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Seattle Premises Liability Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > The Path To Legal Recovery After A Drunk Driving Accident

The Path To Legal Recovery After A Drunk Driving Accident


No matter what we do to stay safe on the roads, we are still at risk from collisions with drunk or impaired drivers. Washington reports over 200 traffic fatalities each year caused by drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. Many thousands more are injured each year and face physical and financial pain due to injuries and lost work.

When these accidents happen, surviving drivers and their families need to know what their options are, and how to hold the drunk driver accountable. The State of Washington holds drunk drivers responsible through harsh criminal penalties. Even for a first-time offender, impaired drivers can face up to a year in jail, $5,000 in fines, and suspension of their Washington driver’s license. Some criminal penalties can include restitution to the victim and crime victim fees. However, these financial penalties do not truly cover a victim’s costs, pain, and suffering.

While victims in a drunk-driving accident have rights and recognition through the criminal court system, they also have important legal rights in a civil claim. This includes the right to financial compensation from the at-fault driver. A car crash victim or their family can win a civil suit against an impaired driver even if that driver is not ultimately convicted in a criminal case.

With the help of an experienced Seattle drunk driving attorney, victims in a drunk driving accident can develop a case strategy to obtain financial recovery from the other driver, their insurance company, or both.

Through a civil lawsuit, an accident victim can seek payment for any of the following:

  • Medical bills and expenses;
  • Costs associated with rehabilitation and therapy;
  • Lost wages, including lost potential income;
  • General costs associated with pain, suffering, and loss of companionship;
  • Funeral expenses in the event that the victim passed away due to the accident.

To succeed in court, a plaintiff will need to demonstrate the following to a jury:

  1. That the defendant had a duty of care to others on the road;
  2. That the defendant breached that duty by consuming alcohol or drugs and getting behind the wheel;
  3. That the driver’s recklessness led to an accident;
  4. That the driver’s actions led the other driver (and any passengers) to suffer damages as a result.

It is useful to remember that very few personal injury lawsuits related to drunk driving actually go to trial in front of a jury. More often, with the assistance of skilled legal help, a car accident victim can obtain a full and fair financial settlement at the pre-trial stages of a case. Attorneys and insurance companies will often negotiate a resolution that fairly addresses the victim’s pain and suffering along with their out-of-pocket costs.

Our Seattle Personal Injury Attorneys Have Helped Many Victims Get Full and Fair Compensation After a Drunk Driving Accident

 A drunk driving accident can be unthinkably tragic, even causing severe life-long injuries or death. If a driver suffers any type of injury, or a family loses a loved one because another driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs, they should pursue all legal options. Our experienced and compassionate Seattle personal injury attorneys at the Emerald Law Group are here to help and fully evaluate your legal claim. To learn more and get started today, visit our firm online or call for a free confidential consultation at 206-823-0792. Our legal team will be glad to answer any questions you might have and help you take the next step forward.


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