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Change in Virginia Drunk Driving Law Helps Victims

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Change in Virginia Drunk Driving Law Helps Victims

As a Virginia DUI accident injury lawyer, I often file claims against the insurance companies that represent drunk drivers who have hurt my clients

Intoxicated driving remains one of the most significant causes of injuries and deaths on the roads of Virginia, even though enforcement campaigns have helped tackle the problem over the last two decades.

don't drive drunk on July 4

Recently, a change to the laws of Virginia has helped families who file lawsuits against drunk drivers.

Under § 8.01-44.5 of the code of Virginia, evidence of similar conduct by the defendant after the crash that caused death or personal injury can now be admissible at trial. It can be used in lawsuits when “punitive damages” are being calculated. I very much welcome this change.

Punitive damages are damages over and above the payout the injured party of his or her family can receive after a drunk driving wreck. They are intended to punish the drunk driver. You can read more about punitive damages here.

Punitive damages can be awarded when a drunk driver acts with malice toward the victim. The driver’s conduct is considered to be wanton if he or she has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more or 0.15 grams or more per 210 liters of breath and the accident was linked to drunk driving.

Punitive damages may also be awarded in some cases where a driver has refused to give a test.

Every year there are thousands of alcohol related accidents in Virginia. In 2015. For example there were 7,591 on the highways of the Commonwealth. Of these, 247 proved to be fatal.

Alcohol or drugs is a factor in almost a third of all fatal crashes in the state of Virginia.

Over the summer months, more people are drinking alcohol and these kids of accidents traditionally spike. If you are attending a party with alcohol you should identify a designated driver or arrange for a taxi or a ride from Uber or another service.

Every two minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving crash in the United States. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a drunk driver, it’s important to recover the most. Many of these drivers continue to get behind the wheel intoxicated, even after an accident. I am pleased that this kind of evidence can now be considered and may help victims receive what they deserve. If you have been hurt or if you have lost a loved one in a DUI crash, call us today at (757) 455-0077.

John Cooper

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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