Drunk drivers are responsible for many deaths and severe injuries throughout the state of West Virginia. No matter how many laws are passed or what penalties a drunk driver could face, certain individuals will still recklessly choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk or intoxicated by drugs.
These criminally negligent drivers can destroy lives, as well as leave families in shock and suffering unimaginable loss when a loved one is severely injured or killed in a drunk driving accident. Drunk drivers must be held accountable by law for their actions. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our drunk driving accident attorneys are well versed on personal injury law, and are committed to helping victims and their families pursue the maximum compensation for damages, including punitive damages when warranted. We are dedicated to fighting to protect our clients’ rights, and fighting for compensation and justice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 30 people across the country are killed each day, or one person every 51 minutes, in collisions as a result of alcohol-impaired drivers. In total, almost one-third of all vehicle-related fatalities in the U.S. involve a driver who was impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident.
Drunk driving is a serious problem in West Virginia as well. According to MADD’s most recent year of reporting, 27.4 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities in West Virginia involved an individual with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. In the 2014 alcohol-related crashes involving a driver with a BAC of 0.01 or higher, 757 people sustained some level of injury.
Statistics gathered by West Virginia Department of Transportation reveal that 61 people as of April 24, 2015, have already lost their lives in 2015 in vehicle-related accidents on West Virginia roadways. As of April 23, 2015, 2,513 people have been arrested for DUI. While accident fatalities and DUI statistics over the past few years reveal an improving condition, it also indicates the need for more to be done to protect travelers and make the roads a safer place.
|2015 (as of 4/24/15)||61||2,513|
When a negligent driver causes an accident by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol, he or she must be held legally and financially liable. Drunk driving accident victims may be eligible to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, loss of past and future income, the costs of rehabilitation, as well as pain and suffering (loss of quality of life) they have been forced to endure. Civil lawsuits are separate legal actions from any criminal charges a drunk driver will be facing.
West Virginia is a comparative negligence state, meaning the amount of compensation a victim is eligible to receive may be reduced if it is determined he or she was partially at fault for causing the accident. As long as the victim is less than 50 percent responsible for the accident, damages can be sought, but the value of the damages will be reduced based on the percentage of fault. For example, if the court finds a victim is 30 percent at fault in a drunk driving accident, he or she will only be eligible to recover a maximum of 70 percent of the awarded damages.
In cases where an individual is killed in a drunk driving accident in West Virginia, family members may have the right to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death civil lawsuit. According to §55-7-6 of the Code of West Virginia, surviving loved ones may be eligible to pursue damages including, but not limited to:
In some drunk driving accident cases, the victim’s family may be able to seek punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Criminal charges can also be filed against a drunk driver, as well as any other party who may have either contributed to the driver’s intoxication or neglected to take action to prevent the driver from driving drunk.
If you or a loved family member has been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, we urge you to contact a drunk driving accident attorney at our firm immediately. We will carefully manage every detail of your claim, and help you to fight for the justice you deserve.
In instances when an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident results in catastrophic injuries, the issue of compensation is of the utmost concern. The long-term treatment and care, both medical and rehabilitative, as well as reduced earning capacity of the victim must all be addressed in the claim.
These are emotional cases for the family, and our legal team understands the difficulties these legal issues often present. We take the problem off your plate, so you can focus on caring for your injuries and health, or for your loved one, while we do the hard work to get your claim or lawsuit resolved. Our team cares about providing the best legal help for drunk driving accident victims, and we know how to use West Virginia drunk driving laws to your advantage.