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How Many Drinks Does It Take to Get Drunk? This Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Has the Answer

Many people figure a couple beers at a bar or a few glasses of wine with dinner won't cause them to blow a .08, the legal limit for blood alchol concentration for facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. What many people don't realize is that the way alcohol affects their bodies is specific to them and myriad other factors.

For example, shots of liquor taken in a short period of time hit the bloodstream faster than sips of wine taken over a longer period. Also, drinking on an empty stomach impairs reflexes to a greater degree than does consuming alcohol with food. Women and older drinkers must be more precautious since they generally reach the legal intoxication level sooner than men and younger people, according to the Wall Street Journal.

For more information about drunk driving accidents and the legal rights that injured victims may have when seeking compensation from the at-fault driver, take a look at these articles:


Another interesting factor that plays a role in how alcohol affects people, and one many may not think about is, is that carbonated drinks like soda or Red Bull raise blood alcohol levels faster. The gas irritates the stomach lining, which causes alcohol to be absorbed more quickly than it would be if was not mixed with a beverage containing carbon dioxide or nitrogen.

If you have had a few drinks but are not legally intoxicated, your drinking can still play a major factor if you're seriously hurt in an accident. Our firm reprsented a man who was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle and was forced to have his leg amputated. Our client's BAC was .05. Even though he wasn't driving drunk according to the law, the mere fact that he had alcohol in his system led lawyers for the at-fault driver's insurance compnany to drag their feet and delay properly compensating our client. Fortunately, the client retained our Virginia personal injury law firm, and we went to work contacting toxicology experts.

The toxicology experts told our injury attorneys that there wasn't a definitive way to determine what our client's blood alcohol concentration would have been at the time of the car-motorcycle wreck due to his serious injuries. After fighting numerous battles with the insurance attorneys for two years, we presented evidence during mediation that our experts would testify that no doctor could say with certainty what our client's BAC was at the time of the wreck. This is largely due to the fact that he suffered post-traumatic shock, acute anemia due to significant blood loss and the left leg amputation.  Fortunately, this led to the case being settled for nearly half a million dollars for our client.

The challenges associated with that case illustrate why, if you are out with friends at a bar, ball game or anywhere and you plan to operate a vehcile, staying away from any alcohol is a wise decision.  


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia