Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in West Virginia

If you are coping with costly medical bills, property damage, or debilitating injuries because someone else chose to drink and drive, you deserve substantial compensation. When the drunk driver and their insurance company refuse to take responsibility, our drunk driving accident attorneys in West Virginia are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve.

 If you need a drunk driving accident lawyer, call Warner Law Offices, PLLC, in Charleston, West Virginia. Drunk driving accidents can cause severe injuries, so it’s important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney advocating for you. We will seek damages separate from any criminal case prosecutors may bring. The Warner Law Offices team has decades of experience helping victims of drunk driving accidents successfully recover compensation. Contact our office in Charleston, West Virginia, or call us at (304) 345-6789 today to schedule a free consultation.

 Your world changes the minute a drunk driver hits you. Hospital bills start coming in, and you might need to repair or replace your car. The insurance companies will also start calling. You need someone you can trust to protect you and your interests. Let a West Virginia car accident lawyer at Warner Law Offices PLLC help you navigate these challenges. Since 2000, we have been helping clients in West Virginia and the surrounding areas hold drunk drivers accountable for the damage they cause. 

How Warner Law Offices Can Help You After a Drunk Driving Accident

Unfortunately, when you have been in an accident involving a drunk driver, collecting compensation can be complex. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying the full and fair compensation you deserve. Remember, even your own insurer does not have your best interests at heart. 

An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in West Virginia can protect your rights and deal with insurance companies for you. When you choose Warner Law Offices, our skilled and compassionate attorneys will:

  • Review police reports and perform a thorough, independent investigation.
  • Interview eyewitnesses and look for surveillance footage.
  • File your insurance claim and represent you in settlement negotiations.
  • Review your medical records to assess the extent of your injuries.  
  • Calculate your damages and fight for the maximum amount available.
  • File a lawsuit and take your case to trial if necessary.
  • Identify all sources of compensation.
  • Pursue punitive damages against the drunk driver if possible.
  • Answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the life of your claim.

When you have been hit by a drunk driver, insurance companies want you to remain in the dark about your legal rights so they can minimize your compensation. They have many unfair advantages due to their extensive experience reviewing and undervaluing car accident claims.

You can level the playing field by hiring an experienced West Virginia drunk driving accident attorney at our law firm. We charge no upfront fees, and we invest our own money to cover the costs of investigating and filing your claim. You pay nothing unless we win.

Get the right lawyer to advocate for you!
Contact our team for a free consultation.
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What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for a Drunk Driving Accident?

You have a right to pursue economic and non-economic damages after a car accident involving a drunk driver. Economic damages compensate for your verifiable monetary losses. Non-economic damages compensate for emotional losses related to your quality of life.

A drunk driving accident can leave you injured and unable to work while you recover. You might also face car repair bills or need a new car. While receiving compensation cannot turn back the clock, it can help you cover your losses and make ends meet while you recover.

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The amount you recover will be specific to your situation. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries and losses, the higher the compensation. If you have injuries that are likely to reduce your future earning capacity or cause long-term pain and suffering, these factors can significantly raise your case value. 

Other factors that may influence your compensation include your previous earnings, your lifestyle before the accident, and available insurance coverage. Our award-winning Charleston, West Virginia drunk driving accident lawyers will look at the big picture and consider the full extent of your losses when calculating the compensation you are owed.

Who Will Pay for My Drunk Driving Accident Losses?

In general, insurance companies end up paying for most drunk driving incidents. West Virginia is a so-called “at-fault” state, which means that the insurer for the party responsible for the accident must cover any injuries and property damage. Since the drunk driver is most likely responsible for your accident, that driver’s insurer will probably be on the hook for your damages.

However, your insurance company might pay if the drunk driver is uninsured or underinsured. In West Virginia, all motorists must add uninsured motorist coverage to their car insurance policy. The minimum requirements for uninsured motorist coverage are:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $25,000 per accident

You may also have elected to purchase underinsured motorist coverage with your policy. If the drunk driver’s policy fails to cover all of your damages, you may make a claim under your underinsured motorist coverage for the excess. 

Warner Law Offices can help you deal with insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf so you don’t inadvertently harm your chances of recovery.

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Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Accident Cases

Punitive damages are awarded in rare cases when you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party behaved with “conscious, reckless and outrageous indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.” Drunk driving accidents often meet this requirement. 

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not awarded for the purpose of compensating a victim, but to punish the defendant and deter others from similar conduct. West Virginia § 55-7-29 limits punitive damages to $500,000 or four times the total of the economic and non-economic damages, whichever is greater.

Though rare, punitive damages can significantly raise the value of your case when available. Our West Virginia drunk driving attorneys will vigorously pursue punitive damages if possible in your case. 

West Virginia Drunk Driving Laws

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense in West Virginia. West Virginia’s DUI laws impose fines of up to $3,000 against drunk drivers. They can also face up to 15 years in prison if the DUI accident victim dies or 10 years if the victim suffers severe injuries.

