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Drunk Driving Accident | Car Accident AttorneyWashington, D.C. Drunk Driving Car Accidents

If you have been hurt in a car accident, chances are you are incredibly stressed, and have more than enough to deal with already. Being hurt in a car accident is a very frustrating time. However, nothing is more mentally damaging then when the collision is the result of the driver who decided to take his own life in his hands, as well as yours, without your consent. That is what happens when a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car, and endangers every motorist on the road.

You do not have to feel powerless after being hurt in a car accident caused by a drunk driver! You can hold that driver accountable for his or her reckless and negligent actions. Call an experienced Washington DC Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer at Blaszkow Legal, and we will begin fighting to get you the compensation that you deserve. Call 703-879-5910 and learn how our team can help fight for you.

What is Considered Drunk Driving in Washington DC?

There are a lot of words that people hear, that have different meanings in different states. We are going to discuss the way the rules and the laws work in Washington DC and upon District of Columbia roadways. These distinctions are not true in every jurisdiction, and are only true among cases that happened in the limits of the city.

  1. Driving Under the Influence, or DUI. DUI in Washington DC specifically means when a person has a blood alcohol content that is 0.07% or lower, but is still showing certain signs and clues of impairment during a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) that is given by a trained police officer.

  2. Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI. DWI is a specific law in Washington DC that means that the driver's blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. This measurement is often done through a breath test, or a device called a PBT (portable breath test). It can then be confirmed by a certified device called a breathalyzer, or through a blood draw. In certain circumstances, a urine test can also be used.

  3. Buzzed Driving. Some people drive after one or two drinks, and do not have an appreciable blood alcohol content. However, response times can still be impaired, making the buzzed driver just as dangerous as the drunk driver.

  4. Marijuana Use While Driving. Marijuana is recreationally legal (decriminalized) in Washington, DC, but it is still not legal to drive while suffering from its effects. In fact, using marijuana within a vehicle is also illegal.

  5. The drinking age in Washington DC. The drinking age in Washington DC is 21. Anyone who is drinking any amount of alcohol under the age of 21 is violating the law, and can be charged with DUI.

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Drunk Driving Accident | Car Accident AttorneyMost Common Kinds of Drunk Driving Car Accidents in DC

Drunk driving crashes can happen in almost any way, because drunk drivers are impaired in almost every way! A drunk driver has significantly impaired reaction time, and this relates to every facet of operating a motor vehicle. A drunk driver may not see, and react to, stop lights, stop signs, other cars, and pedestrians.

Some of the most common accidents involving drunk drivers include:

  • Failing to yield

  • Failing to obey traffic lights

  • Failing to obey stop signs

  • Speeding

  • Rollover crashes

  • Intersection crashes

  • Hit and Run

Common Injuries Sustained in Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving car accidents can often be difficult for people to read about on the news, because it is not uncommon for a drunk driver to walk away uninjured, while an innocent motorist is often seriously hurt. Those hurt in these collisions often suffer some similar injuries (although every crash can be and is different):

  • Concussions

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Damage to internal organs

  • Broken bones

  • Sprains and strains of muscles

  • Cuts and lacerations

  • Bruises and contusions

  • Traumatic amputation of limbs

  • Damage to eyes from debris

  • and even Death

Who are the Negligent Parties in a Drunk Driving Accident in DC?

After being hurt in a Washington DC car accident caused by a drunk driver, you have the ability to file a claim for your injuries, and other damages. You have the right to pursue recovery from more sources than just the at-fault driver, depending on the facts of the crash. Different parties, including companies and entities, may be responsible. In order to determine that, you have to speak to an experienced drunk driving car accident lawyer, so we can begin investigating all of the facts surrounding the crash.

  • The drunk driver. If the negligent driver was impaired, you have the right to file a claim against that driver. This doesn't matter if the impairment was .08%, and resulted in a DWI, or .07% or lower, and resulted in a DUI charge. You can still pursue a case against a negligent intoxicated motorist.

  • The employer or company. If a drunk driver is at work, and was acting within the scope of his or her employment, then you may also have a claim against the company that the drunk driver was working for. An employer is presumed to be responsible for the actions of its employees, under a legal doctrine known as "respondeat superior." Any negligence that can be attributed to the at fault party, also is imputed to the employer. Here however the employee has to be within the scope of his employment. If the employee was not within the scope of the employment, then this may not apply.

  • The vehicle owner. In order for you to have a claim against the owner of a vehicle, if different than a driver, you have to be able to claim negligent entrustment. That means that the vehicle owner knew or should have known that the drunk driver was not safe to drive. Or, otherwise had a propensity for negligent and/or reckless actions. This is a very fact-specific claim.

  • The alcohol-serving establishment. If a drunk driver causes an accident and hurts someone, and the establishment knew or should have known that the person was not safe to leave, and they continued to provide alcohol after the person was visibly intoxicated, you may have a claim against that establishment as well. This is commonly called a "dram shop law," and it is enshrined in DC Code 25-781.

Each of the parties that is identified has to be researched and investigated very thoroughly. It is not enough to simply make allegations. The burden of proof is always on you, the person bringing the claim. That is what an experienced car accident lawyer does. At Blaszkow Legal, we begin investigating right away!

Your Claim for Compensation After a Drunk Driving Car Accident

After a Washington DC drunk driving car accident, you have the right to file a claim for your damages against all parties who are negligent. But what are your damages? Well, damages is a broad and expansive term that is supposed to take into account all of them anyways that the collision has impacted your life. Damages are made up of elements, which are broken down into two categories. Economic damages are black and white. They are clearly defined through written evidence. Non-economic damages are more ephemeral, and have to be proven, all things are testimony. The most common example of non-economic damages is pain and suffering..

After a Washington DC car accident, you can file a claim for:

  • Current and future medical expenses

  • Current and future time lost from work

  • Loss of earning capacity

  • Pain and suffering

  • Humiliation and inconvenience

  • Emotional distress

  • Impairments in your activities of the daily living

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Permanent injuries

  • Scarring

  • Disfigurement

  • Wrongful death

Statute of Limitations on Washington DC Car Accident Claims

Washington DC law imposes a three-year statute of limitations on all personal injury cases that happen within the district. This includes drunk driving accidents. That means that you have three years from the date of the crash to file the underlying lawsuit.

You should never wait 3 years to get a lawyer. There is a lot of casework to be done, and investigations to be completed, before an experienced lawyer will file a lawsuit. You never want to let time pass, because if you do, evidence can be lost to history.

Also, you have to keep in mind that DC is small, and the drunk driver may not live within the city. While the statute of limitations against Maryland defendants is also 3 years, it is only 2 years for Virginia defendants!

Seek Help From a Washington DC Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

After a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may find that your life has been turned upside down through no fault of your own. You are suffering enough. Do not suffer alone, and do not think that you cannot get the justice that you deserve. You have rights, but you need someone in your corner to fight for you.

Speak to one of our attorneys at Blaszkow Legal today, and we will begin to fight hard for you, to hold the negligent drunk driver accountable for his or her actions.

Call today for a free consultation - 703-879-5910

Get Justice with Joe!

Joe Blaszkow is a graduate of Georgetown Law, and has made representing injured people his top priority. He knows that the insurance companies are out only for themselves, and will use the DMV's contributory negligence laws against unrepresented parties, and is determined to fight to get injured clients the compensation they deserve.