An attorney for Victims of Drunk Drivers in Vancouver Loren Etengoff
Accidents caused by drunk driving is a serious problem. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) surveys show that drunk driving is involved in many traffic fatalities each year.
If you sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident, contact the Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff today. Our experienced team of Vancouver drunk driving accident attorneys can help you navigate the claims process and help you recover compensation for your damages.
Drunk Drivers Face Criminal Charges
The potential criminal penalties upon a conviction are not to be minimized. Yet the criminal sanctions do nothing to address the injuries caused to the other driver or passengers involved in a drunk driver accident. It is important to retain attorneys for victims of drunk drivers in Vancouver who understand the interplay between the criminal case and the civil personal injury action that is brought.
Proving liability is essential for the personal injury case, and a criminal conviction may provide leverage for a larger civil damage award. The help of an expert Vancouver drunk driving accident attorney is essential to getting over this important hurdle.
Even if the person who caused your injuries pleaded their drunk driving charge down to “reckless driving,” you may be able to sustain a civil case against them. Their criminal charges are independent of your civil case.
In some states, criminal charges would mean especially egregious behavior that could lead to punitive damages meant to punish the person who caused harm. However, Washington does not allow for punitive damages in civil lawsuits.
A Civil Case Requires Independent Investigation
Although criminal cases proceed on a separate path, your Vancouver drunk driving accident attorneys must independently investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. Not only is it a mistake to assume a criminal conviction will result, a criminal case and a civil case have different standards of proof. It is entirely possible to be found not guilty criminally but negligently liable for the accident in the civil matter.
In a criminal case, the state is the plaintiff suing the drunk driver defendant. The state must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the driver was under intoxication.
By contrast, in a civil case, you would be the plaintiff against the drunk driving defendant. You must simply prove by a preponderance of the evidence, or a majority of the evidence, that the driver was drunk and caused your damages. It’s much easier to prove your case in a civil lawsuit than in a criminal one.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Drunk Driving Accident Case?
Drunk driver accidents can result in serious injuries to the other driver and passengers and extensive property loss. All past and future medical bills are recoverable, as well as lost wages and future income. Not only may the owner of a motor vehicle collect for damages to the vehicle, loss of items within the vehicle is also compensable.
An insurance adjuster’s job is to settle cases quickly and for as low an amount as possible. It is important not to try and negotiate your personal injury claim with an adjuster on your own. It is not in your best interest.
Drugged Driving Accidents in Vancouver
While alcohol can lead to drunk driving, intoxicated driving can also be the cause of driving while under the influence of drugs. Even over the counter medications and prescription medications can result in drugged driving. If someone causes a drugged driving accident, they are just as liable for the damages they cause.
Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) can be caused by the following:
- Sleeping pills
- Cough syrup
- Cold and flu tablets
- Sinus medications
- OTC medications
Many OTC medications and prescriptions will have a warning about not driving on the label. You should follow these until you know how that particular medication will affect you. It’s often best to work with a Vancouver WA drunk driving accident attorney if you think the driver who hit you was under the influence of drugs. The investigation can be exhausting and may require expert witnesses to testify about the impact of specific medications or drugs on driving.
DUI Accidents and Child Victims
Some of the most tragic DUI accidents involve child victims. Children are more easily injured or killed when playing outside near roads, riding their bikes, and riding in cars. It can be difficult to assess the value of damage that can occur to a child victim in a DUI accident. Some consequences of these accidents, such as brain injuries, may not reveal themselves for years after a DUI accident. Your Vancouver WA drunk driving attorney will need to think about the total amount of damages that will compensate all losses for your child who was injured in a drunk driving accident.
A child who suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a drunk driving accident may suffer far into the future. There may be many unforeseen complications, including medical expenses, physical therapy, speech therapy, special educational needs, home care, special equipment, and extensive time parents need to spend with children who have suffered a TBI. Often, an expert witness can convey all of the needs of child victims who have been injured in DUI accidents.
Future expenses are often the most valuable compensation in a child victim DUI accident. Although it might seem crass to think about finances after a drunk driving accident, it is necessary. You will have extensive medical expenses, time off work to care for yourself and your child, and other needs.
Compensation in a Drunk Driving Accident
Children as well as adults deserve compensation after a drunk driving accident. You may be able to recover for the following losses:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent injuries or disability
- Loss of quality of life
If your loved one dies as a result of a DUI accident, you can likely obtain compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial contributions, loss of love, companionship, and comfort, and more.
There are many sources of compensation after a DUI accident, including:
- The drunk driver
- Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage
- Establishment that sold alcohol to the drunk driver
- Drunk driver’s employer
- The Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Fund
Often, these sources may be combined and you can obtain compensation from multiple avenues. A Vancouver WA drunk driving accident attorney can tell you exactly what types of damages you may be able to recover and from which sources.
Contact an Vancouver Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Today for Legal Advice
A drunk driving accident has a special set of circumstances involved. These require the advanced knowledge and understanding of the law that only expert Vancouver drunk driving accident attorneys can provide. Understand and protect your rights by calling the Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff today.