Despite increased law enforcement efforts, drunk drivers continue to be a tremendous risk on the road. If you've been the victim of a drunk driver, you'll likely find the insurance company is prepared to fight your case even harder. This is because drunk driving collisions by their nature are more serious. In short, the stakes are higher.
Drunk Driving Cases Differ From the Rest
In addition to the serious injuries or even death that too often arise from drunk driving, these cases also tend to involve higher emotional and financial tolls. Victims of drunk drivers typically incur financial and other losses to include medical expenses, lost earnings, physical injuries, and disability. When a drunk driver causes a wreck, it's usually serious. Additionally, the cases are hard fought - insurance companies invest more money, time, and resources on cases when defending drunk drivers. Insurers are more likely to take additional defense measures such as hiring teams of accident reconstructionists or toxicology experts in order to avoid liability. It takes expertise to "even the playing field" against drunk drivers and their insurance company laywers.
Proving Intoxication is the Key
Proving the fault (by intoxication) of the drunk driver may be more challenging than would be expected. Often, we can make use of the evidence compiled by the police in prosecuting the wrongdoer. This may include the officer's field notes, photographs, and observations of the suspect. We typically work closely with police officers to develop this evidence. We can also rely upon the findings of the scientific analysis performed on the suspect's breath or blood sample given after his arrest.
However, in many cases this evidence doesn't exist. After all, drunk drivers aren't always caught by the police, or they may be arrested but escape conviction through legal technicalities.
In such cases, we may be called upon to devise our own solutions. In the absence of police evidence, we've worked with toxicology experts to prove that a particular driver was in fact drunk on a certain occasion. We've also turned to other forms of evidence such as eyewitness testimony, hospital admission records, and hospital toxicology screenings to prove cases of drunk driving.
The Punitive Damage Issue in Virginia
In specific cases, victims of drunk drivers may be able to recover additional money damages known as punitive damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and hopefully deter similar conduct in the future. They also provide extra compensation to victims, which is certainly fair. Punitive damages are a powerful victim's right in the fight against drunk drivers. This form of damages can also be a valuable weapon to "even the field" against their insurance companies and defense attorneys as well. We pursue punitive damages to the fullest extent possible under the law. We take drunk driving cases seriously and are proud of our results.
Some Troubling National Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol related collisions. This is an average of one death almost every 51 minutes. These deaths amount to 32% of all traffic fatalities. Time after time, we've been called upon to represent those injured by drunk drivers. Though our offices are based in Fauquier, Culpeper, and Warren Counties, we handle cases throughout Virginia. If you've been hurt by a drunk driver, contact us for a free consultation. We can be your advocate.