Drunk driving is a decision that affects not only the individual who chooses to do it, but as well as innocent individuals who may be injured by those actions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2012 that 4.2 million Americans said they had driven while impaired within the last 30 days. Crystal Hall, a West Virginia mother, is facing those consequences. Her son, 4-month-old Braxton, was killed in a car accident last month in Moorefield, West Virginia, when an alleged drunk driver struck her vehicle. The CDC reports that almost one-third of all crash fatalities in the United States involve alcohol-impaired driving. The Hardy County Courthouse has said that Jerud Crites has been charged in connection with the crash. He faces charges of DUI causing a death; his court date is scheduled for later this month.
Drunk Driving One of the Most Common Causes of Accidents
Over 1.4 million people are arrested every year for driving while intoxicated; nearly two thirds of them are repeat offenders. It is estimated that 32% of fatal car accidents involve either an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. Over 10,000 people each year are killed in alcohol-related accidents, with hundreds of thousands more injured; this amounts to one death from alcohol impaired driving every 52 minutes. In 2013, nearly one-fifth of the 10,076 fatalities from auto accidents involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher, and were either occupants of other vehicles or nonoccupants, such as pedestrians, showing once again that drunk driving often times affects not only the person who chooses to drive impaired.
Children, as seen in the tragic case of Crystal Hall’s son, are also a common victim of alcohol-related accidents. To be sure, 200 children were killed in alcohol-related crashes, with 121 of those deaths occurring when the child was an occupant of a vehicle where the driver had a BAC of .08 or higher. Another 29 were pedestrians or cyclists that were struck by drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.
Drunk driving, along with the live its costs, also has a significant economic impact, including:
- Lost productivity;
- Legal and court expenses;
- Medical costs;
- Insurance expenses; and
- Property damages.
In 2010, it was estimated that total impact of automobile accidents in the United States was $277 billion; $49.8 billion of this resulted from alcohol-related accidents, nearly 18%. However, these figures fail to capture the sometime intangible value of loss of quality of life that result from cases of serious injury or death from these accidents. When these valuations are taken into consideration, the totals rise to $870.8 billion, $206.9 billion of which results from alcohol-related accidents, now accounting for nearly one-fourth of the losses.
Compensation Available to Victims of Drunk Driving
While every case differs, Crystal Hall likely would have the ability to file a wrongful death claim in civil court. Wrongful death claims occur when where an individual is killed due to the negligence of another, in this case the drunk driver, and there is an eligible survivor (the mother), who can recover damages. Damages available in a wrongful case can include, but are not limited to, loss of support and companionship, pain and suffering, and burial and funeral costs.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, or have been involved in any automobile accident, you should speak with an attorney at Colombo Law. We can assist you with your claim and have the experience and knowledge to help you file a claim, and ensure you receive the full settlement to which you are entitled.