Drunk Driving Tourists Can Lead to Dangerous Wrecks
According to Washington Wine, the state of Washington has over 1,000 wineries making close to 20 million cases of wine. This makes Washington the second-largest wine producing state in America. Therefore, it is no surprise that wine tasting is a major part of Kennewick’s economy and tourism.
However, when tourists visit these wineries for fun, there’s always a few that make the dangerous decision to get behind the wheel and drive, causing unnecessary and preventable car accidents in the area.
Washington tourism and wine tasting
Over 110 million people visited Washington in 2019. This number is not shocking as the state offers beautiful mountains, incredible scenic views, and even some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country. However, one of the growing reasons that so many people are visiting our wonderful state is because of the wineries. Washington was a popular destination for winery tourism in 2018, with close to three million people visiting in that year alone.
If you have ever been to wineries, you know that they are great places to spend time with friends, family, and loved ones. Most people visit these places to taste new and different types of wine as well as to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. When tourists visit Washington, one of the first things that they may learn is that the state offers a variety of different wineries, which may sound exciting. However, if they do not have a safe transportation plan for after these tastings, things can turn dangerous and even into a deadly situation.
What makes drunk driving so dangerous?
Regardless of what type of alcohol a person drinks, they should never get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. If they do, they are not only putting themselves at serious risk but are also placing every single vehicle on the road around them in danger. The reason this happens is because a person who drives while intoxicated may experience impairments, which can cause them to swerve, slow down, speed, or drive recklessly without even realizing it. Here are a few ways alcohol can affect a driver:
- Reduced reaction times
- Blurred vision
- Inability to focus
- Lack of judgment
- Lack of coordination
- Reduced alertness
- Poor decision making
- Increased drowsiness or fatigue
Washington has an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration level of 0.08 g/dl or higher, but The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that “even under 0.08 you are still impaired.” Therefore, it is always best to assume that you are over the limit anytime you consume alcohol.
In 2019, there were 172 drunk driving fatalities in Washington. This number is 33 percent of the total driving fatalities in the state. That same year, there were close to 28,000 people arrested in Washington for driving under the influence.
Common injuries caused by Kennewick drunk driving accidents
When a drunk driving accident occurs, victims are usually severely hurt. If the victims are lucky enough to survive, they most likely will suffer serious, life-changing injuries. The most common types of injuries that we have seen include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull fractures
- Back or spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Broken or fractured bones
- Crush injuries
- Road burns
- Soft tissue damage
It is not uncommon for emotional trauma to accompany the physical injuries mentioned above. Many of our clients seek ongoing psychological therapy to help them get over the mental suffering they have experienced.
Is a drunk driver liable for the accident?
While it is easy to assume that the drunk driver caused your injuries and will automatically be liable for the accident, proving this can be a little more complex. In fact, our Kennewick personal injury lawyers at Telaré Law must be able to show that the drunk driver was negligent.
When proving negligence, we must establish four important factors, which are:
- Duty: The defendant had a duty to keep you safe and harm-free while driving.
- Breach: They failed to uphold this duty.
- Causation: The breach is a direct cause of your accident.
- Damages: You suffered injuries due to the defendant’s behavior and careless actions.
Proving these four factors can become very tricky. However, they must all be proven to bring a successful personal injury claim against the defendant.
Are winery owners liable for serving alcohol to a drunk driver in Washington?
Dram shop laws are those that hold the dram shop (bar, restaurant, wineries, and other establishments) accountable for the actions of intoxicated patrons. For example, if a bar continues to serve a visibly intoxicated person who then causes a car accident, that bar can face penalties in a civil case.
The good news is that Washington is one of the states that does have dram shop laws. Therefore, with the help of our personal injury attorneys at Telaré Law, you may be able to hold the seller or server of alcohol liable if you were injured by a drunk driver. Talk to a Kennewick car accident lawyer today to determine if the Washington dram shop laws apply to your case.
If you have recently been in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. The Kennewick car accident attorneys at Telaré Law will fight to protect your rights, including the right to compensation, when injured by a negligent party in a drunk driving crash. We understand the difficulties and challenges that drunk driving accident victims face each day. Therefore, our team will do their best to ensure that navigating the legal process remains as easy as possible for you. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation at one of our office locations in Kennewick or Richland.