Drunk Driving is a Leading Cause of Vehicle Accidents in Richmond, VA

If you’re involved in an alcohol-related accident, it's crucial that you seek out justice.

Every year, thousands of people throughout the US have their lives turned upside down due to alcohol-related car accidents. Drunk driving is a leading cause of vehicle accidents in Richmond, VA, and many innocent people are injured as a result of this.

After all, each time a person gets behind the wheel while inebriated, they do so knowing their ability to drive safely, respond to hazards, and make smart, rational decisions is affected.

If you were injured in an alcohol-related accident and are not at fault, you must seek out justice. One way in which you can achieve this goal is by making a personal injury claim.

The Stats on Car Accidents and Drunk Driving

According to the 2022 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report, published by Commonwealth Virginia.

  • There were 5,721 car crashes in the city of Richmond in 2022, resulting in 34 deaths and 2,719 injured people. Richmond had 249 drunk driving car accidents, resulting in 10 deaths and 140 injured people.
  • Only Prince William County and Fairfax County had more crashes than Richmond.
  • Chesterfield County and Henrico County were not far behind Richmond in the number of overall car accidents.
  • Chesterfield County had 5,430 car accidents with 34 fatalities and 2,061 injured people. There were 329 drunk driving car accidents in Chesterfield County, resulting in 8 deaths and 186 injured people.
  • Henrico County had 5,421 car accidents with 32 fatalities and 2,536 injured people, respectively. There were 291 drunk driving car accidents in Henrico County, resulting in 12 deaths and 170 injuries.
  • The bottom line, a lot of accidents happen in the Richmond Metro area!
  • In Virginia, there were 6,910 alcohol-related crashes in 2022, a 2.4% increase from 2021.
  • Within these incidents, 4,174 people were injured, and there were 274 fatalities.


As you can see from the local statistics, drunk driving car accidents are much more likely to result in death. A car accident with a drunk driver in the Richmond, Virginia metro area puts you at a 575% increased risk of death than car accidents overall. In the city of Richmond, Chesterfield County and Henrico County:

  • 3.45 % of drunk driving car accidents resulted in a death
  • 0.60 % of all crashes in these counties resulted in a death
  • Nearly one-third of all car accident deaths were the result of drunk drivers


Drunk driving car accidents result in more fatalities and more injuries to other drivers and pedestrians than a normal car accident.

Why Preventing Drunk Driving Matters

There are many dangers associated with driving while intoxicated – even if it does not result in a “serious” crash. Doing so knowingly puts other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians at risk – which is a moral issue as much as it is a legal one.

Furthermore, most victims of a drunk driving car accident are entirely innocent. An intoxicated driver’s willful choice to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol places you and your family at an increased risk of injury when performing simple tasks such as driving home from work or school or going to the grocery store. This is entirely unfair, and a drunk driver should be punished both criminally and civilly.

In these cases, it is important that you take direct legal action against the drunk driver through a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury suits not only deter this kind of behavior, but it also ensure that you and your family are compensated to cover the costs of your medical bills, wage loss, and mental, physical, and financial suffering as a result of the car accident.

How Personal Injury Plays Into Drunk Driving Vehicle Accidents

You can file a personal injury claim if you are injured due to the negligence of a drunk driver. If you are the victim of a drunk driver you have alternative ways to prove negligence and can claim enhanced damages that people involved in a regular car accident cannot.

Below are some examples of how the evidence can be used to support claims against drunk drivers, and details relating to the relevant Virginia statutes.

Drunk Driving Violates Virginia statutes

According to the Virginia Code:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine, or train (i) while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more.”

Driving while intoxicated is a clear violation of this statute, meaning that they can be found criminally responsible for this behavior.

Violation of Virginia Statute is Negligence Per Se

Violating any Virginia statute is classified as “negligence per se,” or rather, negligent as a matter of law. It means that the driver has disregarded their responsibility to act in accordance with a statute that was designed to protect a class of people and that you were a member of the class of people meant to be protected by that statute. Proving the driver was drunk and in violation of a statute can result in summary judgment being granted on liability in the case against the drunk driver. If summary judgment is granted against a drunk driver, the only issue to be determined by a judge or jury is how much money you are entitled to for your injuries.

Willful and Wanton Negligence can Result in Punitive Damages

When a person gets behind the wheel after drinking, their behavior may also be classified as “will and wanton.” This means that they are consciously disregarding your right to safety, by acting in a way that is reckless. As such, they could be ordered to pay punitive damages to you- which is a form of compensation. Punitive damages can be awarded up to $350,000.00, based on the discretion of the jury, if you can prove the defendant acted willfully and wantonly.

With regard to drunk drivers, Virginia statute has set forth a test to determine if a drunk driver’s conduct was willful and wanton for the purposes of punitive damages.

In order to prove willful and wanton conduct under § 8.01-44.5, Code of Virginia, you must prove:

1) the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 % or more when the accident occurred,

2) the driver knew or should have known they were impaired and could not properly drive a car, and

3) the driver’s impairment from drinking alcohol was the cause of the crash. There are additional ways to prove the drunk driver’s conduct was willful and wanton, but this is the most straightforward way of proving a claim for punitive damages against a drunk driver.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer for your Car Accident Case

If you have been injured in a car accident, and the other party involved was found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then you should work with a trusted Virginia personal injury lawyer to make a claim. This can help you to put your best foot forward, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.

The legal landscape is a confusing one, especially if you have little previous experience with the Virginian Court system. Which is why we’re here to help! We’re experienced lawyers who have supported many clients in similar situations to your own.

Get in touch today to find out more!


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