Virginia Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 11,500 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2020 alone. Drunk driving is entirely preventable, yet thousands of people lose their lives to this careless driving behavior annually. Thousands more are significantly injured and face life-changing physical and mental injuries.
At Deering Hedrick, attorneys Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick know the devastation that can accompany a drunk driving accident. You may be left with physical and emotional trauma as well as significant financial hardship. Although you may have many concerns on your mind, we only have one thought on ours: securing you the justice and compensation you deserve.
While we can’t go back in time and prevent the accident from happening, we can use our resources and legal knowledge to help you seek compensation for your financial losses and move forward with your life. Have you been injured in a drunk driving accident? Contact Deering Hedrick to talk about your situation and discuss your legal options.
Do You Need an Attorney Following a Drunk Driving Accident in Virginia Beach?
Navigating the process of recovering compensation after a drunk driving accident can be challenging. Although you may think you have an open-and-shut case against the drunk driver, accident-injury claims are rarely easy. It can take time and evidence to prove your claim and recover the money you deserve for your financial losses.
After a drunk driving accident, you do not have to take on the careless driver alone. Turning to an experienced Virginia Beach drunk driving accident attorney is in your best interest. At Deering Hedrick, attorneys Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick are ready to get to work on your behalf. Our team is committed to evaluating the circumstances of your situation, gathering evidence to strengthen your claim, and building a case with the best chance of securing you the money you need. We are devoted litigators invested in helping you overcome the intense and overwhelming circumstances that often accompany a drunk driving accident.
Protect yourself and your family from further injustice. Contact a skilled drunk driving accident attorney today.
What Is Drunk Driving?
The Commonwealth of Virginia defines driving while intoxicated as operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. A motorist can also face DWI if they appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if there is a concentration of cocaine, methamphetamine, or PCP in the body. Additionally, if a driver is involved in a crash and law enforcement suspects it is alcohol-related, the authorities can arrest the driver within three hours of the accident without a warrant.
The Commonwealth also has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking, meaning anyone under 21 can face DWI with a BAC of only .02%. Virginia also has implied consent laws on the books. Implied consent means all motorists must agree to submit to a blood or breath test if they are operating a vehicle on public roads. Refusing to provide a blood or breath sample can result in a motorist losing their license for one to three years, depending on their record.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
By now, it is no surprise that drunk driving is dangerous. For decades there have been campaigns against driving under the influence meant to educate motorists about the inherent hazards of intoxicated driving. Unfortunately, there are still drivers willing to gamble with their lives – and yours.
Alcohol is a substance that significantly reduces the function of the human brain. It impacts everything from how a person thinks and behaves to coordination, muscle function, and vision. Alcohol is absorbed by the body directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. From there, the alcohol hits the bloodstream and accumulates until the liver can metabolize it, which can take hours.
Elevated blood alcohol levels can drastically impair a person, even when one feels “sober.” A Michigan Health study finds only two standard alcoholic drinks can decrease a person’s visual functions, alter their mood, and prevent them from multitasking. Three alcoholic drinks, the equivalent of a .05 BAC, can reduce coordination and the ability to track moving objects. By the time a motorist has enough alcohol to reach a BAC of .08%, they lose the ability to concentrate, can experience short-term memory loss, and their sense of perception and self-control is impaired.
Driving with any level of alcohol in a person’s system can lead to disastrous consequences. Victims of drunk driving accidents know that there is no “safe” threshold for consuming alcohol and being in control of their senses.
Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents can cause catastrophic injuries. Often, an impaired driver does not have the judgment or reaction time to slow down and avoid causing devastating damage to another driver or pedestrian. Drunk drivers may also be impaired to the point where they cannot render effective aid or call for help when they injure other motorists. As a result, drunk driving accidents can leave victims with life-threatening injuries or life-long medical complications.
Some of the most common injuries in drunk driving crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Neurological damage
- Facial injuries
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Unfortunately, physical injuries are only the tip of the iceberg. Drunk driving accidents can also cause deep emotional trauma and mental health concerns. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are not uncommon conditions in individuals dealing with the overwhelming stress of a drunk driving collision.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Drunk driving statistics are frightening. In the U.S., at least 28 people die in drunk driving crashes daily. That’s one death every 51 minutes. In 2021 the Department of Motor Vehicles recorded that drunk driving accidents killed 247 people on Virginia roadways and caused at least 4,224 injuries. That same year saw 15,988 recorded DUI convictions in the commonwealth.
Although the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has seen a decrease in alcohol-related fatalities over the past three decades, 32 percent of all traffic fatalities in Virginia are still alcohol-related. The agency estimates that getting caught for DUI can cost drivers anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 in fines, fees, and legal costs.
Compensation for Drunk Driving Accidents in Virginia
A drunk driving accident can leave you facing considerable financial hardship. At Deering Hedrick, we understand the difficulties you and your family may be up against as you recover from your injuries. Although the value of your case will depend on several factors, our legal team is committed to helping you seek the money you need to move forward with your life. This may involve compensation for your:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
In some cases, you may also earn compensation in the form of punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate you for your financial losses. Instead, they are a form of civil punishment meant to help discourage grossly reckless or malicious behavior. These damages can only be awarded at trial and, even then, are rare. Still, extreme recklessness may warrant them, and we will leave no stone unturned as we pursue the full recovery you deserve.
Proving Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
Proving fault in a drunk driving case seems simple. However, rarely are cases as straightforward as they appear. Establishing that the other driver is at fault takes evidence. An attorney can be instrumental in helping you collect the evidence needed to build a compelling case against the other motorist. Vital evidence that may influence the outcome of your claim can include the following:
- Police report
- Photographs or videos from the scene
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Results of BAC testing
- Expert opinions
Virginia subscribes to the contributory negligence model when determining how to distribute compensation in civil cases. This regulation stipulates if your actions play even a minor role in causing an accident, you cannot recover compensation for your losses. If you are in any way responsible for causing a crash, you cannot receive money for your injuries. The contributory negligence rule binds all civil court decisions. It also heavily influences how an insurance adjuster may value your claim.
Consulting with an experienced Virginia Beach drunk driving accident lawyer is the best way to give yourself the opportunity to recover the money you deserve.
Contact Deering Hedrick Today for Help
Have you been injured in a drunk driving accident? It can be challenging to get your life back on track and recover from the stress and trauma of the incident. At Deering Hedrick, our experienced legal team wants to make this smooth the difficult road ahead of you as much as possible. We are committed to holding careless drunk drivers responsible for their actions.
If you are ready to discuss your situation, contact Deering Hedrick today for a consultation with a Virginia Beach drunk driving accident lawyer.