Intoxicated Driving is Dangerous
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and presents huge risks to persons and property, often unfortunately resulting in catastrophic injuries and deaths. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, thirty percent of all traffic fatalities happened in crashes in which at least one driver or occupant, like a pedestrian or bicyclist, had a blood alcohol content, (BAC), level of 0.8 percent or higher, which is the legal limit in the State of Washington. More than 20,000 citizens lose their lives every year because they are struck by a drunk driver, and more than 300,000 are left with serious injuries. That means a traffic fatality caused by someone drunk happens about once every 33 minutes in the United States!
Many Injuries Can Occur as a Result of Being Hit by a Drunk Driver
When a person is injured or killed by a drunk driver there can be heightened levels of grief, in part because the injury or fatality could have been avoided if the person chose to not drive while intoxicated. Victims of drunk drivers can face all sorts of physical injuries, in addition, they can face debilitating emotional distress. The injuries a victim can face after an incident with an intoxicated driver, include a range of medical issues that involve broken bones, connective tissue injuries, and other health problems.
What The Victim of an Intoxicated Driver Should Do Immediately After the Injury Incident
If you are involved in a collision involving an intoxicated driver, it is highly recommended that you or someone trustworthy near you try to obtain the at-fault driver's information and contact law enforcement immediately. It is important to have the name of the at-fault driver and his or her driver's license and contact information. One reason is because it will be easier to serve the intoxicated driver, in the event of a lawsuit, if the victim obtains the original police report with the at-fault driver's information. A police report can help put together the pieces of the incident. I would also advise the victim in most cases to hold off on giving a statement immediately to the at-fault driver's insurance company. Sometimes an initial statement can be twisted, or the injured person can say something out of turn that can come back and cause some potential problems later.
Can An Insurance Company or Plan Help the Injured Victim?
In the aftermath of a drunk driving incident, the victim will want to contact their own insurance company. First, the victim will want to see if he or she has a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments Policy (Med-Pay). These policies are generally through a person's own insurance company, and the policies can pay for at least some of the victim's accident-related health care billings. Another option is health insurance, a private or public health insurance plan, or a combination of both.
An insurance option for the payment of medical billings that can be overlooked or forgotten is the Washington State Crime Victims Compensation fund through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. For a crime victim, the victim's compensation fund through the State of Washington can potentially help pay for all of a crime victim's health care billings that are related to the victim's injury incident.
Victims of intoxicated drivers have various remedies that they can recover as a result of their injury. In Washington State, an injured victim can recover for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, inconvenience, future treatment, and loss of earning capacity. These damages are known as general damages.
The injured victim can also recover damages that relate to their health care treatment and loss wages. These damages are known as special damages. A family member of an injured or deceased victim of an intoxicated driver may also be able to recover for loss of support, loss of consortium, and funeral/burial costs. Wrongful death and survivorship options occur in cases that involved deceased victims where the family survivors can have potential monetary remedies.
What My Law Firm Can Do
As a personal injury attorney, I am very passionate to represent victims of drunk/intoxicated drivers. I have helped obtain good results for victims injured and killed in cases involving intoxicated drivers. It is very important for a victim of a drunk or intoxicated lawyer to have a lawyer who understands the importance of examining the evidence and the legal issues involved. These cases often present the situation of an accompanying criminal case occurring whereby it can be helpful for the victim of a drunk driver to have a personal injury lawyer working to assist the victim's interests. My firm is aware of the various spectrum of issues that can come up in a DUI related injury case.