Getting hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver is devastating for many reasons. All drivers should know better than to get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Not only is it illegal, but decades of public education campaigns have made the risks of drunk driving clear. Yet some motorists continue to risk the lives of innocent victims by driving while impaired by alcohol.
In one recent year, 229 people died and 5,861 people were injured in Virginia in car accidents involving alcohol. If you were one of the victims of someone else’s drunk driving, Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C., can help.
Our drunk driving accident attorneys have two decades of experience helping car accident victims in Richmond and across Virginia. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Just call Geoff now or contact us online for a free claim review and advice about your legal rights.
Responsibility for Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving
In Virginia, a motorist may be held responsible for compensating crash victims for injuries caused by his or her negligent driving. The test for whether a driver may be held responsible for an accident is whether he or she broke a safety law or was unreasonably careless.
Driving drunk is against the law in Virginia, and is clearly dangerous. A driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent or higher has a 39 percent greater risk of causing an accident than a sober motorist. If a driver’s BAC reaches the legal limit of 0.08, the risk of becoming involved in a collision doubles.
If you can show that the driver who caused your crash was impaired by alcohol, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. That may true even if the other driver was not charged with drunk driving.
The drunk driver’s insurance company should cover your losses. If the driver didn’t have insurance – or not enough – you may be able to recover damages under your own auto insurance policy’s uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage.
Virginia is one of just eight states that do not allow people who were injured in drunk driving crashes to sue the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver. Unfortunately, this means that you will usually be limited to pursuing your claim only against the driver who caused the collision.
Pursuing Legal Action Against a Drunk Driver
To take legal action against an intoxicated driver, you will likely need to prove that:
- The other driver was impaired. You do not necessarily need to show that the driver had a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08. If you can show he or she was too impaired to drive safely and made dangerous choices as a result, then you may make a case.
- The other driver caused the accident because of his or her impairment.
- You were hurt in the crash. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more. If the drunk driving crash was fatal, the victim’s family may make a claim for wrongful death damages.
If you were injured while riding in a car driven by a drunk driver, you may still be entitled to bring a claim for compensation. Even if the driver was a friend or a relative, his or her insurance coverage should pay for your injuries.
Find Out How a Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Drunk driving cases may settle out of court if the drunk driver’s insurer accepts that the policyholder was at fault. However, you should not accept the insurance company’s settlement offer without first talking to a lawyer. Insurance adjusters often try to make a case go away as cheaply as possible by making a quick, lowball offer that doesn’t cover all your losses.
An attorney at Geoff McDonald & Associates can negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to court. You may need to obtain toxicology records, police reports, witness statements and other evidence to prove the other driver was drunk.
We are ready to help you do what is necessary to make your case.
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, you’re protected by our No Fee Guarantee®. That means we don’t collect a legal fee unless we collect for you.
Ready? Put a serious Richmond drunk driving accident lawyer to work for you. Call or contact us online now to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.