The numbers of drunk driving injuries and fatalities are beyond startling. They’re frightening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 people die every day in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers who had become impaired by alcohol consumption. That’s a death about every 51 minutes. Every two minutes, somebody is injured in a drunk driving accident. In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded that about 300,000 people drive drunk every day. It found that only about 4,000 per day were arrested.
The most recent statistics
Drunk driving statistics for 2014 were released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the last quarter of 2015. As per the NHTSA, there were 9,967 deaths involving alcohol impaired drivers in 2014. Those fatalities accounted for an astounding 31 percent of all traffic fatalities. The scary fact is that the final numbers aren’t in yet for 2015, but the NHTSA says that deaths from alcohol impaired drivers in 2015 are up by 8.1 percent.
The criminal case against the drunk driver
If the drunk driver is caught by law enforcement, he or she will face a criminal prosecution. It’s unlikely though that a criminal prosecution will bring you the compensation for your injuries or the loss of a family member. You’ll need to file a civil case.
The civil case against the drunk driver in Rhode Island
The civil case against a drunk driver is entirely different than a criminal prosecution. The civil courtroom is where you bring your case for damages as a result of the wrongful acts of the drunk driver. Damages might consist of but not be limited to:
• Past and future medical bills
• Past and future lost earnings
• Pain and suffering
• Permanent disability
• Permanent disfigurement
• Funeral and burial expenses
• Punitive damages
The civil burden of proof in Rhode Island
In the criminal case, the prosecution must prove the drunk driver guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the burden of proof is lower. You need only prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. Drunk driving accidents in providence are preventable because people choose to get behind the wheel after drinking. We’re experienced, aggressive, successful but compassionate. Victims of drunk driving crashes deserve to be fairly compensated.
Article authored by a Rhode Island drunk driving accident lawyer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 people die every day as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. This figure translates to one death in every 53 minutes. Alcohol-related accidents also take a huge toll on the economy, costing the taxpayers more than $44 billion annually. Over the years, the government has employed stringent measures to reduce the death toll from impaired driving.
If you were injured as a result of a reckless drunk driving accident, you need to retain a top Rhode island personal injury lawyer to hold the criminal tortfeasor accountable and liable for their reckless and destructive conduct. A RI personal injury lawyer who is also a Providence drunk driving accident attorney will get the injured victim justice as a result of the drunk driving crash.
Rhode Island drunk driving accident victim injury attorney
Driving while impaired is considered a criminal offense. A DUI charge is issued to a driver who is caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.o8% or more. A Drunk driving charge in Rhode Island and Providence plantations can be supported by visual evidence of impairment without a breathalyzer test. In Rhode Island a persons under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI offense for a lower amount of alcohol. DUI convicts can face jail time, hefty fines and a license suspension. If you or a loved one has been victims of an accident as a result of drunk driving, you should seek recourse from the law. Seeking representation from a RI personal injury attorney who is also a Providence car accident attorney is wise. These Rhode Island drunk driving accident lawyers can help you get fair compensation for the damages and injuries incurred in an accident.
§ 31-27-2 Driving under influence of liquor or drugs.
“(a) Whoever drives or otherwise operates any vehicle in the state while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, except as provided in subdivision (d)(3), and shall be punished as provided in subsection (d).
(b)(1) Any person charged under subsection (a), whose blood alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent (.08%) or more by weight, as shown by a chemical analysis of a blood, breath, or urine sample, shall be guilty of violating subsection (a). This provision shall not preclude a conviction based on other admissible evidence. Proof of guilt under this section may also be based on evidence that the person charged was under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs, toluene, or any controlled substance defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these, to a degree that rendered the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle. The fact that any person charged with violating this section is, or has been, legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section.” TITLE 31 Motor and Other vehicles CHAPTER 31-27 Motor Vehicle Offenses SECTION 31-27-2
There are several ways in which alcohol can increase the risk of accidents
Alcohol slows you down. Alcohol has a significant effect on the body’s response mechanism. For starters, it slows down your brain, and this makes you more prone to causing accidents. In addition to this, alcohol can:
- Cause drowsiness
- Affect your ability to reason properly
- Slow down your reactions
- Affect your concentration ability
- Offset your sense of balance
- Impair your vision
- Give you double vision
- Reduce your night vision ability
- Give your blurred vision
As evidenced, these risk factors make impaired drivers very dangerous on the roads. They are not just a risk to themselves but other drivers and pedestrians. The injuries suffered in an accident can have far-reaching consequences. This is why you need to seek representation.
Rhode Island drunk driving accident attorney
Personal injury cases are often characterized by confusing legal procedures and medical terms. There is also so much paperwork that needs to be correctly filled. When you have suffered an injury, you will not be in the right frame of mind to deal with the red tape that often typifies injury cases. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the process. The experience and knowledge of the law of these lawyers can work in your favor and help you secure the compensation you deserve.
Fatal drunk driving accident in RI
If a loved one, spouse, family member or child was killed in a fatal drunk driving accident than the family must retain a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer who is also a RI wrongful death attorney. A Providence wrongful death lawyer will be an expert in RI wrongful death laws as well as familiar with wrongful death lawsuits in Providence Superior Court.
