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Despite decades of public awareness campaigns and a plethora of federal and state laws punishing motorists for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs, drunk driving accidents still kill around 11,000 Americans annually.

For some reason, motorists in Seattle, Washington and all across the U.S. find it difficult to refrain from getting behind the wheel after drinking alcoholic beverages. Our Seattle drunk driver accident attorney at Russell & Hill, PLLC, reminds us that in Washington state, it is illegal to drive when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher.

Proving a drunk driver’s fault isn’t always easy

While it may seem as if establishing an intoxicated motorist’s fault in a drunk driving accident will not be difficult, many victims of someone else’s drunk driving often have to deal with dishonest insurance companies that keep trying to get them to accept a low-ball settlement offer or deny their personal injury claim.

More often than not, insurance companies will investigate your drunk driving accident, unnecessarily delaying your personal injury case, in order to blame you for the crash or make you partially at fault, as ridiculous as it may sound. They are trying to limit your total compensation, and they can certainly do that since Washington state is a comparative negligence state.

Only an experienced drunk driving accident attorney Seattle by your side will be able to protect your legal rights and ensure that your case is being handled fairly and unbiasedly.

Recovering damages after a drunk driving accident

In Washington state, a motorist will be held liable for another party’s injuries if these injuries were caused by the motorist’s negligence or carelessness.

In order to determine whether or not the other driver was negligent or careless, you will need to prove that the motorist violated a traffic law, and, by doing so, endangered the lives of others. Since operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is prohibited by Washington state law, the drunk driver’s fault will be obvious.

In fact, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim even if the drunk driver was not charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Typically, you should be able to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages through the drunk motorist’s insurance company.

“However, if the drunk driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover your total damages, you may be able to recover damages under your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, if you have one,” says a Seattle drunk driving crash lawyer.

What to do after a car accident caused by an impaired motorist?

In many cases, people who get injured in drunk driving accidents are unable to protect their legal rights when it comes to seeking compensation and ends up getting their personal injury claim either denied or minimized simply because they did not know what to do at the scene of the crash.

In order to protect your rights and preserve evidence at the scene of a drunk driving accident, you need to do all of the following:

  • Call the police (a drunk driver will most likely attempt to talk you out of it, but you should not listen to him or her);
  • Tell the police that you think the other motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which may have caused the collision (the police officers are trained to administer field sobriety and Breathalyzer tests in order to confirm that a motorist is impaired);
  • Use your cell phone to record a video or audio of your conversations with the drunk driver, but make sure you warn the impaired driver that you are recording (the video can become an invaluable piece of evidence in your case, as it can record the other driver’s slurred speech, slow response to questions, aggressive and inappropriate behavior, swaying, staggering, stumbling, and other signs of intoxication);
  • Make sure the drunk driver does not destroy or tamper with evidence before the police arrive (an impaired driver may attempt to throw away empty bottles or cans among other things); and
  • Gather witness statements (talking to witnesses is always an important step, which will later help you establish the other driver’s fault).

Follow the above-mentioned tips in order to get compensated for your injuries and damages caused by a drunk driver. Speak to our skilled auto accident lawyers at Russell & Hill, PLLC, to discuss your case. Call our offices at 206-880-7703 to receive a free case evaluation.

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