While many Virginians revel in the holiday spirit with friends and family, some also celebrate with a different kind of spirits - and this may lead to drunk driving. The demonstrated increase in drunk driving over the holiday season means road users are placed in greater danger during this stretch. It is important to consult with a Roanoke auto accident attorney as soon as possible after sustaining any injuries resulting from a DUI accident. Injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for injuries by a person whose negligence caused the car accident in which the injuries were sustained.
The Holiday Drunk Driving Increase - And What Roanoke is Doing to Protect Residents
According to WSLS, drinking and driving tends to increase between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This is based upon a study by SCRAM systems, which found that a higher proportion of vehicle deaths were caused by drunk driving during the holiday season than other times of the year.
WSLS also reports that Roanoke City Police are increasing holiday patrols in order to target drunk driving in the area. These patrols will focus on areas which are most likely to experience drunk driving: Downtown Roanoke, Williamson Road and Orange Avenue. The choices were made based upon information gleaned from patrols in prior years.
The Legal Rights of a Drunk Driving Injury Victim
When a person is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, he or she has legal rights through both the criminal and civil court systems. Drunk driving is a criminal offense under Section 18.2-266 of the Code of Virginia. Drunk drivers are subject to criminal convictions, fines and court fees, jail time, community service, substance abuse screening and treatment, and suspension of their driving privileges. Because of this, a victim of drunk driving has rights under the Virginia Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act. These include the right to restitution; notice of court dates and other court services; and the right to submit a victim impact statement to the court. Victims of felonies also have the right to consult with the prosecutor about the terms of a proposed plea agreement.
In addition to these rights through the criminal court, drunk driving victims also have the right to seek compensation through the civil court process. A plaintiff has the right to file a lawsuit and demand a trial by jury. Filing a lawsuit also protects a plaintiff’s right to obtain evidence by deposing witnesses or issuing subpoenas for documents. Not every victim must file a lawsuit. Many injury victims are able to negotiate settlements with the drunk driver’s insurance carrier and obtain compensation for their injuries without the intervention of the civil court. Nonetheless, it is important for drunk driving injury victims to know their rights in the civil court process and protect these rights in order to facilitate effective settlement negotiations.
Your legal rights can be invoked to pursue effective compensation for injuries caused by a drunk driver. Let a Roanoke auto accident attorney guide you through the legal process so you can focus on healing from your injuries.