Statistics gathered by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reveal there were 56 fatalities in drunk driving accidents in West Virginia in 2019, which made up 21 percent of all traffic accident fatalities. Alcohol can be a significant factor in accidents causing minor or serious injury, property damage, and loss of life. 

Filing a personal injury claim after a drunk driving accident in West Virginia involves several steps. First, it is necessary to gather evidence from the accident scene, including photos, witness statements, and police reports. This evidence helps in building a strong case. Next, medical records detail injuries sustained, and treatment received. These records are key in demonstrating the accident’s impact on one’s health and life. Documenting any lost wages due to the accident is also important, as it shows the financial burden faced. Once the evidence is compiled, filing the claim requires submitting all these documents to the relevant parties, usually the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The process can be complex, and the outcome depends on the strength of the evidence and the details of the accident. Filing a claim is the first step towards seeking compensation for damages suffered due to the accident.

Navigating Insurance Claims in Drunk Driving Cases

Handling insurance claims in drunk driving cases can be complex. When a drunk driving accident occurs, victims often file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This process starts by reporting the accident to the insurance provider. It is important to provide all necessary details about the incident, including the police report and any evidence of the other driver’s intoxication.

The insurance company then reviews the claim, a process may involve assessing vehicle damage, reviewing medical reports, and evaluating any lost wages due to injuries. Victims should keep detailed records of all expenses and treatments related to the accident. It’s common for insurance companies to offer a settlement. However, these initial offers might not always cover all expenses and losses. Victims should carefully review any proposed settlement to ensure it adequately addresses their damages and losses. Handling these claims requires patience and attention to detail to ensure a fair resolution.

Seeking Damages for Medical Expenses and Lost Wages

Damages for lost wages and medical expenses are a significant part of the recovery process for victims of drunk driving accidents. Medical expenses can mount quickly, including emergency treatment, ongoing care, rehabilitation, and any required medications. These costs often place a heavy financial burden on victims and their families.

In addition to medical expenses, many victims face lost wages if they are unable to work due to their injuries. This loss of income can be just as impactful as the medical bills, especially if the victim was the primary earner in the household. When filing a claim, it’s important to include detailed documentation of all medical treatments and expenses and proof of lost wages, such as pay stubs or a letter from an employer.

Calculating these damages accurately ensures the compensation sought covers the full extent of the financial impact caused by the accident. It’s important for victims to keep thorough records to support their claims for these damages.

Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Injury Cases

Punitive damages in drunk driving injury cases serve as a form of punishment for the at-fault driver and as a deterrent to prevent similar conduct in the future. Unlike compensatory damages, which aim to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, punitive damages are awarded when the offender’s actions are especially harmful or reckless.

In drunk driving cases, a court may award punitive damages if the driver’s actions are deemed egregiously negligent or intentional. This is particularly true in cases where the driver had a significantly high blood alcohol concentration or a history of similar offenses. The aim is to penalize the wrongdoer and message the community that such reckless behavior will not be tolerated.

Punitive damages are not awarded in every drunk driving case. The decision to award them depends on each case’s specific circumstances and the state’s laws. These damages are often larger than compensatory damages and are considered separately in the legal process.

The Importance of Evidence in Drunk Driving Injury Claims

In drunk driving injury claims, the importance of evidence cannot be overstated. Evidence is the foundation of any legal claim, providing the necessary proof to support the victim’s account of the incident and the extent of the damages suffered. Key pieces of evidence in such cases include police reports, which often contain details about the driver’s state and any field sobriety tests conducted at the scene.

Medical records provide a clear picture of the injuries sustained and the treatments required, linking them directly to the accident. Photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and any available video footage also play a crucial role in reconstructing the event and establishing liability.

Collecting and preserving this evidence soon after the accident is essential, as it helps in painting a comprehensive picture of the events and their impact. Well-documented evidence strengthens the claim, providing clear and compelling proof of the circumstances and consequences of the drunk driving accident.

Settlement vs. Trial: What to Expect

Car Accident Law

When pursuing a drunk driving injury claim, there are two main paths: settling out of court or going to trial. A settlement involves an agreement between the victim and the at-fault party (or their insurance company), where the victim receives compensation without the case going to trial. Settlements are often quicker and less stressful than trials, allowing for a satisfactory resolution to both parties without the uncertainty of a court verdict.

On the other hand, a trial involves presenting the case in front of a judge or jury. This process is usually longer and more complex, involving detailed preparation and presentation of evidence. Trials can be unpredictable, as the judge or jury decides the outcome based on the evidence presented.

Victims should be prepared for either scenario. Settlements offer a more controlled and often quicker resolution, while trials may provide the opportunity for a more thorough examination of the case, but with the risk of an uncertain outcome.

If you have been involved in a car accident, please contact Manchin Injury Law Group online, or call our office at (304) 317-7786.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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