Criminal prosecution stemming from a DUI accident is separate from a civil lawsuit. You have a right to sue whether or not the drunk driver is convicted or jailed. The burden of proof in criminal cases is higher than in civil cases. This means it may be possible to prevail in a civil lawsuit even if a criminal prosecution is unsuccessful.

According to national drunk driving statistics, 13,384 innocent people died in drunk driving accidents in the United States in 2021. In West Virginia, 280 fatal accidents occurred in 2021, and 65 of them were accidents involving drunk drivers. In the same year, 5,116 West Virginia drivers were arrested for DUI, and 3,522 were convicted or had their cases deferred.

West Virginia law allows you to sue the drunk driver who hit you. A civil lawsuit is separate from a criminal case the state brings. Most civil cases settle out of court, but some cases do go to trial. 

How West Virginia Law Defines Drinking and Driving

West Virginia law defines impaired driving as driving:

  • Under the influence of alcohol
  • Under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Under the influence of a drug or inhalant substance
  • Under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs
  • With an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher

If the blood alcohol content reaches 0.15 percent, it becomes an aggravated DUI, which leads to more severe penalties. Anyone under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent can be charged with a DUI. Commercial drivers can be convicted of a DUI if their blood alcohol content reaches 0.04 percent while driving commercial vehicles.

Comparative Negligence

Even in drunk driving cases, the insurance company may try to blame you for the accident. These companies have a vested interest in pinning the blame on you wherever possible because any fault on your part could reduce or even eliminate the compensation you are owed. 

Under West Virginia § 55-7-13c, you cannot recover compensation if your share of the fault is more than 50 percent. Even if it is lower, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your fault. Our drunk driving accident law firm in West Virginia will conduct a thorough investigation to ensure you are not left with the short end of the stick. 

Remember, West Virginia’s comparative negligence law also allows you to collect compensation from every liable party in proportion to each party’s share of the fault. Additional liable parties may include:

  • Manufacturers of defective vehicle parts
  • A negligent bar owner who served the drunk driver alcohol
  • A vehicle owner who allowed a drunk driver to use their car
  • A government entity that failed to maintain safe road conditions

Do They Go to Jail?

A jail sentence can be imposed if authorities pursue a successful criminal prosecution against the drunk driver. In West Virginia, penalties in criminal drunk driving cases range from $100 to $500 and a six-month driver’s license revocation for a first offense. For a third offense, penalties range from $3,000 to $5,000, one to three years in prison, and a lifetime driver’s license revocation. If someone dies, the driver can get up to ten years in prison. The court may also order the drunk driver to pay restitution to any victims. 

A civil case allows you to sue for damages. If the defendant in a civil case loses, they pay you monetary compensation. Jail time is never on the table in a civil case. In civil cases, the compensation the drunk driver has to pay you will be determined by your losses, including your medical bills, lost wages, repair bills, and pain and suffering. 

How To Prove Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident

You prove a drunk driver is at fault and liable for your damages by gathering and presenting evidence. Relevant evidence may include:

  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Video recordings
  • Photographs
  • Property damage
  • Physical evidence from the scene, such as debris and skidmarks
  • Medical records

Depending on the case, your lawyer may also work with an expert witness who can provide an opinion about how the accident happened. 

What To Do After a Drunk Driving Accident

If you are involved in a drunk driving accident, take the following steps:

  • Evaluate your injuries and request emergency assistance if necessary.
  • Report the accident. 
  • Document the scene by taking photos and notes of things like skid marks, debris, traffic signals, signs of intoxication, and property damage.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers. 
  • Get contact information from witnesses.
  • Contact our West Virginia car accident lawyer in Charleston immediately.

Our drunk driver accident attorneys are standing by to ensure you know your full legal rights and leave no money on the table. Do not hesitate to reach out. 

Contact Us Today for a Free Drunk Driving Accident Case Evaluation

In a split second, a drunk driver can change your life. Our skilled drunk driving accident attorneys in West Virginia are dedicated to helping injured clients seek justice and secure the compensation they need and deserve. From day one, we will take care of every step of the legal process so that you can focus on what matters most—your health and recovery. 

Warner Law Offices is a full-service personal injury law firm with the skills and resources needed to handle all kinds of personal injury cases in West Virginia. Our top-rated attorneys have decades of combined experience helping clients injured in auto accidents recover compensation. Besides drunk driving cases, we also handle:

Schedule a free consultation with one of our West Virginia drunk driving accident attorneys today by completing our online contact form or calling (304) 345-6789.

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Bobby has received many accolades throughout the years from both his peers in the legal community, as well as the media. The National Trial Lawyers association named Bobby a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and he has been selected as a Member of the Nation’s Top One Percent. Additionally, he has been named a Best Attorneys of America by Rue Ratings, which also named Warner Law Offices to its Best Law Firms of America.

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