Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Seattle
When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, they endanger us all. Drunk drivers are impaired drivers. This includes those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can have delayed reaction times, hallucinations, loss of consciousness, which then turns the vehicles they are operating into uncontrolled deadly weapons. We have had cases where drunk drivers including truck drivers, have run down and killed or paralyzed pedestrians, or hit oncoming vehicles usually resulting in death. Many of our civil cases involve drunk drivers who are criminally prosecuted at the same time for vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter. Sometimes there are other causes of an accident involving a drunk driver like an already dangerous roadway.
What Are the Types of Drunk Driving Accidents?
Drunk drivers do not discriminate in the types of vehicles they operate. This includes trucks, cars, EVs, bikes, boats, and aircraft.
If you were hit by a drunk driver, your injuries could include:
Who May Be Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents in Washington?
- The Drunk Driver
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .08 is illegal in the state of Washington. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana if there are more than 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. Even if a driver is impaired and liable there may be other entities who are also responsible for an accident. This could include over-service at a retail establishment, negligent hiring or supervision, or negligent highway design.
- Retail Establishments
One of the ways in which the law tries to prevent drunk drivers from being on our roads is to hold retail establishments, restaurants, and bars liable for selling or serving alcohol to people who appear to be intoxicated. Store clerks, bartenders, and servers are prohibited by statute and administrative regulation from selling or serving alcohol to any minor and any person who is apparently under the influence. RCW 66.44.200(1) the overservice statute says “no person shall sell any liquor to any person apparently under the influence of liquor.” Businesses that violate the law by serving drunk drivers will be civilly liable to third–party victims for damages caused by their patron. When stores, restaurants, or bars sell or serve alcohol to a person who exhibits signs of being intoxicated or to minors, they can be held liable for the damages caused when that person causes a collision as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Businesses or others who sell cannabis may also be held responsible if they sell marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 or to a person who is apparently under the influence.
I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver, What Should I Do?
Drunk drivers often do not have adequate insurance or any insurance at all. If you are facing enormous medical bills, catastrophe, or death of a loved one it is important to obtain a legal opinion early on regarding whether anyone else like a business, is responsible. Especially in dram shop cases, it is critical to quickly go to the establishment involved if the police have not already done so, to obtain surveillance video and interview servers and patrons who may have been witnesses. Timing can be everything in a drunk driving case. If the drunk driver is in jail or being criminally prosecuted, your attorneys will need to track the criminal case with the prosecutor. If a dangerous highway is involved, investigators will need to go to the scene before it is altered. All vehicles involved should be preserved and not destroyed. Do not allow your own insurance to destroy your vehicle. Finally and most importantly, don’t ever settle with the drunk driver without getting the approval of your attorney. If you settle with the drunk driver for their inadequate insurance limits, you may destroy the possibility of suing other responsible entities due to RCW 4.22.070 – Washington’s joint and several statute.