The facts of a fatal drunk driving cause of action in RI
Maureen O’CONNELL, et al.v. William WALMSLEY, et al.v. Tapco, Inc., et al.”The tragic facts of this case emanate from a horrific automobile collision that occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, 2003, in the Town of Coventry, Rhode Island. Earlier that evening, a group of young friends, Brendan O’Connell Roberti (Roberti or decedent), Jason Goffe (Goffe), Michael Petrarca (Petrarca), Frank Paolantonio, Jr. (Paolantonio), Erin Grant (Grant), and Derek Zisk (Zisk) met at Shooters, a pool hall and bar located on Cowesett Avenue in West Warwick. The friends remained there for a few hours, playing pool and enjoying a few rounds of drinks; at around 10 p.m., they decided to depart and travel to Zisk’s house, located off of New London Turnpike in Coventry.”
Rhode Island drunk driving accident
“The group left the pool hall in three separate vehicles. Petrarca, who drove a commercial Ford F350 truck with Paolantonio as his passenger, turned left out of the parking lot onto Cowesett Avenue. Goffe followed in his Toyota Corolla, accompanied by Roberti in the passenger seat. Finally, Grant, traveling with Zisk, drove the last vehicle out of the parking lot, and remained—at all times—behind the other vehicles.”
“According to the occupants of Petrarca’s truck, moments after leaving the Shooters parking lot, Goffe increased his speed, crossed the center line of the two-lane road, and passed the truck on the left. The Toyota then returned to the correct lane of travel and continued traveling at a speed of between forty and fifty miles per hour to the end of Cowesett Avenue; both vehicles then turned left onto Main Street and continued toward New London Turnpike, with Goffe’s Toyota still ahead of the truck. After traveling approximately one-half mile, the vehicles were required to turn left and proceed around a triangular median, in order to access New London Turnpike. Petrarca avoided this route, however, by making an illegal turn onto a one-way street and passing the Toyota on the left, thereby regaining the lead as Goffe made a legal left turn onto New London Turnpike. Petrarca testified that he made this fateful maneuver “as a joke,” however, he agreed that at this point, “it was getting a little crazy.”
“The vehicles continued west on New London Turnpike into Coventry; the road was straight with intermittent hills and dips. Although Grant continued to follow the Petrarca and Goffe vehicles, she testified that when she realized that she was traveling at about fifty miles per hour, she slowed down and saw the other vehicles speed away. According to Grant, it appeared that the two cars were racing because “they were about even with each other driving [in] the same direction,” with Goffe’s vehicle on the left side of Petrarca’s truck, facing oncoming traffic. A dip in the road caused Grant to momentarily lose sight of the two vehicles; however, when they reappeared she saw headlights approaching from the opposite direction and watched as Goffe’s vehicle swerved 63*63 into the westbound lane in front of Petrarca’s truck.”
“Petrarca testified that he was traveling around fifty miles per hour in the westbound lane when he looked out the driver’s side window and saw Goffe’s vehicle alongside his truck, traveling in the eastbound lane. His passenger, Paolantonio, saw headlights approaching from the opposite direction, “probably a lot more than” 500 to 800 feet away. He advised Petrarca to slow down. Petrarca complied and allowed the Toyota to pass; however, according to Petrarca, Goffe passed him “like I was standing still”; he estimated Goffe’s speed to be around seventy miles per hour. Petrarca testified that Goffe’s vehicle reentered the westbound lane a few seconds later, at which point Petrarca first noticed the headlights of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. Petrarca saw the Toyota’s brakes applied momentarily before the car “sh[ot] right back into the oncoming traffic lane” at an angle, as if the car was turning left.”
“Paolantonio testified that the Toyota “was already on an angle” when it reentered the westbound lane and that after Goffe passed his truck, he “never had control of the vehicle.” According to Paolantonio, the distance between Goffe’s vehicle and the approaching headlights was “a lot more than” 300 feet when the Toyota began to spin out of control. Goffe’s vehicle then turned into the opposite, eastbound lane at a 180-degree angle when the front end of a vehicle driven by William Walmsley (Walmsley or defendant) collided with the passenger side of the Toyota. Neither Petrarca nor Paolantonio saw Walmsley brake or slow down, leave his lane of travel, or otherwise make any attempt to avoid the accident. Significantly, Paolantonio testified that Walmsley “probably could have braked * * * because he could have seen [Goffe] spinning out of control long before that.”
“As a result of the accident, twenty-year-old Goffe and twenty-two-year-old Roberti were pronounced dead at the scene. Walmsley and his passenger, Brenda Chandler (Chandler)—who was Walmsley’s fiancee at the time, and who had fallen asleep before the collision—were both seriously injured and taken to the hospital. There, Walmsley’s blood was drawn, revealing a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. Walmsley later testified that, at the time of the collision, he and Chandler were returning home from the Mohegan Sun Casino (casino), where they had spent the afternoon eating, drinking, and gambling. Walmsley testified that he had consumed between two and five beers at the casino, but denied that he was in any way impaired by alcohol consumption. Walmsley estimated that he was traveling thirty-five miles per hour and stated that the last thing he remembered was traveling down a hill. Although Walmsley testified that at no point was his view of the road obstructed, he admitted that he did not see Goffe’s vehicle or any other headlights before the collision, nor did he apply his brakes or take any evasive action to avoid the accident.” 93 A.3d 60 (2014) Maureen O’CONNELL, et al. v.William WALMSLEY, et al. v. Tapco, Inc., et al. No. 2011-199-Appeal. Supreme Court of Rhode Island. June 23, 2014. 61*61 Gregory S. Inman, Esq., Coventry, for Plaintiffs. David E. Maglio, Esq., Providence, for Defendants. Present: SUTTELL, C.J., GOLDBERG, FLAHERTY, ROBINSON, and INDEGLIA, JJ.
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.