Representing the Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 28 people are killed in drunk driving crashes every day in the United States — that’s more than 10,000 Americans each year. With nationwide campaigns against driving under the influence and its long-time prohibition, the fact that it continues to be a problem is harrowing.
Ashcraft & Gerel is committed to curbing the problem of drunk driving by advocating for the rights of injured individuals and their families. For more than 65 years, we have effectively handled countless drunk driving accident cases, recovering millions in compensation to help our clients afford medical care and obtain closure. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver in Washington, D.C., our lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel want to help you bring that driver to justice.
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Your Legal Options After a Drunk Driving Accident
After you have been hit by a drunk driver, there are several options available to you. It is worth mentioning that although it is likely that the other driver will be charged for driving under the influence (DUI), criminal court proceedings will not affect your right to compensation. This remains true regardless of whether the charge turns into a conviction or gets dismissed. In fact, the only way in which a charge could impact your case is if the driver is convicted, as you can use this conviction as evidence to strengthen your civil court case.
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Going Through Insurance
Despite the common misconception that insurance will automatically deny a drunk driving claim, going through insurance is a viable option for injured individuals. In truth, many Washington, D.C. drunk driving accident victims are able to obtain their fair compensation by using their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, also known as no-fault insurance. If the insurance company is not willing to work with you, or if you think the damages you have incurred exceed your policy limits, suing the drunk driver in civil court may be the most appropriate option.
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Filing Suit Against the Drunk Driver
If you opt to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, it is recommended that you work with an attorney because drunk driving accident claims are complex. For example, Washington, D.C. is a no-fault district, so drunk drivers are only subject to civil liability if the damages they caused you cross a certain threshold. To make matters more complicated, this threshold in relation to drunk driving accidents is constantly being debated.
With the help of an attorney, you can explore your legal options and ensure that you are making the best decisions for your case. It would be wise to retain the help of a legal professional as early on as possible; if you accidentally compromise your claim while speaking to your insurance agent or accept an insurance payout, you will not be able to take legal action.
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Shared Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents
Washington, D.C. follows a policy ofcontributory negligence, which means that you will be considered ineligible for legal compensation if you share even 1% of the liability. Insurance companies frequently attempt to abuse this policy by using certain tactics that are designed to get you to admit a share of the blame — even if none exists.
A few examples of these tactics include having you go over the accident more than once and asking open-ended questions, such as “How did the accident happen?” You do not have to humor the insurance agent by answering such questions.
It is recommended that you only answer basic questions, such as those concerning:
- The date and time of the accident;
- Whether a police report was filed;
- How many vehicles were involved; and
- What type of damage your vehicle sustained.
Hire Experienced Lawyers Who Truly Care
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we know that the most important part of every case is the client at the center of it. When you work with us, you will experience what it is like to work with skilled lawyers who truly care about fighting for your rights and who have the knowledge to do so effectively. Don’t entrust your recovery to an inexperienced team; trust our award-winning firm instead.