Two Yakima residents were injured recently when their Honda was rear-ended by a pickup truck on State Route 821. The driver of the truck, a 24-year-old Ellensburg man, was charged with driving under the influence, the Yakima Herald reported.
At the time of the car accident, the Honda driver had slowed down to turn left in to Big Pines Campground. Both the driver and a female passenger were taken to a nearby hospital with unknown injuries. Thankfully, three children in the car were not injured.
Washington State Drunk Driving Accidents
Although monumental efforts have been made by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and government agencies to warn drivers about the risks and penalties of driving under the influence, many people continue to drink and drive. Consider the following:
- One-third of all drivers who are arrested and convicted of driving under the influence, or the equivalent, are repeat offenders.
- In 2010 alone, over 1.4 million people were arrested for drinking and driving.
- In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Out of those children, 131, or 62 percent, were riding with the drunk driver.
- Adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times in 2010. That is almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day.
- On average, 28 people die each day in the United States from drunk driving accidents
- On average, one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
- An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest.
How Can a Victim of A Drunk Driving Accident Pursue Compensation?
Over the past few decades, individual states have cracked down on drunk drivers by revising criminal statutes and enacting harsher penalties. In the State of Washington, a first-time conviction for driving under the influence carries a potential penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Repeat offenders face much stiffer penalties, including higher fines and lengthier incarceration. A person convicted of drunk driving may also be required to use an ignition interlock device that tests the driver’s breath for alcohol before the vehicle will start.
While stiffer criminal penalties are to be applauded, they do nothing to help a victim who has suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in drunk driving accident. A criminal court focuses on punishing the offender for breaking the law, not compensating a victim who has been injured. For that, a victim must turn to the civil court system.
The victim of a drunk driving accident may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. A surviving family member may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
To receive compensation, a victim must show that the defendant was negligent. Negligence is a complicated legal concept; however, driving while intoxicated is generally considered to be negligence, meaning the victim is one step closer to compensation.
Consult a Washington State Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a Washington State drunk driving accident, don’t depend on the criminal law system to provide you with compensation. If you want to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, you must take the initiative by talking to an experienced drunk driving car accident attorney about filing a civil lawsuit against the driver. The Washington State drunk driving car accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling 866-972-0493 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.