There is no excuse for drinking and driving. In fact, drunk driving is one of the most reckless decisions a person can make behind the wheel. Anyone who chooses to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle is also breaking the law. If you were hurt by a drunk driver, they should be responsible for your medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and any other harm you have suffered.
If a drunk driver caused your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Ongoing medical care
- Lost pay
- Permanent physical disabilities
- Disfigurement, amputation, or scarring
- Death of a loved one
A Seattle drunk driving accident lawyer can help you seek these awards and more. If you are ready to fight for justice against the drunk driver who hurt you or your loved one, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 598-7557.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol—also known as DUI—is dangerous. Every day, drunk drivers cause one death every 50 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration confirms that consuming alcohol impairs a driver’s thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. Behind the wheel, this can lead to poor judgement and dangerous driving behaviors, including:
- Diminished ability to control driving speed
- Delayed reaction times
- Inability to process visual and auditory information
- Loss of concentration
Crashes involving a drunk driver can be particularly violent, resulting in:
- Spinal injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head trauma
- Neck and back injuries
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving accidents lawyer serving Seattle, call (800) 598-7557
Washington DUI Laws
Drinking and driving is illegal in Washington and all 50 states. This means the driver who hit you will likely face criminal charges and penalties separate from any civil action you take. While you can win monetary compensation in a civil lawsuit, a criminal case punishes the drunk driver with penalties that may include fines, loss of driving privileges, and potential jail time.
According to Revised Code of Washington § 46.61.502, a driver is guilty of DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. The law allows authorities to collect blood or breath samples up to two hours after the alleged drunk driving occurred. If the driver who hit you is under the age of 21, they are guilty of DUI if they have a BAC higher than 0.02. Likewise, commercial vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard and must have a BAC less than 0.04.
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How a Seattle Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help
While legal punishment may deter a driver from committing another DUI, that does not help you pay your medical bills or repair your damaged vehicle.
A Seattle drunk driving accident lawyer can help you fight for the financial compensation you deserve, starting with an insurance claim against the drunk driver. The state of Washington follows an at-fault insurance model, which means you file any claims for your injuries with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
A lawyer who is familiar with drunk driving accidents can help make sure you are being treated fairly by the insurance company, who will likely try to pay you the minimum amount possible. If a favorable insurance settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can take your case to court. A lawyer can also help with a civil suit in the event that an uninsured driver caused your accident.
If an uninsured driver fails to pay you for damages, you can also report them to the state, according to the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). If it is within 180 days of your accident, and you suffered an injury or property damage of $1,000 or more, you can submit a Motor Vehicle Claim for Damages. If you are not paid, the uninsured driver could have their license suspended.
There are many options to consider, but you do not need make these decisions alone. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC is ready to explain your legal options and answer your questions. Contact us today for a free case review.
Proving Your Case
A Seattle drunk driving accident lawyer can also help you prove an intoxicated driver was at fault. The first thing you should do is make sure there is an official report of your crash. Generally, this report is made by the investigating officer at the scene of your accident. If law enforcement was not present, you have up to four days after your accident to make a report to the local authorities.
Your lawyer can use this report and other evidence to support your case. Your lawyer may also collect:
- Statements from other motorists who witnessed your accident
- Medical treatment records
- Red light camera footage or other video or photographic evidence
- Field sobriety and BAC test results
- Records of past DUI convictions, if applicable
Do not wait too long to contact a Seattle drunk driving accident lawyer about your case. The statute of limitations for pursuing awards for property damage, wrongful death, or personal injury in the state of Washington is three years. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can start working for you.
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What if Your Actions Contributed to the Accident?
Anyone who drinks and drives is in the wrong, but what if your behavior also led to your injuries? For example, what if you were speeding when the accident occurred? According to Revised Code of Washington Section 4.22.005, you can still seek damages in a lawsuit. A court will rule on what amount of responsibility falls to you—also known as contributory fault—and your settlement will be diminished by that percentage.
Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC Today
If the driver who hit you had not been drinking, you may not have been injured. If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, their death is a tragedy that could have been avoided. The drunk driver who caused your crash should be held accountable for their actions.
The Seattle drunk driving accident lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can fight for you. Whether through an insurance claim or a court case, our goal is to help you achieve the highest possible amount of compensation. We work on contingency, which means there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs. We will only collect a fee if we are able to win a settlement for you.
If you are ready to begin your fight for justice, call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 598-7557 for a free consultation.