Representing Victims Of Drugged And Drunk Driving
Many people get behind the wheel after having some alcoholic drinks or even taking drugs. Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs – both illegal street drugs and prescription medication – negatively affect a driver’s ability to drive safely. In fact, both alcohol and drugs are known to impair a driver’s judgment, reactions, vision, speed and overall safety.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by DUI, Shevlin Smith, P.C., can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of car accident cases, including those caused by an intoxicated driver. Our Fairfax drunk driving accident lawyers offer compassionate, personalized guidance as they aggressively advocate for your rights.
Give us a call at 703-634-7350 today to get started with your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Driving Impaired By Alcohol
Although Virginia law states that only those who operate a motor vehicle at or above .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) are considered drunk drivers and are breaking the law, any driver who gets behind the wheel of a moving motor vehicle with alcohol in his or her system has a higher chance of crashing and causing innocent people to suffer serious injuries and fatalities.
What do the statistics reveal about drunk driving in Virginia? In 2015 in Virginia, statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) indicate there were:
- 8,047 alcohol-related crashes
- 5,2888 alcohol-related crash injuries
- 214 drunk driving fatalities
- 27,333 DUI convictions
In 2014, the drunk driving numbers in Virginia reveal there were:
- 7,666 alcohol-related crashes
- 5,003 alcohol-related crash injuries
- 251 drunk driving fatalities
- 24,895 DUI convictions
While the number of drunk driving fatalities across our state decreased from 2014 to 2015, the total number of alcohol-related crashes and injuries increased. In fact, even the number of DUI convictions has increased, which could indicate that more people are driving drunk on our roads.
Although Virginia law enforcement conducts sobriety checkpoints and the state has ongoing alcohol awareness programs to help minimize drunk driving accidents and save lives, people continue to get behind the wheel and drive drunk. Unfortunately, drunk driving isn’t the only type of impaired driving on our roads. Many drivers choose to drive after taking drugs – both legal and illegal.
The Reality Of Drugged And Drunk Driving
Sadly, both drugged and drunk driving cost many lives and cause many serious injuries that change people’s lives forever. Not only are the people who suffer injuries impacted, but their families’ lives are also forever changed. Many people who survive drunk and drugged driving accidents deal with catastrophic injuries that may result in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and many other life-threatening injuries. As a result, they may be unable to drive, work, or even care for themselves.
Driving Impaired By Drugs
When drivers are on drugs, they can make critical mistakes that can compromise their lives and the lives of others sharing the road with them. Drugs are known to impair a person’s thoughts, reaction time, coordination, perception, attention, and overall driving skills. Whether drivers are taking prescription medications, marijuana, or other illegal drugs, when they get behind the wheel with any of these drugs in their systems they are driving drugged and impaired.
Unfortunately, our nation is experiencing an epidemic of people abusing marijuana and prescription drugs – creating a safety concern on our highways. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety.
Because driving under the influence of illegal drugs and prescription medications is an emerging issue throughout our nation, more studies need to be done to better understand the risk of drugged driving. However, we do know that “marijuana impairs judgment, reaction times and awareness,” according to Jeff Michael, NHTSA’s associate administrator for research and program development.
Whether people are smoking marijuana for medical purposes or for recreational use, there has been an increase in the number of drivers using marijuana. Additionally, marijuana users have a higher chance of being in a crash. Even though many marijuana users don’t believe it, marijuana can affect a driver’s risk of crashing. Furthermore, even a small amount of any illegal drug can affect a driver’s ability to drive safely.
Drunk Driving Accidents: Frequently Asked Questions
At Shevlin Smith, P.C., we work closely with the victims of impaired driving accidents. To help you get started with your case as you look for an attorney, consider the following questions that we hear frequently:
Can I sue the drunk driver for damages?
Yes. If you are injured in an accident, you can typically sue the at-fault driver for damages. This helps cover costs like medical bills and lost wages. If that other driver was impaired, that is evidence of fault, opening the door for a lawsuit seeking compensation.
How does the driver’s intoxication affect the case?
Intoxication can be used as evidence of fault, as it should be listed in the police report. Even if something else technically caused the crash – running a red light, crossing the centerline, failing to brake in time, etc. – the root cause is still that the negligent driver was impaired.
Can I sue the establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver?
No, not in Virginia. Other states have laws known as “dram shop” laws. These specify that an establishment that knowingly overserves someone can be liable if they cause an accident. However, Virginia does not have these laws on the books as of 2024.
How can I prove the driver was drunk at the time of the accident?
The police should come to the crash site after the accident. They may conduct field sobriety tests or give the other driver a breath test. If the driver fails the roadside tests or has a blood alcohol concentration that is over 0.08%, they can be arrested for drunk driving. This police report then proves that they were impaired when they injured you in the crash.
What damages can I recover in a lawsuit against a drunk driver?
You can recover damages that are directly related to the accident. For instance, if you have suffered physical injuries, you may have direct hospital bills for your emergency treatment. You could also face long-term costs, like rehabilitation. Additionally, the accident may have led to lost wages or reduced future earnings ability.
Hurt By An Impaired Driver? We Can Help.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drugged or drunk driver, it’s important that you seek legal counsel to ensure you are getting justice and the best financial recovery possible in your case. Shevlin Smith is capable of handling a wide variety of complex drunk driving cases. If you were injured in an automobile accident, call our local Fairfax drunk driving accident attorneys today for a free consultation.
Injured in an auto accident? Call us at 703-634-7350 or fill out our contact form online and we will be in touch with you shortly.