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On average, alcohol-related crashes kill one person and injure 11 more every day in Virginia. Despite these statistics and our state’s strong laws against driving under the influence (DUI), countless people choose to drink and drive every day. 

River Run Law can help you get justice if you are hurt in a drunk driving accident. Our firm can pursue the liable party, file a personal injury claim, and help negotiate a fair settlement. Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

You May Have the Right to Compensation

Virginia law recognizes the immense physical, emotional, and financial burdens placed on victims of drunk driving. Thankfully, the law allows you to stand up for your rights and file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party.

To win your case, you’ll need to prove the following elements of negligence:

  • Duty of care. The liable party owed you a legal duty to act safely and operate the vehicle responsibly.
  • Breach of duty. The at-fault party violated that duty by driving under the influence, putting you at risk.
  • Causation. The driver’s choice to drink and drive caused the accident. 
  • Damages. You suffered losses as a result of the accident, such as property damage, medical expenses, and emotional distress.

River Run Law knows what it takes to prove these elements. Speak with our firm to see if you’re entitled to compensation.

Are Drunk Drivers Always at Fault?

While a drunk driving accident may seem straightforward on its face, determining liability can be difficult. Many parties can share the blame for the crash, and you need a skilled attorney to get to the truth of the matter.

Intoxicated Driver

In most cases, the intoxicated driver will be liable. Their impaired judgment and lack of control behind the wheel directly caused the accident and your injuries. Also, they disregarded Virginia’s DUI laws, demonstrating their reckless behavior. 

Vehicle Owners

In some cases, the vehicle’s owner may also share liability. This can happen if they allow a person who is visibly intoxicated to drive their car. This liability is based on the notion that the owner had the opportunity to prevent the accident by not providing access to the vehicle.

Employers of the Intoxicated Driver

Under the concept of vicarious liability, employers are responsible for their employee’s behavior. In most cases, employers forbid employees from drinking on the job.

However, it’s not uncommon for employers to host happy hours or other work-related events that serve alcohol. You may have a claim against the employer if it allows an employee to drink at a work function or fails to enforce policies against drunk driving. 

Possible Defenses in a Drunk Driving Case

While you have the right to seek compensation, it’s important to understand that the at-fault party may raise defenses in court. 

Contributory Negligence

A liable party may argue that your actions contributed to the accident. For instance, the defense might claim you were speeding or not paying attention to the road, reducing the drunk driver’s liability.

Virginia follows a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning a court may dismiss your claim if you share only 1% of the blame. This strict rule can jeopardize your case, so you need to work with a lawyer who can thwart this defense.

Assumption of Risk

The drunk driver might claim that you placed yourself in a dangerous situation. For example, if you got into a car with someone you knew was intoxicated, the defense might argue you assumed the risk of an accident. However, this defense is not foolproof. You may be eligible for compensation even if you knew the driver was intoxicated. 

Damages You Can Recover

The emotional and financial toll of a drunk driving accident can be immense. Thankfully, Virginia allows you to recover a range of losses

Here are some of the damages you may be able to claim:

  • Medical expenses—covers medical bills related to your injuries, including hospital stays, therapy, medication, and medical equipment;
  • Lost wages—reimburses lost income during recovery and future earning potential if your injuries affect your ability to work;
  • Pain and suffering—compensates for the physical and emotional pain you’ve endured due to the accident; and
  • Property damage—covers costs to repair or replace personal property like your vehicle or other belongings.

The amount of compensation you can recover will depend on the severity of your injuries and the specific facts of your case. A drunk driving injury attorney can help you understand the full range of potential damages and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

Getting compensation after a DUI accident isn’t something you should do on your own. Working with a lawyer can help you get the best outcome possible and protect your rights along the way. 

Here are some of the benefits of working with an attorney:

  • Free case assessment. A personal injury lawyer will thoroughly assess your case and estimate potential compensation. They will develop a strategic plan tailored to your situation, maximizing your chances of a successful outcome.
  • Gathering evidence. Your lawyer will gather evidence that shows why the driver is liable and the extent of your injuries. Your evidence can include items like police reports, medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions. 
  • Negotiation skills. Lawyers are fierce negotiators who communicate with insurance companies and defense attorneys. They will work tirelessly to negotiate a fair settlement that captures all of your losses and injuries.
  • Courtroom representation. Having a personal injury lawyer by your side is invaluable if your case goes to trial. They will be a strong advocate, presenting compelling arguments, cross-examining witnesses, and standing up for your rights before a judge and jury.

Don’t go through this challenging time alone. Work with our firm to ensure you get the best legal representation available.

Ready to obtain justice for your Virginia drunk driving accident? Call our attorneys at (828) 414-8614.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Don’t wait to get the help you need. Call River Run Law to hold the drunk driver accountable. With nearly 30 years of combined legal experience, we have the knowledge and resources to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our team understands the immense physical, emotional, and financial hardship a drunk driving accident can cause.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Where You Can Find Our Richmond Office

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Brooke Alexander

Brooke graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brooke worked for five years in private practice with a law firm specializing in insurance defense litigation before becoming the trial litigator for Allstate Insurance Company in the metro Richmond area.

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