Washington State Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Victims of Drunk Drivers
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Washington is one of the nation’s worst offenders when it comes to the percentage of accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver. Meanwhile, nearly 20,000 thee-time DUI offenders live within the state – and some of them are no doubt on the road at this very moment.
When a serious accident occurs, your life can be shattered in an instant. In addition to the pain and suffering you are bound to endure, the emotional shock and trauma often leaves you fighting just to recover. It is truly distressing that just at your weakest moment, financial pressures that you are simply unprepared to deal with bear down on you as medical bills roll in and lost work time accumulates.
When the Time Comes to Fight Back
The injustice of a life-altering accident can leave you absolutely infuriated when you learn that it was all caused by someone else’s decision to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. That is where we come in. Although we cannot undo the accident, we can fight to ensure that you receive every dime of the compensation to which you are entitled – and it’s probably more than you think.
At Brett McCandlis Brown, we win our cases the old-fashioned way: Hard work, attention to detail, and passionate representation. No two cases are alike, and we will formulate a strategy for victory that is just as unique as the facts of your case are. We are committed to keeping the process as stress-free as possible, so that you can concentrate completely on recovery.
Our Case Results
- We obtained a $4.2 million verdict for two victims of a drunken driver who caused a head-on collision by racing with his friend.
- We obtained a $1 million settlement from a towing company after its tow truck driver, a known drug addict, struck and killed a 14-year-old pedestrian.
These are only two of many, many large verdicts and settlements that we have obtained for our clients.
Types of Cases We Handle
Car accidents: Washington state roads have been growing more dangerous as new threats emerge – driving under the influence of marijuana, for example, and texting while driving. We can use accident reconstruction specialists to help you win your case; in cases involving a commercial driver, we may even be able to sue the driver’s employer.
Wrongful death: A wrongful death claim is what a personal injury claim becomes when the victim dies as a result of his or her injuries. Recoveries in wrongful death cases can be quite substantial, and most of the money is usually divided among close relatives of the victim.
Bicycle accidents: Bicyclists are arguably even more vulnerable to death and serious injury than motorcyclists are, because they lack the ability to accelerate quickly in response to dangerous road conditions. Motorists are responsible for accidents that occur when they fail to take into account their “blind spots.”
Motorcycle accidents: Motorcycles travel at high speeds with a complete absence of frame protection. Furthermore, many motorists are simply not watching out for motorcycles, simply because there are so few of them on the road. Death and catastrophic injury are the tragically common results.
Head and brain injuries: Head and brain injuries strike at the very core of the body’s command and control functions, and they result in catastrophic long-term disability more than just about any other type of injury. Unfortunately, the symptoms of brain injury often fail to show up right away.
Trucking accidents: A commercial truck can crush a sedan like an accordion, or send a motorcyclist flying dozens of yards from the road. Lawsuits over accidents involving commercial trucks often include trucking companies as co-defendants, and they are often proven through evidence of violations of trucking regulations (failure to obtain adequate sleep, for example).
Defective drugs: A company that manufactures a defective drug is essentially poisoning its customers. Special legal rules that apply to product liability cases such as these can make this type of case easier to win. Even a drug that is safe for most people might be considered defective if, for example, it fails to warn of special dangers for pregnant women.
Other types of accidents. No short list can encompass every type of injury you might suffer. The only real requirement in most cases is that you suffered a tangible physical injury that wouldn’t have happened except for someone else’s culpable conduct. If you find yourself in doubt, contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are my possible sources of compensation?
Following are the most common possible sources of accident compensation:
- Mandatory underinsured motorist coverage ($25,000 per injured party and $50,000 per accident)
- Optional uninsured motorist coverage
- The drunk driver’s personal financial resources
- The establishment that sold the driver alcohol, or their insurance company (see below)
- The driver’s employer, if he or she was an on-duty employee at the time of the accident
- The Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Fund (see below)
What is the Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Fund?
The Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Fund is a fund, administered by the state of Washington, that will provide compensation for eligible victims of violent crimes, including drunk driving accidents. If you receive compensation, you may have to reimburse the state if you later receive a verdict or settlement compensating you for the same losses.
Can I sue a drinking establishment that sold alcohol to the driver who hit me?
Yes, in some cases. Washington’s dram shop law allows injured victims of DUI drivers to sue the establishment that served the driver alcohol if the driver was obviously intoxicated at the time when served, or if he or she was under 21 regardless of whether or not the driver was intoxicated.
Can I obtain compensation even if the driver was acquitted in criminal court or plea bargained the charge down to reckless driving?
Yes, potentially, although an acquittal in criminal court is not good news for you. Since in criminal court the standard of proof (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) is much higher than in civil court, it is possible for you to win a lawsuit without proving liability “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Do I automatically win my case if I prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident?
No, not automatically, but your chances of winning are quite good once you prove intoxication. To win, you must show that the driver’s intoxication actually caused the accident. He or she might try to prove that the accident would have occurred even if he or she had not been intoxicated. This defense seldom works, however.
Can I obtain punitive damages?
No, because Washington is one of only four states that does not allow punitive damages in civil lawsuits. This is particularly unfortunate in the case of a DUI accident case, because in other states the chances of obtaining punitive damages are relatively high if you can prove that the driver was intoxicated.
Who can file a lawsuit if the victim was killed?
The following parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The personal representative of the victim’s estate
- The victim’s spouse or state-registered domestic partner
- The victim’s children or stepchildren
- The victim’s parents or siblings (if there are no other surviving eligible relatives, or if the plaintiff was financially dependent on the victim).
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
You have three years after the date of the accident in a personal injury case, and three years after the date of the victim’s death in a wrongful death case. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and once you miss the deadline, your claim will be worthless – you cannot even reach an out-of-court settlement.
The First Step You Take Could be the Most Important
Just as you wouldn’t allow a novice doctor to operate on you, you shouldn’t allow a novice lawyer to represent you – indeed, the results could be equally disastrous if your injuries are serious. Brett McCandlis Brown is a top-tier personal injury law firm that has secured a staggering $100 million in compensation for thousands of injured victims and grieving relatives.
We are so confident in our ability to win the case for you that we will work on a contingency basis. You won’t have to pay us a dime up front, and if you don’t bring money home, you will owe us nothing for the entire case. Of course, this kind of confidence comes easily to us, since we win 97 percent of our personal injury cases. Most of our cases are settled out of court, but some do go to court.
Call Us Today
We are a personal injury law firm, not a general practice law firm – winning personal injury cases is what we do all day, every day. If you have been injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, contact us today at 1-800-925-1875 or fill out our online contact form so that we can schedule a free consultation with you.