Richmond Drunk and Impaired Driver Accident Attorney
Representing injured victims of drunk and drugged drivers in Virginia
Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs is illegal in Virginia and throughout the country. Driving while impaired can cause the operator of a motor vehicle to make reckless decisions as well as tragic or fatal mistakes behind the wheel. This is why laws regarding drunk driving are so tough, and why accidents involving drunk driving tend to be so catastrophic.
At Phelan Petty, our Richmond-based car accident attorneys work to protect the rights of those injured in crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers throughout Virginia. We hold the negligent individual accountable for their actions, and any other responsible parties. Our legal team works to secure financial compensation after your accident, ensuring you have the resources to recover from your injuries and losses.
Statistics on drunk driving in Virginia
Virginia has some of the strongest drunk driving laws in the country. Although the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reports that alcohol-related fatalities have fallen 37 percent over the past 30 years, the chances of being involved in a drunk driving crash remain high. They also report the following statistics:
- In 2019, 32 percent of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-related in Virginia
- 264 of 2019’s 827 fatalities were alcohol-related
- In 2019, 18,648 people were convicted of DUI in Virginia
- A DUI in Virginia is estimated to cost between $5,000 and $20,000
- 28 people die in drunk driving crashes every day in the U.S., or one every 51 minutes
The DMV also reminds us of nationwide drunk driving laws – any driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher is considered to be driving under the influence. This threshold is lower for drivers under 21 (a BAC of .02). Truck drivers also have a lower threshold for drunk driving, at a BAC of .04 percent.
Although drunk driving is a criminal act, if you or a loved one are injured by the actions of a drunk driver, you can seek compensation for your losses through a civil lawsuit. The Richmond injury attorneys at Phelan Petty can help.
What is the difference between a criminal and civil drunk driving case?
After an individual causes a drunk driving accident, the state will likely file a criminal case against them. The goal of a criminal DUI case is to punish the offender for their crime, which is a public safety issue. The district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
If you suffered injuries in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you may be eligible to file a civil claim with the help of our experienced car accident attorneys. A civil claim allows you to request financial compensation for your losses from the accident – things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In a civil case, the burden of proof is lower, which means our attorneys must show only a “preponderance of evidence,” and not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The team at Phelan Petty can explain more; contact us today if you have any questions.
What are common injuries from Richmond drunk driving accidents?
The type of injury you may experience from a drunk driving wreck depends on the circumstances of the accident; for example, the speed of each vehicle or the road conditions at the time of the crash. However, some injuries tend to happen more than others. These include:
- Airbag or seatbelt injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Our Richmond attorneys will determine the extent of your injuries and then get to work holding the right people accountable.
Can I seek compensation from the drunk driver who hurt me?
In most cases, yes. Our attorneys can help. In Virginia, you can potentially seek two types of damages:
- Compensatory damages. This is the standard type of reimbursement from a civil personal injury claim. Compensatory damages can include your medical bills and expenses, lost wages and future earning ability, associated financial losses, and compensation for things like pain and emotional suffering.
- Punitive damages. These, like their name, are meant to punish the offender for their reckless actions and deter them and others from similar behavior. The details for punitive damages and impaired drivers are laid out under Virginia Statute 8.01-44.5, noting that punitive damages may be awarded against a drunk driver when their BAC registers 0.15 percent or more at the time of the crash. Virginia also caps the amount of punitive damages at $350,000.
Note that you are still eligible to take legal action even in the event the person who caused your injuries refused to take a breath or blood test. The team at Phelan Petty can explain in more detail.
It is crucial you contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, as the Virginia statute of limitations on personal injury actions is two years.
What is the value of my drunk driving accident claim?
The exact value of any personal injury claim hinges on the circumstances of the crash and the severity of your injuries. When we take your case, however, we consider a wide variety of factors related to your specific situation, including:
- Your ability to return to your job and earn future income
- The expected cost of your current and future medical treatment
- The likelihood of a full recovery from your injuries
- The full scope of your pain and suffering
- The amount of insurance coverage involved in your injury claim
No matter what, our drunk driving accident attorneys dedicate themselves to helping ensure you secure the fair and proper amount of compensation to which you are entitled. We are not afraid to take on the insurance company on your behalf, and we are not afraid to go to trial if that’s what it takes to get the justice you deserve.
Experienced Richmond drunk and impaired driving accident lawyers
At Phelan Petty, our drunk driving accident attorneys in Richmond hold motorists accountable when they choose to drink and get behind the wheel. If you or a loved one were harmed by a drugged or drunk driver, contact our team today for informed guidance on your legal options. You may be eligible for financial compensation for your losses and damages.