It is no secret that drunk driving is one of the most dangerous activities on the road. More dangerous even than drag racing, drunk driving causes hundreds of severe collisions on Washington State roads each year. Many of these collisions result in serious injuries and even fatalities. In 2017, for example, there were 178 “alcohol-impaired driving fatalities” on roads in the state of Washington.
Even though DUI (also known as DWI) accidents have a higher frequency of fatalities, the majority of alcohol-related collisions result in serious injury rather than death. In both cases, the victims of DUI accidents (or their families) could be entitled to compensation by law. What that compensation is, and who pays it, can be the subject of a long and drawn-out legal battle. If you, a loved one, or someone you know has sustained injuries or perished because of a DUI or DWI accident, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to represent your case before the court.
Lawyer for Victims of DUI Accidents in Bellingham, WA
Drunk driving is an unfortunate reality of roads in all states across the country, and Washington is not immune. There are hundreds of drunk driving incidents on state roads and highways each year, although the statistics seem to increase or decrease each year with little predictability. Injuries and fatalities are the most common result of DUI accidents, with hundreds of people sustaining a serious injury and families suffering the wrongful death of a loved one due to the violence of the impact.
At PNW Trial Lawyers, it is our mission to provide our clients with reliable, helpful, goal-oriented legal services. We understand that victims and victims’ families come to us to seek out what they need to try to restore normalcy to their lives, and we treat the trust given to us with the utmost respect and seriousness. Our team of experienced and devoted lawyers will work with you and the facts of the case to pursue what you are entitled to. There can be no new normal without making things right, and our legal team is committed to right the wrongs our clients and their families have experienced. We will work tirelessly to advocate for you in and out of court.
Contact us today at (360) 483-5201 to schedule a free consultation and strategy session. PNW Trial Lawyers serves clients in Bellingham, Everett, Mount Vernon, and many other cities in the surrounding area.
Overview of DUI/DWI in Washington
- What is Drunk Driving in Washington State?
- Dram Shop Liability
- Why Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?
- Additional Resources
What is Drunk Driving in Washington State?
There is a country-wide standard for determining if an individual is intoxicated or not. Across the board, if an individual test at a 0.08% blood-alcohol count (BAC) or higher, they are considered to be drunk driving. In the state of Washington, there are heightened penalties for going over a certain BAC limit (>0.15%), including an increased jail sentence and heftier fines.
All states, including Washington, have an ‘implied consent’ law. In other words, by accepting a driver’s license in Washington, the driver is consenting to a blood or breath test in the event of a DUI arrest. To prove that an individual was drunk driving during an accident, there are specific tests that must be conducted either at the scene of the collision or at a police station.
When the police officer arrives at the scene of the accident, he/she may offer the suspected drunk driver the option to take a roadside breathalyzer test. If they refuse, they will be taken to the police station where they will be subjected to tests. If they are resistant, they may be charged with an enhanced form of DUI due to their refusal to submit to a breath or blood test.
Dram Shop Liability
While the dram shop laws in the state of Washington textually refer to serving minors too much alcohol, a 2004 legal case, Barrett v. Lucky Seven Saloon, expanded the scope of the law to include over-serving adult patrons as well. The purpose of these laws is to create a means by which victims of a DUI accident can sue the person(s) or establishment responsible for over-serving alcohol to the drunk driver. This can be especially helpful if the drunk driver does not survive the accident.
These laws are in place to protect drivers on the road and to make sure that establishments with licenses to serve alcohol are not being irresponsible with their customers. By law, all license-holding establishments are required to train bartenders in strategies to determine if a customer is too inebriated or not. Because so much is potentially at stake, it is in their best interest if they take the requirement seriously.
Suing an establishment with dram shop laws can be a complicated process that involves an in-depth analysis of the circumstances that brought about the accident, as well as the compiling of information about the driver, the business, and the employee(s) responsible. It is wise to consult an experienced personal injury attorney if you elect to pursue a dram shop lawsuit.
Why Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?
Driving is risky by nature. Thousands of tons of hulking metal zooming past each other is inherently dangerous, and sometimes that potential for catastrophe will cross over into reality. Often times that happens because of drunk driving. In the aftermath of a DUI accident, figuring out how you are going to pursue the compensation you need is the least of your concerns.
The stress that comes with recovering from a DUI accident is overwhelming, and going at a lawsuit without the right legal help can add heaps of additional stress to the pile. By obtaining legal assistance from a capable, experienced personal injury attorney, you can lighten the already weighty burden on your shoulders and focus on healing and restoring your life back to normalcy.
MADD Washington Branch – This is a link to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website, which compiles a great deal of useful information for learning about drunk driving statistics, laws, and useful advice on issues related to DUI accidents.
Revised Code of Washington 66.44.200 – This is a link to the official website housing the Revised Code of Washington. This page provides the official state law regarding the sale of alcohol to already intoxicated persons. While not necessary, knowing the precise wording of the laws can provide a better understanding of the way the law is enforced and how it might impact your case.
Attorney for Victims of Drunk Driving in Whatcom County, Washington
Securing the compensation you need to recover after a DUI accident is difficult. There are many legal hurdles involved in the process, and on top of those, sometimes, the other party is entirely uncooperative. Depending on the circumstances of your case, differing legal approaches may be required to increase the chances of the right outcome. Entrust your case to a team of highly experienced, highly motivated personal injury lawyers can make the biggest difference in obtaining what you deserve.
At PNW Trial Lawyers, our legal team has worked for years to combat insurance companies to get what our clients are entitled to. We’ve assisted countless clients in developing, building, and executing strong cases in court, and we take pride in our capability to provide the right kind of legal service to fit each client’s unique needs. If you, a loved one, or an acquaintance has sustained catastrophic injuries in an auto accident because of a drunk driver in Whatcom County, Skagit County, or Snohomish County, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (360) 483-5201 to schedule a free consultation.