While all car accidents can be serious, some of the most tragic are caused by drivers under the influence. According to a recent report from the Commonwealth of Virginia, there were over 7,000 alcohol-related car crashes in 2019. Among those accidents, there were 264 deaths and 4,402 injuries.
If you or someone you love finds themselves the victim of a drunk driver, it is important to know your rights under Virginia law. Chances are you are eligible for compensation due to the pain and suffering you endure from the wreck.
DUI Laws in Virginia
The state of Virginia has stiff penalties for drunk driving. An individual will be convicted of a DUI if their blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. However, they can also be considered guilty if their blood alcohol content is lower but it can be proven their ability to operate a car was impaired in any way.
Those who are convicted of a DUI can be sentenced to jail, receive a significant fine, and have their driver’s license suspended.
Your Right to Compensation
If you are in a drunk driving accident that you aren’t responsible for, you are likely deserving of compensation. Negligent drivers in Virginia are responsible for compensating the other parties if injury or death occurs. However, you must file a claim with the driver's insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit in order to be compensated. The criminal charges the state will file against the drunk driver do not provide you with any monetary damages.
With the help of an attorney, you can seek damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Car repairs
- Lost wages due to an inability to work due to the accident
- Pain and emotional suffering/trauma
- Wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one in the accident)
Another form of compensation is known as punitive damages. This is when damages are awarded for the purpose of punishing the driver and discouraging future offenses. This is more difficult to obtain than other forms of compensation, but it’s possible if it can be proven that:
- The driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent or higher.
- The drunk driver deliberately got behind the wheel knowingly intoxicated.
- There is evidence that injury or death occurred directly related to the consumption of alcohol.
Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia car accident law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.