Fighting For Your Rights

Attorneys Providing Aggressive Advocacy For Drunk Driving Accident Victims

Despite decades of increasingly strict criminal laws and public awareness campaigns, drunk driving remains a major problem throughout the United States. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 32% of all the Commonwealth’s traffic fatalities in 2019 were related to alcohol-impaired driving. If you or your loved one is a victim of a drunk driving accident, you may have the right to seek compensation by filing a civil suit.

The attorneys at Sethi & Sledd, PLLC, have extensive experience pursuing claims against drunk drivers. Depending on the egregiousness of the drunk driver’s conduct, that driver may be liable for punitive damages. Our firm believes in the importance of obtaining punitive damages as a means of punishing and deterring drunk drivers and the insurance companies who choose to insure them. If you are injured by a drunk driver, we will fight tirelessly to obtain compensation for your injuries and to punish and deter drunk drivers so that no one else has to endure what you’ve been through.

DUI Accident Injuries Can Be Catastrophic

With most other types of car accidents, the at-fault driver tries to lessen the damage of an impending crash by swerving or slamming on their brakes. Because drunk drivers have so little self-awareness and control, however, the injuries in DUI accidents are likely to be catastrophic for occupants of other vehicles.

Common injuries include:

  • Damage to the neck and back/spinal cord
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis (paraplegia and quadriplegia)
  • Soft-tissue injuries (which can result in severe and chronic pain)
  • Burns
  • Broken bones, bruises and skin abrasions
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological trauma

Sadly, these accidents are often fatal. In such cases, representatives of the deceased victims can pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver.

Criminal Charges Do Not Limit Your Ability To File A Civil Suit

When drunk drivers cause an accident that injures or kills others, they deserve to face criminal consequences. But criminal charges do almost nothing to compensate victims financially. That’s where the civil court system comes in.

Even when the drunk driver has been criminally charged, you can pursue a separate civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. And, in the unlikely event that the driver is criminally acquitted, that outcome doesn’t necessarily prevent you from being awarded compensation. The standard of guilt is lower in civil court than in criminal court, so the driver may be considered civilly liable despite evading criminal punishment.

Compensation For Your Injuries And Losses

Clients often ask us what their case is worth. But because every case is unique, we won’t know the answer to that question until we dig into the details. We can help you seek compensation for all of your injuries and losses, including:

  • Medical expenses (present and future)
  • Lost wages from time spent unable to work
  • Loss of earning capacity if the accident left you with a disability
  • Damage to your vehicle and other property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability and or disfigurement

In a wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs can seek compensation for many of the damages listed above, as well as additional damages related to their loved one’s death, like funeral and burial costs.

You May Be Able To Seek Punitive Damages

In most personal injury lawsuits, victims can seek compensatory damages (like those mentioned above) but are generally not able to seek punitive damages – damages meant to punish the person who caused the harm. Drunk driving cases are often a notable exception.

In Virginia, an injury victim can seek punitive damages if they can show that the at-fault party acted with “willful and wanton negligence.” In a drunk driving accident case, a jury might be convinced to impose punitive damages if the drunk driver’s behavior was particularly shocking, like driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.15% or higher.

Punitive damages are not guaranteed, and Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350,000. However, they may be available in your drunk driving case.

Tell Us Your Story And Learn How We Can Help

It is important to know your rights and legal options after a drunk driving accident. The attorneys at Sethi & Sledd, PLLC, are ready to help you seek the compensation you need and deserve. To get started, call us at 703-214-9671. You can also reach out online. From our Reston office, we help injured clients and their loved ones throughout Northern Virginia, including Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, as well as Washington, D.C.