Despite the fact that most adults are aware they should not drink and drive, drunk driving accidents continue to occur. Unfortunately, by the time a person is inebriated, he or she is unlikely to be aware of their condition. When an intoxicated person hits another vehicle, those inside could be severely injured. While the drunk driver may face criminal charges associated with the drunk driving accident, the injured person has the right to bring a personal injury claim against the drunk driver. The attorneys at Kadish Twersky have helped many people injured by a drunk driver recover through an equitable financial settlement. We understand that a financial settlement will in no way put your life back to the way it was before you were hit by a drunk driver.
That being said, we also believe that a strong financial settlement can help you get back on your feet, physically, emotionally, and financially. When you have been injured through the negligence of another person, it can make your trauma that much worse when you have to deal with a recalcitrant insurance company or try to keep all deadlines for your claim straight. We handle all the legal issues associated with your accident, and we will help you find the medical treatments you need. Kadish Twersky recently merged with Palace Law, giving you greater access to experienced legal minds. We believe we can help you through this difficult time, making sure your rights are protected, and helping you once more look forward to your future.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), nearly 20 percent of the collisions which resulted in the death of a child involved alcohol. There are fewer than 15 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week who are alcohol-impaired, while on the weekends, 28 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes are drunk. Each and every day in the United States, it is estimated that at least 800 people are injured in drunk driving collisions.
It is further estimated that drunk driving costs the United States as much as $132 billion per year. The highest percentage of drunk drivers is for those between the ages of 21 and 24, followed by those between the ages of 25 and 34. There are significantly more men involved in drunk driving accidents than women—about four men for every female. It is believed that the “average” drunk driver has driven drunk more than 80 times before his or her arrest.
In 2017, in the state of Washington, MADD Washington reported 161 deaths due to drunk driving. Washington ranks 32nd in the nation for the number of drunk driving accidents. Washington State passed an all-offender ignition interlock law in 2009; since that time, the number of drunk driving fatalities has dropped by 12 percent.
Personal Injury Claims from a Drunk Driving Accident
If you were hit by a drunk driver in the state of Washington, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover your damages. These damages could include your medical expenses (present and future), lost wages (present and future), pain and suffering, and, possibly, punitive damages as well. It is extremely important that you thoroughly assess your injuries before you even consider settling your claim. The drunk driver’s insurance company may attempt to pressure you into an early settlement as a method of closing the case and preventing any further claims on your part.
You should be aware that even if your collision was not severe, you could nonetheless have serious injuries which may manifest days, or even weeks later. If you accept a quick settlement, these injuries may not be covered, leaving you unable to seek the medical treatment you need. Because the insurance company’s primary goal is to keep your payout as low as possible, having a knowledgeable drunk driving personal injury attorney by your side can truly make a difference in the outcome of your claim.
If you can wait until the driver has either pleaded guilty to or been convicted of driving under the influence, you will have more leverage in your own settlement. Washington state is a comparative fault state, meaning the fault of all parties involved in a car collision will come into play when compensation is determined. This means that even if you were hit by a drunk driver if you were driving 40 miles over the speed limit and were in the process of running a red light when you were hit, you would still bear some of the responsibility for the accident.
Washington residents do have the option to add no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) to their vehicle insurance, with a minimum of $10,000 in coverage. PIP insurance covers injuries to yourself and your passengers following a car accident, no matter who was at fault. If your accident was very severe and your injuries are serious or catastrophic, you may have no choice but to sue the drunk driver responsible for your injuries.
Drinking and Driving Laws in Washington State
Like all states in the United States, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 percent. However, even if a person’s BAC level is below the legal limit, if the person was observed driving in an unsafe manner, displaying signs that are consistent with an impaired person, he or she could still be charged with DUI. A first-offense DUI in the state of Washington is considered a misdemeanor. The penalties for this first-time offense include a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours, up to 364 days. The mandatory minimum fine is $940.00, although the fines can be as high as $5,000. A first-offense DUI in Washington State will result in 2-5 years of probation, an ignition interlock for one year, and a license suspension for a period of 90 days. The penalties go up significantly for subsequent DUI convictions.
How Kadish Twersky Can Help Following a Drunk Driving Accident
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, and you suffered injury as a result, it could be extremely beneficial for you to contact Kadish Twersky. We will work hard on your behalf to secure a settlement that will fully cover all your damages, including your lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. While we know that a monetary settlement will not change what happened, we also know that a fair settlement can make your life much easier, allowing you to “see the light at the end of the tunnel,” so to speak. Do not wait—contact Kadish Twersky today for personal injury representation.