Lawyers for impaired driving accident lawsuits in Virginia
If you were hit by a drunk or drugged driver, we can help.
Virginia’s penalties for impaired driving are some of the harshest in the country. Despite this, DUI (driving under the influence) accidents still happen often here in the Commonwealth.
More than 8,000 alcohol-related crashes happened in Virginia in 2013 alone, resulting in more than 5,200 injuries and 250 deaths. In 2016, the number dropped from 8,000 to 7,500. Better, but not good enough!
Opioid influence – the new crisis
Now there is a new danger on our roads. Like most other states, Virginia is facing an opioid addiction crisis. Opioids are a class of drugs that include morphine, fentanyl, and codeine, as well as heroin. The opioids being abused in the current crisis include prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, which are highly addictive. These medications may be legally prescribed for pain, but with prolonged use, the patient builds up a tolerance and needs higher doses to have an effect. Opioids have also become a popular street drug, resulting in multiple deaths due to overdoses. In fact, a recent issue of Time magazine reported that opioids are now responsible for one in five young adult deaths!
Not many statistics are available about opioids’ role in car accidents yet, but Forbes has reported that, between 1995 and 2015, the number of drivers killed in car accidents who tested positive for prescription opioids rose from one percent to seven percent. Opioids are known to impair cognitive functions and cause drowsiness, so drivers under the influence of such drugs are bound to be a danger to other motorists, pedestrians, and themselves.
Who can help you?
We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys are always deeply saddened when a client comes to us after they’ve been hurt or lost a family member in an accident with an impaired driver. That’s why we do our best to reach out and share helpful information with our community. We want to keep you out of Riverside Walter Reed Hospital - or another hospital in our area - if an accident can be prevented.
But we always want you to know that you have rights, and that our Virginia car wreck attorneys will defend your rights. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a collision caused by an impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
To find out more about filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against an impaired driver, call us at (804) 413-6777. We’ll meet with you for free to discuss your options. If you choose to hire our legal team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, it will cost you nothing upfront. We only get paid if we achieve a successful outcome in your case. That’s our no-fee guarantee.
How can I avoid impaired drivers in Eastern Virginia?
We wish we could tell you. While normal traffic accidents spike in October and November in Virginia, impaired driving accident rates remain steady all year round.
In Gloucester County alone, 50 alcohol-related crashes happened in 2015 (according to the most recent data), and in the last few years, most of them took place on Route 17.
Is there anything you can do? Yes. Here are some common-sense tips for protecting yourself from drunk or impaired drivers on the road:
- Buckle your seat belt!
- Don’t drive late at night.
- Be especially careful on "drinking holidays," like Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, and New Year’s Eve.
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles.
- If you see a vehicle driving strangely, get away from it. Pull over and call the police to report the suspicious behavior.
Always promote sober driving among your friends and relatives, and do NOT tolerate any attempts to drive while impaired. Remember, it could be your loved ones on the road with impaired drivers.
If I’m involved in wreck with an impaired driver, won’t he or she already be punished?
If police come to the scene of your accident, they can test the other driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Any amount over 0.08 percent means there should be a criminal charge of DUI (driving under the influence) against that driver. That case will be handled in criminal court, and a drunk driver faces up to 12 months in jail if convicted. Although Virginia does require that a convicted drunk driver pay fines up to $2,500, that money will not go to help the victim.
To get the money you need to recover for your injuries and losses, you’ll have to file a claim in civil court.
A DUI personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a regular car accident claim, but with a big exception. In both cases, you can be awarded compensation for medical bills, lost wages, permanent injury, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and more.
However, in a drunk driving lawsuit, you can also be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to not only punish the drunk driver, but also send a message to the community that such reckless behavior will not be tolerated.
When are punitive damages handed out?
If the intoxicated driver has a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, a judge or jury can award punitive damages. Punitive damages can also be awarded if the intoxicated driver refused to take a sobriety test after the accident. Punitive damages are a big help in Virginia DUI accident lawsuits, because of the high cap on the amount that can be awarded: $350,000. Another advantage of punitive damages is they cannot be removed by the defendant if he files for bankruptcy.
If you or a family member has been involved in an accident with an impaired driver, we are deeply sorry, and we understand what you’re going through. No one should have to live through that nightmare.
If you need legal assistance, GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys will listen to the details of your case and give you free advice. If you want us to help you, we can do that too. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (804) 413-6777.
Recent Auto Accident Case Results
DISCLAIMER. Each case is handled based on the individual facts and circumstances of the case. These results are NOT indicative of the outcome of any potential case. All case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case, and these case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by our firm.
- $600,000 Compensation - Man was killed in a drunk driving crash and wife sustained injuries in the accident.
$100,000 compensation - Man was injured when his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver.
See more case results here.
- The opioid crisis in Virginia: what you need to know
- The new alcohol? Drugs cause driver impairment and wrecks
- Drunk driving IS reckless driving for teens
- Buzzed driving is drunk driving: Tips for driving safely during the holidays
- Ken Gibson shares his car accident experience
- John Singleton: “I’ve been there, just like other accident victims”
- Law partners Gibson, Singleton oppose each other in drunk driving “mock sentencing trial” for Middlesex teen
- Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in VIRGINIA
It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.