Every 50 minutes a person dies in a drunk driving accident in the United States, and every 60 seconds someone is injured by a drunk driver. One third of all Americans will be involved in a drunk driving accident at some time in their life. Clearly, driving under the influence is a great problem, not only in Washington, but nationwide.
When someone you love has been killed in a drunk driving accident, your grief and anger may feel overwhelming, and when you’ve had your life turned upside down from an injury that a drunk driver caused, your pain is compounded by knowing it wouldn’t have happened if someone had not irresponsibly decided to drive drunk. Getting behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking is a conscious decision, and anyone who does so and harms or kills another person needs to be held accountable, both criminally and civilly.
Driving under the influence is a crime, but the fact that the person who caused the accident is facing criminal penalties is little consolation when you are suffering from a bereavement or are injured and the medical bills are skyrocketing and you’re unable to work. As a victim of an alcohol-related accident, you will not be compensated automatically because the driver was convicted of DUI. That requires a civil action to demonstrate that the drunk driver caused the accident, and that the accident caused your losses. This is accomplished by hiring an experienced car accident attorney and suing in civil court.
A DUI conviction opens the door to an additional form of punishment for the drunk driver. Not only can you sue for compensatory damages, i.e. money to compensate you for your medical expenses, lost earnings and future earning potential, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, but you can also ask for punitive damages, meant to punish the driver for the wrongdoing.
IS A LAWYER NECESSARY?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be very pleased if you decide to negotiate an out-of-court settlement without retaining a lawyer. But keep in mind that the insurance adjuster who seems so kind and concerned has one intention: to pay you as little as possible. Adjusters are well trained in accomplishing this goal. Most accident victims have never been in a position to negotiate a settlement in a car accident case; the adjuster does this every day. You’re at a distinct disadvantage trying to deal with someone who does this for a living and knows all the tricks of the trade. According to some estimates, accident victims who negotiate directly with the insurance company come away with only around a third as much money as victims represented by experienced car accident attorneys.
If you have experienced an injury or a death in the family caused by a drunk driver in Seattle or anywhere in the State of Washington, you should have the best representation available in your pursuit of a recovery for your damages. There is no need to compromise your case by making an error in dealing with an insurance adjuster. Before you take a call from an adjuster, consult the attorneys of the Seattle, Washington, law firm of Wattel and York. We fight to win fair and equitable compensation for every drunk driving victim. Call for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We hold drunk drivers accountable and make them pay. You pay us nothing up front, and nothing at all unless you win.