Charlottesville Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Drunk driving is a serious crime in Virginia. If convicted, a person can face up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. Someone who injures another person while driving drunk faces even stiffer penalties, including a felony charge.
Nevertheless, motorists continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having too much to drink. Indeed, state statistics from 2019 show that roughly 7,000 car crashes were alcohol-related, and they caused around 4,400 injuries and 170 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control even found that a surprising 1.4% of people freely admitted that they drive while intoxicated.
If you were hurt by a drunk driver, legal help is available from our Charlottesville Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys. Although it is a crime, drunk driving is also a civil wrong, and victims should seek compensation for their injuries.
Why Drunk Driving is Dangerous
Alcohol impairs a driver in many ways, all of which can increase the likelihood of an accident:
- Impaired coordination. Drunk drivers often drift into oncoming traffic because they cannot drive in a straight line. Their impaired coordination also impedes their ability to take defensive action.
- Blurred vision. After having too much to drink, a driver might see double. Unsurprisingly, they cannot avoid accidents when they can’t clearly see pedestrians or other motorists.
- Delayed reflexes. Even when a driver sees danger ahead, his or her reflexes could be so slowed they cannot take defensive action in time.
- Poor decision-making. Drunk drivers often speed or engage in other dangerous behavior.
Driving while high is also an increasingly serious problem in our state. Virginia has decreased the penalty that those caught with small amounts of marijuana will face, so we anticipate more drivers to toke up behind the wheel.
Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident
Someone who strikes you should pay compensation if they failed to operate their vehicle with sufficient care. This is the law of negligence. And someone who drives while intoxicated has surely been negligent.
Fortunately, our Charlottesville drunk driving attorneys have obtained compensation to cover medical bills, lost income, and property damage (such as damage to your car). We can also seek damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Punitive Damages & Car Accidents
The victim of a drunk driving collision might also receive punitive damages. This money is levied against a drunk driver to punish him in a quasi-criminal fashion.
We can seek punitive damages in a couple situations:
- Virginia Code §8.01-44.5 allows a client to seek punitive damages when the driver’s blood alcohol content was at least 0.15% and the driver knew he was too impaired to operate the vehicle but did so anyway, injuring our client.
- The common law allows punitive damages when the driver’s conduct was reckless or malicious, regardless of his or her BAC.
Not every client can receive punitive damages. But we fully review the circumstances and make a demand when the facts warrant it.
Charlottesville Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
The days and weeks following a crash are horrifying. We can help. The lawyers at MichieHamlett understand how to bring civil suits when drunk drivers harm our clients. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.