Updated on: 3/6/2019
A three-car crash Sunday morning in Tacoma was the result of a suspected drunk driver, according to the Washington State Patrol. Three people were injured in the collision, including two with serious injuries.
The drunk driver reportedly blew through a red light on Pacific Ave. at about 6 a.m. Her Nissan Altima collided with a Toyota Rav4 traveling eastbound with a green light, causing the Toyota to hit a Honda on the other side of the road.
The two passengers in the Toyota suffered serious injuries. The Honda driver had minor injuries. She is expected to be charged with driving under the influence and vehicular assault.
DUI Drivers Can Face Harsh Penalties In Washington State
In the case above, the DUI driver will likely be charged with a vehicular assault. In Washington State, that crime is classified as a Class B felony and can result in a $20,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. While the penalties are sometimes lower depending on the circumstances of the case, a DUI conviction may also result in license suspension or revocation, probation, loss of right to vote and/or carry firearms, as well as mandatory drug/alcohol treatment.
If the at-fault driver is found to be a repeat offender, their maximum possible fine and jail time will go up with each subsequent offense. The court system will also consider the severity of the damage caused. For example, a DUI driver caught at a sobriety checkpoint isn’t likely to be punished as harshly as one facing charges of vehicular assault in a serious crash.
The Rights Of DUI Accident Victims
When a person is injured in an accident with a drunk driver, oftentimes the total damages suffered by the victim are severe and costly. As those medical expenses rise, the insurance company of a drunk driver may try and fight the claim or present a settlement offer that is far below what you believe is reasonable. In situations such as these, it is smart to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
If you or a loved one wants to bring a claim against a drunk driver, that will happen in civil court. You may have some liability protection that can help pay for expenses, but it is usually the at-fault driver’s insurance company that will foot the bill. If the DUI driver doesn’t have insurance, you may be able to sue them directly, but many people do not have the savings to pay the damages out-of-pocket. Uninsured Motorist Coverage can be of help, a policy that your own insurance company pays. The Washington State Crime Victim Compensation Program can also be of assistance.
Image: Washington State Patrol