A study revealed that West Virginia had good news: the second-highest decrease in fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers over a 17-year period. Analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, beginning in the year 2000 and ending in 2017, showed that the number of drunk-driving fatalities across the Mountain State decreased by 54.72%.

However, even without alcohol, catastrophic traffic accidents and fatalities can still occur. As 12WBOY News reported, two-thirds of car accidents occur when a motorist’s blood alcohol content level falls below the 0.08% legal limit or the driver is free of impairment. The majority of vehicle accidents result from distracted driving, according to the NHTSA.

Although a driver may at first feel relieved when a roadside testing device shows a legally allowed BAC, this result does not automatically remove liability for causing a devastating accident. In many cases, even a fully unimpaired motorist may face serious criminal charges if his or her driving has contributed to a roadway fatality.

Holding parties responsible for fatal accidents

Families who have tragically lost a loved one due to a fatal accident caused by an impaired or negligent motorist may file a legal action to obtain justice, closure and relief. If a driver caused an accident while working for his or her employer, the company and its insurance carrier may also face legal action. Under certain circumstances, full or partial culpability may lie with a local government for allowing hazardous roads to remain unrepaired.

Recovery through a legal action

Responsible parties may find themselves in a legal action on behalf of a deceased’s estate, spouse or children. The surviving family members may require financial compensation because of the sudden loss of their loved one’s income and support. It may take time for a spouse to grieve, recover and find reliable employment to make up for his or her loss of financial well-being. Plaintiffs may also file a wrongful death claim for the pain and suffering caused by the loss of companionship and a family relationship.

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