Every year, thousands of drunk driving car accidents happen in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), 34 percent of all traffic fatalities in Virginia involved alcohol. In Virginia, 7,048 alcohol-related car accidents happened in 2019. Over 4,400 people became injured in drunk driving accidents, and 264 people died due to a drunk driving car accident.
When someone chooses to drive drunk in Virginia, they act in complete disregard for others’ safety. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we work hard to hold negligent drivers accountable for their drunk driving. If you or your loved one have suffered an injury caused by a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.
What Can Cause a Drunk Driving Accident?
When drunk drivers get into their cars to drive, they endanger themselves and everyone else in their path. Those who drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher are driving while under the influence (DUI). Driving while intoxicated is incredibly dangerous. Even drivers who have only consumed a small amount of alcohol can cause collisions.
It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for someone’s body to become absorbed into the bloodstream. Drivers who are under the influence also experience cognitive delay and slowed breathing. Reaction times of drunk drivers are also much slower than sober drivers. They cannot respond quickly enough to avoid collisions. According to the 2019 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, drunk driver’s engaged in the following types of actions that caused collisions:
- Improper lane changes
- Avoiding other vehicles
- Avoiding a pedestrian
- Failure to yield
- Following another vehicle too close
- Hit and run
- Improper or illegal parking
- Improper backing
- Improper passing
- Left of center – not passing
- Improper turn
- Headlights or taillights are not turned on
Common Injuries Caused by Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents can be incredibly dangerous and cause serious injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are among the most common types of injuries caused by drunk driving accidents. Spinal cord damage and broken bones are also typical. Even when a drunk driving car accident is not severe, victims can suffer ongoing neck and back problems from whiplash. If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, receiving a comprehensive medical examination is essential. Many injuries don’t become evident until days or even weeks after the accident.
We Will Thoroughly Investigate Your Drunk Driving Accident
As a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other driver’s negligence and recklessness caused your injuries and damages. You will need to prove that the driver was intoxicated when the car accident happened. When we investigate cases for our clients, we diligently review all of the required evidence in drunk driving claims, including the following:
- Toxicology reports from the accident
- An accident reconstruction
- Eyewitness testimony from the car accident
- The police report from the accident
- Any available CCTV footage from the accident
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Virginia
Personal injury lawsuits in criminal proceedings are separate from criminal prosecutions. Personal injury lawsuits take place in Virginia’s civil courts. Successful plaintiffs need to prove several elements to secure a verdict in their favor. They will need to prove that a negligent person or people caused their accident. In drunk driving accidents, plaintiffs will need to show that the drunk driver’s inebriation caused the accident that caused their injuries.
Recovering Damages After Your Drunk Driving Accident
Drunk driving accidents often cause severe or even catastrophic injuries. Hundreds of victims of drunk driving accidents die from accidents every year. The resulting financial, emotional, and physical damages to the victim and his or her family are often immense. By succeeding in a drunk driving accident lawsuit, you can recover compensation for all of your financial losses related to the drunk driving accident, including the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Hospital fees
- The cost of durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and adaptive vehicles
- The cost of ongoing medical care, including in-home care
- Cost of immediate emergency medical treatment after the drunk driving accident
- The cost of ongoing care, including the cost of physical rehabilitation therapy
- Lost wages from needing to take time off of work to receive medical attention
- Lost earning capacity due to injuries caused by the drunk driving accident
- Non-economic losses, including pain and suffering, trauma, and emotional distress
- Punitive damages when the defendant acted especially egregiously
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Recovering from a loved one’s death can be excruciating, including when a drunk driver’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. Under Virginia law, a qualified personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Most often, the victim’s child or spouse will be eligible to recover wrongful death damages. When the deceased individual hasn’t designated a beneficiary, a sibling or parent will have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the drunk driving accident victim. Due to Virginia’s statute of limitations, plaintiffs usually only have two years after their loved one’s death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Every wrongful death lawsuit is unique. Depending on the specific circumstances involved in your car accident, you may recover the damages listed below, and possibly other damages. Speaking to an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer is essential. Loved ones can recover the following damages after a successful wrongful death lawsuit:
- The cost of the victim’s medical treatment before death
- The cost of emergency medical care after the car accident
- Burial and funeral costs
- Compensation for the loss of the victim’s expected future earnings
- Compensation for loss of companionship and love of the victim
- Emotional suffering
Contact Our Experienced Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
If you or your loved one have suffered a severe personal injury in a drunk driving accident, we are here to help. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we have extensive experience representing clients in Virginia personal injury lawsuits. We advocate for our clients to recover the compensation they deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.