Drunk driving remains a serious problem in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 7,285 crashes involving a drunk driver in 2017, killing 248 people and injuring another 4,430.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney at Fishwick & Associates before you speak with the insurance company. We can help you understand your legal options, calculate your damages, and demand accountability.
Call the Police Immediately After a Drunk Driving Accident
It’s critical that you document a crash with a drunk driver. If you can call the police yourself, do so immediately. Once the authorities arrive, you should provide them with information about the driver’s behavior before and after the crash, especially if they were driving erratically or appeared intoxicated.
Police reports will play a vital role in your drunk driving liability claim. They typically will include results from roadside sobriety tests, blood-alcohol content (BAC) testing, and other evidence that demonstrates the driver’s level of impairment. This information, and especially the driver’s BAC, is critical to your claim and may make you eligible for punitive damages.
Go to the Doctor Right Away
Medical treatment is also essential to your drunk driving injury claim. It’s not enough to claim you were injured; you must prove it. Medical records, doctors’ notes, diagnostic testing, and medical bills are all effective ways to prove the extent of your injuries and link them to your crash.
Unfortunately, if you delay medical treatment, the insurance adjuster may argue that your injuries are not accident-related. The sooner you document your symptoms and seek treatment, the stronger your claim.
Don’t Accept the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer
It can be tempting to settle your claim with the other driver’s insurance company right away and put the whole ordeal behind you. But a quick settlement may not fully compensate you for your injuries. Insurance claim adjusters typically don’t start negotiations with a high settlement offer — and you may not yet understand the extent of your injuries.
Injuries, especially spine injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), can take time to develop and treat. It’s best to hold off on a settlement until your medical conditions stabilize and you have an experienced lawyer on your side. Waiting to settle will give you a more realistic picture of the damages you’re owed, including your need for future medical treatment.
Consult with a Virginia Drunk Driving Lawyer
Depending on the nature of your claim, you may have multiple liability claims arising out of a drunk driving accident. In addition to the drunk driver, you may have legal claims against a bar or restaurant that knowingly overserved them, or the driver’s employer. Without an experienced lawyer’s guidance, you may miss out on these claims.
Just as importantly, a good lawyer will make you feel seen, heard, and protected as you recover from your injuries.
Fishwick & Associates: Fighting for Virginia Drunk Driving Victims
At Fishwick & Associates, we have more than 100 years of collective legal experience and proudly serve accident victims throughout Virginia. We fight tirelessly for our clients, demanding fair compensation and accountability. If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver and think you deserve compensation, call us today at 540.345.5890 or fill out our simple online form to request your free case evaluation today.
Virginia Highway Safety Office (2017). 2017 Virginia traffic crash facts. Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/safety/crash_data/crash_facts/crash_facts_17.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.