An I-64 work zone in York County, Virginia (VA), was the site of a crash that illustrates nearly all of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving recklessly through congested traffic and fleeing the scene of an accident.
The DUI hit-and-run crash happened in the westbound lanes of the interstate outside of Williamsburg at around 1:30 pm on Saturday, September 19. According to police, the at-fault drive became impatient as other drivers slowed while moving through lines of cones and Jersey barriers. The man left the designated travel lane and went a short distance inside the cones before running up onto a barrier and striking a member of the road crew.
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The injured person is an employee of a subcontractor for the Virginia Department of Transportation. He is expected to recover, but reports describe his injuries as “serious.” Doctors who first treated him at Riverside Hospital later transferred him to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.
The at-fault driver did not stop when he ran into the worker, but law enforcement personnel took the driver into custody after his SUV ran out of gas and stopped on the off ramp at Exit 234. Charges have already been filed against the driver for felony hit and run, second offense driving under the influence, reckless driving and child endangerment. The man had his 4-year-old daughter in the vehicle.
Grounds for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Addition to Workers’ Comp
The injured road crew member clearly has a strong claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If approved for workers’ comp, he will have most of the medical bills resulting from the DUI hit-and-run paid. He will also receive wage replacement payments that offset some, but not all, of the financial losses he suffers while he spends time off the job recovering.
The injured worker also has strong grounds for filing auto insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit. In Virginia, victims of reckless or negligent drivers who suffer injuries while they are working are not limited to seeking compensation only from the workers’ comp program. An injured employee cannot sue their employer directly, but the person can take legal action against the individual who directly harmed them.
If it turns out that the drunk driver who plowed through the I-64 work zone and then attempted to flee lacks auto insurance coverage, the injured worker should be able to rely on his own uninsured motorist coverage. Every auto insurance policy issued in Virginia is required to include uninsured motorist coverage provisions.
Now, uninsured motorist claims are not necessarily less complicated than other types of car accident cases. But pursing this option could ensure that the injured road crew member comes to the other side of this terrible incidence with no lingering medical debt, full replacement of lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering. Partnering with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney would make achieving these outcomes more likely.