We Demand Justice for the Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
Despite efforts in California and around the country to reduce drunk driving, impaired drivers continue to pose a major hazard on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10,000 individuals died in California incidents involving drunk drivers between 2005 and 2012. While California has fewer fatal DUI fatalities than the national average, far too many lives are lost in these avoidable collisions.
At DLC Law we believe these negligent drivers should be held responsible to the fullest extent of the law. That often involves not just criminal charges but a personal injury case too. Keep reading to learn more and then contact us at (626) 285-8815 for help.
You have a right to sue a drunk driver who caused your accident
Anyone injured in a vehicle accident in California has the right to sue the at-fault driver for compensation. When the motorist is proved to be inebriated or under the influence of drugs, the victim may be entitled to extra compensation.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses based on the specifics of the accident, such as:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain, suffering, and emotional anguish
- Any changes that must be made to a house, automobile, or work environment as a result of the accident’s injuries
- Punitive or exemplary damages to penalize the irresponsible party and deter others from engaging in similar reckless behavior
If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you might have grounds to file a claim for wrongful death to recover damages related to funeral costs, lost income, and loss of consortium, among other damages.
There are generally two court cases involving drunk driving accidents
Following a vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver, there will generally be two distinct court cases: a criminal case and, if the victim decides to sue, a civil claim for personal injury or wrongful death. Although these two cases are not connected in the legal system, what occurs in one might have a big impact on the other.
If the culpable motorist is convicted of DUI in a criminal prosecution, for example, the plaintiff’s prospects of winning a claim rise. That said, it does not guarantee that you will win in civil court. Likewise, if the accused is found not guilty or the charges are dropped, that does not mean you do not have cause to file a civil action.
Remember that the burden of proof is much higher in a criminal court than in a civil court, which means that you could still win a civil case even if there are no criminal consequences for the perpetrator.
Others could be wholly or partially liable for damages
Even if their judgment is impaired by alcohol, most people would agree that individual drivers are ultimately accountable for their own actions. In most criminal DUI cases, the person who is accused of driving under the influence is the only one on trial.
Determining who is responsible for paying damages, on the other hand, is frequently more complicated and subtle. While the intoxicated driver is generally held to have some blame, other parties may also have contributed to the accident’s circumstances:
- An insurance firm – If the motorist has vehicle insurance, his or her insurer is usually responsible for a portion of the damages.
- Employer of the driver – For example, if the driver was working at the time of the accident.
- Workers at the bar or restaurant in which the perpetrator became intoxicated – Although California’s dram shop rules are strict, if the motorist who caused the accident was a juvenile, the bar or restaurant where they were supplied might be held responsible.
Your best option is to hire a personal injury attorney
The best approach to find out if you have a claim against a drunk driver is to contact an experienced and competent personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you hire an attorney, the more equipped they will be to gather evidence, examine the facts, and design a winning strategy. You can contact DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 now to request a free legal consultation.