If You've Been Injured By A Drunk Driver, You May Need An Attorney
Drunk drivers leave severely injured victims in their wake, victims whose anger at the negligent drunk driver soon gives way to the frustration of dealing with medical bills, lost income, permanent disabilities, and worries about taking care of spouses and children. Across the country, there are more than 13,000 fatalities each year involving alcohol-impaired drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. In Virginia, about 36% of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related. For decades, the lawyers at Allen and Allen have counseled and guided families and injured persons through the complex legal issues arising out of accidents caused by drunk drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, call Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen at 866-388-1307 for a free consultation or click to contact us by email. Put our accident attorneys to work for you.
The Laws Regarding Drunk Drivers & Personal Injury Cases
The Virginia General Assembly has cracked down on drunk drivers. How has the legislature helped persons injured by intoxicated drivers? In the ordinary personal injury case, a plaintiff may recover only "compensatory" damages to cover his medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Since 1994, however, state law has also allowed statutory punitive damage awards if a plaintiff can prove a drunk driver's conduct was so willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others.
What is the purpose of a punitive damage award?
A punitive damage award punishes the defendant and serves as a warning that society hopes will deter him and others who learn of it from a repetition of the same or similar wrongdoing. Allen, Allen, Allen and Allen attorneys have experience in handling cases involving punitive damages. We are prepared to put the substantial resources of the Allen Law Firm to work in support of your claim for damages both compensatory and punitive.
How does the current law work? Before 1994, it was rare for a driver with BAC levels of 0.15 and higher to be held accountable, in punitive damages, for the injuries he caused innocent victims. Today, pursuant to Va. Code § 8.01-44.5, a plaintiff may recover punitive damages against a drunk driver if he can prove the following:
- At the time of the accident the defendant driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more by weight and volume;
- At the time of the accident the driver knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was or would be impaired if he became intoxicated; and
- The driver's intoxication proximately caused plaintiff's injury or death.
It is not always easy to prove these facts. Through interrogatories, depositions, document production, subpoenas, and other discovery, the lawyers of the Allen Law Firm will find and examine the facts in your case to determine if you have a case of punitive damages against the drunk driver who injured you through no fault of your own.
But remember, if the negligent drunk driver who caused your injuries did not have a BAC level of 0.15 or higher and you cannot prove a case for punitive damages, you may still have a claim for compensatory damages. Such damages may include a substantial monetary recovery for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.
Let our attorneys evaluate the facts in your case and advise you about your legal alternatives. If you've been injured by a drunk driver, we know how to help, and we will. Call Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen at 866-388-1307 for a free consultation or contact our firm by email.