Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances are an obvious danger to anyone else sharing the road. According to the Center for Disease Control, one person is killed every 53 minutes by a drunk driver – totaling almost 10,000 deaths per year. Drunk drivers are punished harshly in our criminal system. The criminal penalties, however, do not make you or your family whole for the medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent disability or wrongful death resulting from a drunk driver’s negligence.
Washington law does not allow for punitive damages – meaning that a drunk driver’s negligence will be treated no differently than any other driver who admits to causing the accident. Your recovery will be limited to the drunk driver’s insurance coverage or assets, which may not be substantial or sufficient to cover the extent of damages.
It is important to investigate and find out how the drunk driver ended up behind the wheel and became too drunk to drive. In Washington, bars and restaurants can be found liable for overserving people who then go on to drink and drive and cause an accident. This type of liability is called Dram Shop Liability and is created by Washington law.
If the person who injured you or your loved ones was drinking and driving, it is very important to immediately contact us. We will initiate an investigation and fact-finding mission to find out as much as we can about how the accident occurred and how the drunk driver became impaired. As time passes, this information may become more and more difficult to obtain or ascertain. Witnesses who were with the person at the bar or restaurant may have valuable information. The police reports and police videos at the scene may give us greater insight into what happened.
If you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver, do not rush to settle with the drunk driver’s insurance company. You may destroy your ability to pursue the bar or restaurant owner if the driver just came from a restaurant where he or she was over-served. Contact our office for a free consultation regarding your drunk driving accident.
811 First Ave Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98104