Although monumental efforts have been made by both public and private organizations over the last few decades to make the public aware of the hazards of drinking and driving, driving under the influence remains a leading cause of serious traffic accidents. The consequences of a drunk driving accident often leave the victim with a lifetime of pain and suffering, or a family without a loved one. The Yakima drunk driving accident lawyers at the Mariano Morales Law Firm understand that a DUI accident can be catastrophic for victims and their families. We are here to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, or have lost a family member to a drunk driving accident, contact the Washington State drunk driving accident attorneys at the Mariano Morales Law Firm for a free consultation to find out what legal options you have. Call us now toll free at (509) 972-0493 or fill out our online contact form.
The Mariano Morales Law Firm represents people in Yakima, the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco and Kennewick) and Wenatchee, as well as Grant and Chelan counties.
Washington State Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), Washington State ranks in the upper third for alcohol-impaired driving fatalities as a percentage of total highway deaths. While public awareness campaigns across the country have brought attention to the dangers of drinking and driving, the number of fatalities caused by intoxicated drivers has remained virtually unchanged in the past 10 years. NTHSA statistics tell us that the number of fatalities in alcohol-related accidents went down by only 1 percent nationwide from 1998 to 2007.
Nationwide, one person is killed in a drunk driving accident every hour, and someone is injured in an alcohol-related crash every minute. NHTSA statistics indicate that you have a one-in-three chance of being the victim of a drunk driving accident during your lifetime. In 2010, there were 210 alcohol-related driving fatalities in Washington State alone. During that same year, there were almost 35,000 arrests across Washington State for driving under the influence.
As soon as alcohol enters the bloodstream, it starts to physiologically change how humans think and react, making drinking and driving a potentially lethal combination. Alcohol slows down a person’s reaction time and may have a sedative-like effect when enough is consumed. Both of these create an enormous risk for the occupants of the vehicle driven by the intoxicated driver and for all the other motorists on the road.
Numerous studies have shown the direct relationship between driving while intoxicated and the increased risk of being involved in an accident. Although the numbers vary somewhat, even the most conservative of these studies show that a driver whose blood-alcohol level is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent is at least five times more likely to be involved in an accident than a driver who has not consumed any alcohol.
Criminal Charges Versus A Drunk Driving Civil Lawsuit
Although driving under the influence is a crime in Washington State, the penalties a drunk driver faces as a result of being convicted for driving under the influence do not address the financial loss faced by the victim of a drunk driving accident. A criminal prosecution is aimed at punishing the defendant for breaking the law. A civil personal injury lawsuit, on the other hand, attempts to compensate a victim for the physical and emotional injuries suffered as a result of a drunk driving accident. Likewise, a wrongful death lawsuit is intended to compensate a survivor for the loss of a loved one who was killed in a drunk driving accident.
Even if the drunk driver was driving without liability insurance as required by Washington State law, it might be possible to recover compensation from other sources. The owner of the establishment where the driver was drinking, for example, could be liable pursuant to Washington State’s “Dram Shop” laws. You might also be able to claim benefits under your auto insurance policy’s uninsured / underinsured (UM / UIM) provisions. Our lawyers can help you recover all of the compensation you deserve from all available sources.
Hurt By A Drunk Driver? Get Help From Our Yakima Lawyers Now
If you have been the victim of a Washington State drunk driving accident, or have lost a loved one as a result of a drunk driving accident, contact the Yakima drunk driving accident attorneys at the Mariano Morales Law Firm today for a free initial consultation. We can be reached by calling (509) 972-0493 or by using our online contact form.