The summer travel season is among the deadliest times of the year for drunk-driving crashes. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports drunk-driving crashes claimed 248 lives last year and injured more than 4,400. Intoxicated driving ranked behind only speeding as the deadliest driving behavior.
Driving Tests has published a number of summer safe-driving tips designed to reduce your chances of being involved in a collision with a drunk driver:
- Buckle up: Wearing your seat belt is the best move you can make to reduce injury risks in the event of a collision.
- Don't tailgate: Increasing follow distance always allows for more reaction time. This can be particularly important when you suspect you are following someone who is driving while intoxicated.
- Be careful at intersections: Intersections are already the most dangerous place for traffic crashes. Drunk drivers are even more likely to be involved in a crash at these locations.
- Stay home at night, if possible: Drivers on the road late at night face the highest risks of encountering a drunk driver. If you need to be on the road at night, stay alert.
Liability for Drunk-Driving Collisions in Southwest Virginia
A Virginia auto accident attorney experienced in handling such cases will first look to determine all of the available insurance coverage. Because drunk-driving collisions typically result in very serious or fatal injury to multiple victims, identifying all at-fault parties and associated insurance coverage will often be a complex process.
Virginia auto insurance law requires motorists carry a minimum of just $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. In the wake of a serious collision, emergency medical care may easily exceed $25,000. In cases with multiple victims, a policy limit of $50,000 will be wholly inadequate. Fortunately, there is more you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Virginia law § 38.2-2206 requires motorists be offered underinsured motorist (UIM)/Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage but does not require the motorist to carry it. This is some of the best coverage you can buy, as it will protect you if you are injured in a motor-vehicle collision with an at-fault driver who lacks insurance, or lacks enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries. This coverage will even protect you as a passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian. UM/UIM coverage is fairly inexpensive, and it potentially provides your family with hundreds of thousands of tax-exempt dollars to pay for your expenses in the event of a serious crash.
Identifying Liable Parties after a Virginia DUI Crash
Identifying all at-fault parties and associated insurance coverage will be vital to making a financial recovery in such cases. Unfortunately, Virginia is one of only a few states without a Dram Shop law. Dram Shop laws hold vendors (like restaurants and bars) responsible for serving intoxicated patrons who cause a traffic accident or otherwise injure a victim. Some states also have social host responsibility, which can make private party hosts liable in similar situations. The absence of such laws in Virginia makes recovery more difficult after a crash caused by a drunk driver, but an experienced attorney knows how to find ways to get you the compensation you need.
In the event of an accident with a drunk driver, you should contact Davis, Davis, Davis & Davis, PC and find out what we can do for you.