to set up a free consultation.