Jury awards $5.5 Million in Drunk Driving Accident

A drunk driver seriously injured another motorist in a 2007 head –on collision, and a Skagit County jury has concluded the Washington State Patrol and Whatcom County must pay $5.5 million for not doing enough to stop the drunk driver.

According to the attorney in the case, the verdict, on April 28, is the largest ever in Skagit County. The county’s second largest verdict prior was $2.4 million.

At Bernard Law Group, we handle personal injury lawsuits that are the results of auto accidents in Washington State every day. Call our attorneys at 1-800-418-8282. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Skagit County car accident happened on Highway 542, on Jan. 4, 2007. A drunk driver crossed the center line and slammed head-on into a car driven a 22 year old woman. The woman suffered severe injuries to her legs, pelvis and wrists. With already 13 surgeries since, she is expected to need many more.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the injured driver in October, 2007.

“We sue drunk drivers – and those who enable them to wreak havoc on our highways. This catch-and-release system of dealing with drunk drivers must stop,” said the attorney.

One interesting twist in the lawsuit was that the Washington State Patrol and Whatcom County were named as defendants.

“The accident occurred one hour and 39 minutes after a State Trooper drove a drunk driver home, returned her keys, and told her not to drive again until after she was sober,” the attorney said. “Instead, she called a taxi, returned to her car, drove drunk and crossed the center line hitting (the driver) head-on.”

The attorney also noted that the drunk driver had been sentenced on a prior drunk driving charge and was required to have an alcohol interlock installed in her car. However, according to the attorney, the Whatcom County District Court Probation Department failed to follow up on the court-ordered installation.

Following a three-week trial, damages were awarded to the injured driver, as the jury concluded the State Patrol and Whatcom County had been negligent in the case.

If you are seriously injured in an accident, or someone you know is injured or possibly even killed, call the skilled Seattle personal injury attorneys at Bernard Law Group, 1-800-418-8282. We can help you immediately. All e-mail and form submissions will be responded to by a qualified and knowledgeable member of our firm within 24 hours. Call our toll-free number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we promise to respond immediately.