Every year, thousands of people are killed in the U.S. in alcohol-related crashes. Tens of thousands more are injured in drunk driving accidents. The problem continues to affect millions of people every year who are injured in an accident involving a drunk driver who then has to face expensive medical bills, days off of work, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an accident with an impaired driver, contact an attorney about making sure you will be compensated for your injuries.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Washington D.C.
According to a report in the Washington Post, a drunk driver is arrested in the D.C. region every 30 minutes. One-third of all traffic fatalities in the DC area are alcohol related. In 2013, there were 243 traffic fatalities in the Metro DC area. Of those, 81 involved a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This number actually increased from the year before.
After any kind of car accident, the drivers and passengers may be unsure what happened or what they should do next. After seeking medical treatment, the injured individuals may be outraged to find out that the accident was caused by a drunk driver. In many cases, getting compensation after an accident may be more complicated when the other driver was intoxicated. You may have to deal with a driver facing criminal charges or possibly driving without automobile insurance.
Criminal DUI Accidents
In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime. If charged with a DUI, the driver faces possible jail time, fines and fees, and a suspended license. However, if the driver was impaired and involved in an accident that resulted in a serious injury, the criminal charges are much more severe. There may be additional charges if the driver tried to leave the scene of an accident, or the accident resulted in the death of a passenger, another driver, or pedestrian.
When a drunk driver is facing criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit, the criminal case is usually handled first. This may mean that the injured individual may have to wait months while the criminal case goes through the courts before they can recover damages for their personal injury or wrongful death case. The intoxicated driver may also have spent a lot of money defending their drunk driving conviction, which may mean they have fewer resources to compensate the injured driver.
After an Accident With an Impaired Driver
After a minor car accident, the drivers involved generally stop at the scene of the accident and exchange insurance information. If the accident was not too serious, there may be no need to call the police. However, if you suspect the other driver may be impaired, you should contact the police even if the accident was minor.
Many impaired drivers know they will get into trouble if they are caught under the influence after causing an accident. They may fear losing their license, or they may already be driving on a suspended license. The drunk driver may try to handle the accident without the insurance company by offering to pay cash for any damages. However, before agreeing to let the impaired driver go without contacting the police, make sure you understand what is at stake.
The impaired driver may have no intention of paying for the accident. They may not have any money to pay for your expensive medical bills. In some cases, the impaired driver does not have a valid license or may not have insurance. Without contacting authorities, you may have fewer resources to seek compensation if the other driver never pays for your injuries.
Even if the accident was minor, your injuries may be more serious than you realize. Many drivers feel fine after an accident, or just feel a little shaken up. However, a day or two later, they may realize that their injuries were worse than expected. What they expected to be a minor fender bender may result in expensive medical treatment, surgery, or ongoing medical care.
Attorneys for Accidents Involving Impaired Drivers in D.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an impaired driver, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help. Car accidents involving a drunk driver can take time, especially if the impaired driver has to go through a criminal trial. You need an advocate on your side to make sure you are compensated for your injuries. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with all types of automobile accident cases throughout the DC Metro Area. Contact us today for a free consultation.