Despite numerous laws against it, drunk driving remains a common occurrence in the United States, and specifically Charlottesville. If you or a loved one were injured due to the negligent actions of a drunk driver, a local car accident attorney from the Warren law Firm could be of assistance. A knowledgeable Charlottesville drunk driving accident lawyer could collect evidence to help the intoxicated driver’s negligence and help you seek the compensation you need.

What Are Common Causes of Drunk Driving Collisions?

In Charlottesville, drunk driving accidents often occur late at night. They typically occur with younger drivers who may be leaving the downtown area or The Corner after the bars closed. Fortunately, The Corner contains mostly students who are walking and not driving.

Most drunk driving accidents occur when the intoxicated motorist loses control due to inattentiveness or inability to control the vehicle, particularly on the back roads as they get outside of Charlottesville into Albemarle County. Drivers may get confused or are so impaired that they end up going the wrong way on Interstate 64, which has the potential for catastrophic accidents because of the speed of the vehicles on the interstate.

Around Charlottesville, the speed limit on the interstate is 65 miles an hour, and if a drunk driver is going the wrong way even at 50 or 60 miles an hour, an impact with a vehicle going the other way can be devastating.

Is the Injury Case and the DUI Case Handled Separately in Charlottesville?

The drunk driving criminal case and the injury case are handled separately. In Charlottesville, the Commonwealth’s attorney will handle the criminal case against the drunk driver. They will do the investigation and try the case before a judge or a jury, if needed. The injured party will have little say because the Commonwealth attorney is the one who decides to prosecute the driver.

If the injured party attorney pursues a personal injury claim, the drunk driver could be held civilly liable for damages. Once the injured party’s attorney proves the drunk drivers negligence, it is likely that they will be found responsible or liable for the accident in civil court.

The Speed of Criminal and Civil Cases

Criminal cases move much faster because defendants have constitutional rights to a speedy trial and it does not require that the injured party reach maximum medical improvement. In the civil case, it is difficult to resolve, and they often have to wait until the injured party has fully healed.

Recovering Compensation for Damages

If a driver operates their vehicle under the influence, they could be held liable for the injured party’s damages. The injured victim may be eligible to recover economic, non-economic, and possibly punitive damages. The most common types of recoverable damages include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

A local Charlottesville drunk driving attorney could calculate the injured party’s damages and seek compensation from the negligent driver.

Punitive Damages

Depending on the severity of the accident and the victim’s injuries, the injured party may be entitled to punitive damages. In Virginia, the legal limit for driving is under 0.08. If they were driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level, they will likely be charged with a driving under the influence (DUI). However, to be awarded punitive damages in Virginia, the drunk driver must have at least a 0.15 BAC.

A Charlottesville Drunk Driver Collision Attorney is Here to Help

Due to the criminal nature of driving while intoxicated, there may be an extra layer of complication when seeking damages in a drunk driving case. But you do not need to handle your case alone. Reach out to a compassionate drunk driving accident lawyer from The Warren Firm to learn if you might have a reasonable claim of damages.