DUI Accident Attorney in Charlottesville, VA
If you have been seriously injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver in Charlottesville, you may have a stack of medical bills and other expenses. You may be unable to work and experiencing financial stress because of mounting debt. You may feel overwhelmed. You deserve compassion and trusted guidance at such a difficult time.
You should not have to face financial hardship because of the actions of a drunk driver. An experienced car accident attorney at the Kendall Law Firm can review the details of the accident and discuss your legal options during a free consultation. You may be entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance demanding compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.
Attorney David B. Kendall and the team at Kendall Law Firm recognize that you may be going through one of the most difficult times of your life. Our team focuses on helping people who have been injured due to others’ negligence or disregard for safety. We are proud of the testimonials of former clients about the legal service we have provided. Our law firm is dedicated to representing drunk driving accident victims in Charlottesville and throughout the Shenandoah Valley.
Who Is Liable in a DUI Accident?
A driver who causes a car accident while impaired by alcohol may be held accountable in both criminal court and civil court in Virginia.
If a drunk driving accident is serious, the drunk driver may face criminal charges of driving while impaired or other charges if the accident involved injuries or death. Anyone convicted of a first offense of DUI in Virginia faces a mandatory fine and one-year revocation of his or her driver’s license. The penalties are tougher for subsequent offenses.
The drunk driver and his or her insurance company also may have civil liability to the victims of an accident.
An accident victim may file an injury claim against the drunk driver’s insurance seeking compensation for losses including medical bills, pain and suffering, vehicle damage and other damage. Insurance companies will try to deny or minimize a claim if an accident victim tries to handle it without a lawyer. An insurer may offer a quick, small settlement and try to pressure the accident victim to accept it.
An experienced car accident lawyer can push back against insurance company pressure tactics. Having Kendall Law Firm representing you and negotiating with the insurer on your behalf shows that you are serious about being treated fairly and being fully compensated for your losses.
Virginia DUI Laws
As of 2021, Virginia has stringent laws on drinking and driving. Alcohol-related deaths have declined by 37 percent in the last three decades, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Even so, the Commonwealth of Virginia still has an average of about 228 drunk driving deaths per year, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics. A third of Virginia’s traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Each of those fatal drunk driving accidents was a preventable death caused by a poor decision to drink and drive.
Under Virginia law, all drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher are considered to be driving under the influence.
If you are involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, he or she may be arrested without a warrant for driving under the influence within three hours of the accident if the police officer has probable cause.
Drivers convicted of a first offense of DUI will lose their license for a year. First offenders are required to have a mandatory ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle to prevent it from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath. A second conviction of DUI results in a three-year driver’s license suspension.
Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol consumption by young people. Drivers under age 21 may be convicted of illegal consumption of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent.
Virginia law allows people injured by impaired drivers to seek restitution. If you are injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver, you should seek legal guidance about your rights to seek compensation.
Blood Alcohol Limit In Virginia
A person 21 years old or older is considered to be driving while impaired if operating an automobile or boat with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher.
You also may be considered under the influence of alcohol with a lower BAC if your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired.
A commercial truck driver may be charged with driving while impaired with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 percent or higher.
It’s illegal for anyone under age 21 in the Commonwealth of Virginia to consume alcohol. A young person under 21 who drives a vehicle after illegally consuming alcohol may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor and face a one-year suspension of driving privileges and a fine.
How quickly your BAC level rises depends on a number of factors including:
- Number of alcohol drinks
- How quickly the alcohol drinks are consumed
- Your gender
- Your weight
- Food in your stomach. Food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol.
Consequences Of A DUI Accident
You may believe that if the drunk driver who injured is prosecuted by police he or she will face justice and that you will receive restitution for your medical bills and damaged vehicle. Unfortunately, that is often not what happens. DUI prosecutions often end with the accused pleading guilty to reduced charges to avoid more serious penalties.
Filing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver is often the most effective legal strategy for an accident victim to receive compensation for medical bills and other accident expenses. A civil lawsuit is entirely separate from any criminal proceeding. You will need to enlist the help of an experienced Charlottesville drunk driving injury attorney who can pursue your claim aggressively.
Kendall Law Firm can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, our attorneys will be prepared to file a civil lawsuit asking the court to order the insurance company to compensate you fully for your losses.
Insurance companies don’t want to defend the actions of a drunk driver in court. They know that juries will not view the conduct of a drunk driver favorably. Most civil lawsuits involving DUI accident injuries are settled without a trial.
As a DUI Accident Victim, How Can I Pursue Compensation?
Our DUI injury attorneys at Kendall Law Firm will pursue compensation to help you pay for:
- Medical expenses such as hospital bills, medication and physical therapy
- Future medical expenses related to your injuries
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential because of your injuries
The immediate family of a person who is killed by a drunk driver may have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the driver accountable.
In addition to compensation for economic damages and pain and suffering, you may have a right to seek punitive damages if you were injured by a drunk driver.
If a drunk driver’s conduct is found to show a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of others, then punitive damages may be available to the DUI accident victims. Punitive damages are intended to punish the driver
Similarly, if the driver refuses to submit to a blood-alcohol test, Virginia law presumes that the driver’s conduct was wanton enough to warrant punitive damages.
Contact a DUI Accident Lawyer In Virginia Today
Attorney David Kendall and the team at Kendall Law Firm are available to review the details of your drunk driving accident. Contact us today for a free case consultation. Once we are familiar with the details of the accident, we can explain your legal options and whether filing a DUI accident lawsuit is in order.
A native Virginian, David Kendall served as Judge Advocate General with the U.S. Marine Corps. He has more than 25 years of experience in injury law and takes pride in being friendly and approachable. We do not represent insurance companies. Our focus is on helping accident victims.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident in Charlottesville or the Shenandoah Valley, you deserve experienced, compassionate legal representation. Attorney David Kendall can negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies and demand justice for you. We represent people who have been injured in car crashes caused by others’ negligence or wanton disregard for life on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe any legal fee to Kendall Law Firm unless we are successful in obtaining an insurance settlement or jury award for you.