A teenage driver is charged with a DUI and vehicular assault after she struck another car Thursday afternoon, May 27, 2019. Witnesses said she was traveling around 40 to 50 mph when hit a car in the intersection of Dick Road and Sinto Avenue.
The accident happened in a school zone where the speed limit was 25 mph. Officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana on her, and according to one of the officers, she admitted to smoking marijuana a couple hours before she drove.
One person suffered a concussion and another a broken arm in the crash. There were two juvenile occupants in her car, but it’s unknown if they were the ones that were injured. The accident is still under investigation.
DUI’s account for almost 10,000 deaths each year, and even though this number has gone down over the last several decades, this still accounts for almost 25 percent of all vehicle accident fatalities. In Washington State, the last few years has seen in increase in their share of DUI deaths with the total going up 10 percent in the year 2017 and roughly the same in 2018.
Some say the reason for this the legalization of marijuana as more as more drivers are being charged with driving while impaired with marijuana being the impairing substance.
Many victims of a DUI think that since the person who hit them was impaired, the case will be fairly simple as it’s going to be obvious who’s at fault-especially if they get charged with a DUI. However, this isn’t the case. Even in a DUI crash, the victim must prove that the other driver was negligent, and Washington State has a law that says if you are found guilty of a criminal act, it doesn’t automatically make you negligent in a resulting civil case.
This is because the civil and criminal courts are in two separate systems, and the legal standards (the level of proof needed to prove guilt or liability) is different. Therefore, even if someone is found guilty of a DUI, to collect in a personal injury case, they must prove that the driver was negligent as well.
To do this, the injured person must prove that the other driver did not operate their vehicle with the care that’s due others around them. The fact that they were driving with alcohol or another impairing substance in their system them doesn’t mean that the person was at fault in the accident.
For example, a person could be impaired but not be the one that ran the red light. Because of this, the injured driver must provide evidence that the alleged at-fault driver acted negligently.
What If I’m a Victim of DUI?
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, don’t go it alone. First, take care of your immediate medical needs, then talk to a professional who can assess your case and help you get compensation for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured by an impaired driver, don’t rely on the insurance company and their lawyers to treat you fairly. You need to talk to someone on your side who can advise you and evaluate your individual case. Talk to the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., and get someone on your side. We serve clients in Spokane, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and surrounding communities and can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.