Drunk Driving Auto Accidents in California
Seeking justice for victims of drunk driving collisions.
Despite California’s efforts to crack down on drunk driving, many impaired drivers still take to the streets, continuing to be a serious threat for others on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every day, there are about 30 fatal drunk driving accidents throughout the nation – that is about one death every 50 minutes. According to a 2019 report published by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, alcohol-involved accident fatalities increased by almost 6 percent in 2017, following a near 7 percent increase in 2016. Although this rate is still lower than the national average, California still loses too many lives each year as a result of these preventable accidents.
Drunk driving auto accidents are some of the dangerous types of traffic accidents. A drunk driving car accident resulting in serious injuries can typically lead to extreme hardship for the victims, including lifelong pain and trauma. The State of California recognizes the adverse consequences of drunk driving accidents. As a result, the state permits drunk driving accident survivors the opportunity to seek compensation from the reckless driver who caused the accident. After a devastating auto accident caused by impaired driving, obtaining support from a compassionate and dedicated attorney can be beneficial.
Obtain a Complimentary Consultation From a Premier Auto Accident Attorney Today
Every day, negligent drivers put their lives and the lives of others in jeopardy when they make the reckless decision to drive while being intoxicated. If you or someone you love has been affected by a life-changing injury caused by a drunk driver’s negligence, the opportunity to recover monetary compensation for the injury could be made possible with the support of a qualified attorney.
For over a decade, the Law Offices of Attorney Justin H. King has championed on behalf of auto accident survivors. The accomplished firm understands the challenges drunk driving accident survivors face, and they are committed to helping injured victims recover the highest amount of compensation available to them. Fortunately, California laws protect victims of drunk driving accidents, and obtaining compensation from reckless drivers is possible. Consider obtaining legal counsel from the proficient legal team at the Law Offices of Attorney Justin H. King. Contact the firm today for a no-obligation consultation.
Civil Claims vs. Criminal DUI Proceedings
California Vehicle Code §23152 makes it unlawful for any person who is under the influence of an alcoholic drink to operate a motor vehicle. When a car accident is caused by an impaired driver, the drunk driver can face two separate court proceedings: a civil claim and a criminal case.
The two types of court cases a defendant can face after causing a car accident with bodily harm while intoxicated are not tied with one another. This means that the cases will be tried separately and each will require a different burden of proof. While civil cases are filed by the injured parties, criminal cases are usually filed by the prosecution.
It is important to note that although these two court cases are separate, a guilty verdict of a criminal case can affect the outcome of the civil trial. For instance, if the defendant was charged with a DUI causing injuries, it may be possible that the plaintiff will receive a favorable outcome in his or her civil case.
Liability After a Drunk Driving Accident
It is easy to comprehend that people who make the decision to drive while intoxicated should be held accountable for their reckless actions, but drunk driving cases are usually more nuanced and complex. Although drunk drivers bear the responsibility for their actions, there are other parties who may also face liability for their contribution to the accident. These parties include:
Insurance companies – When the at-fault driver has auto insurance coverage, the driver’s insurer will usually share liability.
The at-fault driver’s employer – If the driver was working at the time of the accident, the driver’s employer could face liability. In some cases, employers have a duty to ensure they are not hiring drivers with a history of DUI. They also have to ensure their drivers are compliant with traffic laws and are not driving recklessly.
The restaurant, bar, server, or bartender who served the driver – The dram shop laws in California are extremely limited, but in some cases, obtaining compensation from the party who served alcohol to the driver could be held accountable, especially if the driver was a minor.
The State of California follows the comparative fault rule, meaning, it is possible to obtain compensation from one or more parties when all of these parties share responsibility for the accident.
Severe Injuries Typically Caused By DUI Accidents
There is a wide range of injuries that can result from drunk driving accidents. When a person is struck by a drunk driver, the likelihood of facing disability, psychological trauma, and financial hardship for a lifetime are possible. The following are just a few of the most severe injuries a DUI accident survivor can sustain:
Broken and fractured bones – These injuries are relatively common, but they can require extensive medical treatment, such as multiple surgeries and physical therapy. Certain injuries can result in serious infections, disability, and/or the loss of a limb.
Traumatic Brain Injuries – The severity of a traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to detect the severity of an injury without a thorough medical assessment. Upon a severe injury, a traumatic brain injury can result in mental incapacity, difficulty in learning, memory loss, or sight and speech impairment.
Back and spine injuries – A spine injury can result in a minor sprain that can heal in a few weeks to permanent paralysis.
Psychological Trauma – The emotional trauma caused by drunk driving accidents is rarely mentioned, but the reality is that psychological trauma can be debilitating and it can affect a victim for many years. Psychological trauma can range from anxiety and stress to depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Obtain the Support of a Qualified Auto Accident Attorney
Each year, thousands of innocent people suffer the consequences of drunk driving. When an intoxicated person makes the decision to get behind the wheel, they place their health and safety at risk along with the health and safety of others they share the road with. When drunk drivers cause serious accidents that result in another’s injuries, it may be possible to hold these drivers accountable for their reckless actions.
When filing a claim against the drunk driver for damages, it may not always be enough to demonstrate the driver was drunk at the time of the accident. While a drunk driving conviction can be beneficial in a personal injury claim, there are other important elements required to establish liability. If you or someone you love was injured in a DUI car accident, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately.
Attorney Justin H. King is highly versed in complex DUI auto accident cases. It is rare when a DUI accident results in minor injuries. In most cases, DUI accidents result in devastating injuries, including spinal cord injuries and emotional trauma. As a result, it is important to seek immediate legal action against the at-fault driver to ensure a full investigation proves the driver caused the accident. For a free case evaluation, consider contacting Attorney Justin H. King at (909) 297-5001.