DUI accidents are some of the most frightening and severe accidents that plague our nation’s highways. Every day, people across the country are affected by a drunk driver colliding with them. In many instances, these crashes can have devastating impacts on families.
Unfortunately, DUI wrecks are quite severe and can, therefore, lead to life-threatening injuries for everyone involved. If you or a loved one were injured in a drunk driving accident, one of our Richmond DUI accident lawyers is ready to help you obtain compensation.
What Is the Crime of DUI in Virginia?
Although each state has unique drinking and driving statutes, they all share the same maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level: 0.08%. A driver with a BAC at or above 0.08% in Virginia is legally too intoxicated to drive.
Furthermore, any level of an intoxicating drug (including a prescription medication) in the driver’s system could lead to a DUI charge after a car accident. If a drunk or drugged driver crashes into you, he or she may face criminal charges from the police officer who responds to the scene of your wreck. A DUI conviction could result in penalties such as fines and jail time.
It will be up to you, however, to bring civil charges against the drunk driver. A civil claim is not the same as a criminal case. It serves to make you whole again rather than to punish the defendant. Take it upon yourself to contact a DUI accident attorney in Richmond and bring a cause of action right away after a harmful DUI collision.
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Virginia DUI Accident Statistics
According to some sobering facts from the CDC, Virginia has thankfully seen a steady decrease in the number of car accidents caused by drunk drivers over the last 25 years. The peak of 17,337 DUI accidents in 1990 has dropped by nearly 10,000 to 7,666 in 2014, and now represents only 6% of the total state car accidents.
The number of fatalities caused by DUI accidents has equally dropped, from a high of 535 fatalities in 1990 to 251 in 2014. It is clear that the laws which have been enacted since the 1990s in Virginia, along with a steady police presence on the roadways, have prevented more accidents from occurring over the years.
However, DUI accidents unfortunately do continue to occur and can have dire consequences for all those involved in the accident. Virginia punishes DUI offenders severely, depending on the level of the driver’s blood alcohol content.
A driver under the age of 21 is punishable for DUI penalties, regardless of the driver’s BAC content. Other penalty ranges vary, but often include the loss of your license and the potential jail time if you have received prior convictions.
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Common DUI Accident Injuries
DUI accidents are often severe for victims. Impaired drivers are prone to reckless driving behaviors that can cause catastrophic and fatal vehicle collisions. These behaviors include speeding, racing, running red lights, weaving through traffic, driving the wrong way, driving aggressively and tailgating.
A drunk driver could cause a serious rear-end, T-bone, or head-on collision, along with life-changing personal injuries for those involved, including:
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash and neck injuries
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
- Emotional injuries
Our law firm has seen firsthand how physically and psychologically damaging a DUI accident can be for survivors and loved ones. We accept cases involving all types of serious and catastrophic injuries.
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How to File a DUI Accident Lawsuit in Richmond?
If you were recently injured in an accident involving an intoxicated driver in Richmond, collect information from your wreck to bring to a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will want to see police reports, medical records, photographs, video footage, eyewitness statements, insurance documents, and any other information you have about the crash.
There are four things our Richmond DUI accident attorneys need to prove to get you compensation. We must:
- Find the at-fault driver
- Prove they were negligent
- Prove that you were injured due to their negligence
- Prove how you were injured
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What is the Statute of Limitations for a DUI Accident Claim?
You have a maximum of two years in Virginia to file a civil DUI accident claim. This is Virginia’s statute of limitations on all personal injury claims. If you are filing a wrongful death suit over a fatal DUI accident, you have two years from the date of your relative’s death.
Speak to an attorney as soon as possible to make sure you meet your deadline. The courts generally will not agree to hear claims brought past their statutes of limitations. You can trust an attorney to help you with the filing process.
The sooner we can get the paperwork started, the sooner we can beat the statute of limitations deadline and ensure that you do not lose your opportunity to get compensation. It is better to get it filed early even if you are still recovering from your injuries.
DUI Accident Recovery in Virginia
As the victim of a DUI accident in Virginia, you are entitled to hire an experienced Richmond DUI accident attorney and bring a claim for damages against the responsible party. DUI accidents often involve both criminal and civil charges.
Both types of suits can be brought at the same time, although the result of one case will not impact the other case. Criminal cases involve a higher burden of proof to overcome—beyond a reasonable doubt—while civil cases only require a preponderance of the evidence.
Therefore, it is often to your benefit to bring a civil claim against a responsible driver even if criminal charges for the accident did not stick in court.
What Kinds of Damages Could I Claim?
While you will not get back the time it took to recover from your injuries, a civil claim filed by your Richmond car accident attorney can help ensure that the individual is punished for their negligent actions while driving under the influence. A claim for damages in a Virginia DUI case may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
Discuss the value of your drunk driving accident claim with our attorneys today. We can give you an accurate and honest estimate of how much we believe the at-fault driver may owe you in financial compensation.
Will I Automatically Win My DUI Accident Case?
DUI puts an incredible amount of liability on the drunk driver in an accident, but Virginia is a contributory negligence state. This means that if you are found to be liable in any part for your accident, you could be denied payment if you go to trial.
This may seem unfair, but this is the current law in Virginia. That said, due to the overwhelming negligence of a DUI it will be difficult for the opposing side to prove that anything you did contributed to the accident in most circumstances.
Your DUI accident lawyer in Richmond will be able to advise you about whether it’s worth taking the chance to go to trial or to accept the settlement offer by the drunk driver’s insurance company. Every case is unique.
Why Hire Pendleton Law?
The attorneys at Pendleton Law can listen to your version of events, look through gathered evidence, and investigate further for more information. Then, we can help you build and bring a civil claim against the drunk driver for damage recovery. Our Richmond DUI accident lawyers:
- Combine large-scale resources with small-firm customer service. You will get the best of both worlds when you trust us with your DUI accident case.
- Have years of experience. Our past clients praise us for our one-on-one care, aggressive legal strategies and outstanding results.
- Are affordable. Christina Pendleton & Associates operates on a contingency fee basis, with $0 in upfront fees unless we win your Richmond drunk driving case.
Talk to Reputable DUI Accident Attorneys in Richmond, VA
If you or a loved one were injured in a DUI accident, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Christina Pendleton & Associates. Our lawyers are well-versed in DUI accident cases and will work closely with you from the onset to develop your claim.
You were the victim in an accident that could have been prevented had the driver considered the consequences of their actions when driving under the influence. Therefore, the driver should be held responsible for their actions. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.
We also help families file wrongful death claims against drunk drivers in Richmond for causing fatal car accidents. Our attorneys will fight aggressively for maximum compensation for your life-altering injuries, even if that means taking your DUI accident case to trial.
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