Drunk Driving Accident Injury Lawyers in Federal Way
Backed by Nearly Two Decades of Legal Experience
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 28 people die every day in motor vehicle accidents that involve a driver under the influence of alcohol. That is 1 fatality every 51 minutes in America caused by drunk drivers. Also, over 1.4 million people were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). If you or someone you love was injured or killed in an auto accident involving alcohol, you may be eligible for compensation.
At Park Chenaur & Associates, our drunk driving accident attorneys in Federal Way fight for the rights of victims injured by drunk drivers. Since 1999, we have helped clients recover monetary damages in order to help pay for their expensive medical bills, damaged property, rehabilitation fees, lost wages, and more. As a result, we have a firm grasp of this practice area along with its many procedures and laws. Our Federal Way personal injury lawyers can help you get the financial resources you need to live a healthy, happy, and financially independent life.
What damages can drugged driving injury victims claim in Washington?
According to the laws of Washington State, victims of drugged driving accident injuries can claim for both economic and non-economic losses.
The economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses – including the past, present, and future costs of medical treatment received (you must keep copies of all doctor reports and retain receipts to ensure you are fully compensated).
- Lost income – you can receive compensation for any time missed from work. If you are unable to return to perform your job as before the accident, you may be compensated for these permanent changes.
- Property damage – if damage was done to your personal property in the accident, this can be reimbursed.
- Out-of-pocket expenses – this could include the costs of physical therapy, alternative medicine, travel expenses, etc.
The main non-economic damage is the pain and suffering caused. This may include the physical pain endured from the injuries as well as the emotional pain and suffering.
You may also be able to claim for the loss of quality of life in the case of a permanent or semi-permanent injury.
Marijuana drugged driving accidents in Federal Way & Tacoma
Since recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington State in 2012 (the first state in the U.S. to do so), the number of drugged driving accidents involving marijuana users has increased.
In fact, according to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the percentage of drivers under the influence of marijuana involved in fatal car accidents more than doubled after legalization.
Another alarming statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that in 2016 “drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result, more frequently than alcohol was present.”
It seems that marijuana use by drivers has increased markedly since legalization – an unintended and dangerous consequence of the decision.
There is little debate about the effects of marijuana usage on driving: it can cause impairment by slowing reaction time and decreasing coordination in much the same way as alcohol does.
How do police officers handle marijuana drugged driving cases?
Because of the serious impact that marijuana usage has had on the roads in Washington, there is a police crackdown in place to deter marijuana users from driving.
This has meant:
- More impaired driving arrests
- More DUI courts
- An improved prosecution process
- The promotion of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) to deter impaired drivers from driving
Detecting drivers under the influence of marijuana can be challenging for untrained police officers. There is no breathalyzer test to refer to, so police officers must follow other procedures if they suspect marijuana usage from a driver.
For the case to hold up in court, it is not enough for police officers to smell pot in your vehicle. The prosecution will have to show the results of field sobriety tests and then back this up with a chemical test performed at the police station.
If you are stopped on suspicion of impaired driving and suspected of being under the influence of marijuana, Washington police officers will perform a series of simple physical and mental exercises to determine if you can safely drive.
The three most common field sobriety tests are:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
You will be asked to follow an object (like a pen or finger) while a police officer checks your eyes for involuntary twitch movements, which are common in people under the influence.
- Walk and turn test
You will be asked to walk in a straight line, turn on one foot, and walk in the opposite direction. The police officer will observe your ability to follow instructions, perform a physical activity, and maintain balance.
- One-leg stand test
This test also checks if you can follow instructions and maintain balance while doing a physical task. If you hop around or are unable to maintain a good balance while performing this test, you may be arrested on suspicion of impairment.
Medication and its impact on driving ability
Most people assume that over-the-counter (OTC) medications must be safe and they won’t affect driving ability. However, OTCs can be just as harmful as prescription medication if not taken responsibly.
Drivers should take particular care when taking medication for:
- Pain (opioid or codeine-based painkillers)
- Common cold
Care should be taken with any drug containing stimulants such as caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and any muscle relaxants or sedatives. These substances can slow reaction times, cause drowsiness, or otherwise make it dangerous to drive.
The body’s response to different drugs varies from person to person. Drivers should read medication labels carefully and observe their own response to taking the medication before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Fighting for Justice & Compensation
It is simply wrong that one should have to pay for their own injury-related expenses, especially when they were caused by a drunk driver. Our attorneys are relentless and will work to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent actions both financially and legally. Our team of legal professionals will be with you every step of the way throughout the claims process and will strive to make your experience with us as efficient and comfortable as possible. We have a long track record of success in this area of law and have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Using our extensive experience and skill set, we can help you, too.
To give you an idea of how prolific drunk driving is:
- The CDC states that the average convicted drunk driver has driven while intoxicated at least 80 times before his/her arrest
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that if the 17 million drivers who admitted to driving while intoxicated in 2010 had their own state, it would be the fifth largest state in America
- The NHTSA states that approximately one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetimes