California drivers should expect everyone around them to follow the law and drive reasonably safely under the circumstances. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents occur every day. When drivers choose to drive while intoxicated (DWI), they put everyone else on the road at risk and can cause accidents that result in serious injuries and wrongful death.
Discuss Your Drunk Driving Injuries with an Experienced Attorney in Los Angeles
Drunk driving is illegal and dangerous. Drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated put others at risk. If a negligent driver in California has injured you, you may have a right to compensation from the at-fault driver. An experienced attorney can investigate your case, help you understand your legal options, and protect your right to compensation. Contact Saeedian Law Group today to schedule a free case evaluation.
The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Drunk Driving Attorney
Pursuing compensation while recovering from a drunk driving accident can be difficult, especially for those seriously injured. When you work with Saeedian Law Group, we will handle every aspect of your case so you can focus on recovering. Our team will immediately begin representing you by communicating with the insurance company and negotiating for the best settlement possible. While you concentrate on healing, we will handle all of the aspects of your claim by taking the following steps:
- Collecting copies of the police report
- Gathering eyewitness statements
- Obtaining breathalyzer and chemical test results from the drunk driver
- Subpoenaing police camera footage of the driver’s field sobriety test
- Gathering any other photo or video evidence of the accident
- Building a legal strategy for a civil case against a drunk driver
- Pursuing the total value of your damage claim
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) vs. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
When referring to the unlawful act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the phrases DWI and DUI are frequently used synonymously in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, depending on the jurisdiction, there can be some technical distinctions between the two names. Here are some standard differences:
- DWI: Driving While Intoxicated typically refers to driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol. In some states, DWI is used to describe more severe cases of intoxication where the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level exceeds the legal limit.
- DUI: Driving Under the Influence generally encompasses a broader range of impaired driving, including both alcohol and drug intoxication. DUI can refer to driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medications, or any substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
When it comes to automobile accidents, a motorist who is proven to be impaired by alcohol or drugs and causes an accident may be charged with crimes and subject to legal repercussions. For a DWI or DUI accident, Los Angeles law enforcement may impose fines, license suspension, mandated alcohol education programs, probation, or even jail time. Contact our personal injury attorneys right away if you’ve been in a drunk driving accident.
Drunk Driving Accidents Can Cause a Wide Range of Injuries
Every year, tens of thousands suffer serious injuries in drunk driving accidents. Every day, approximately 32 people are killed in drunk driving collisions. These accidents are especially egregious because they are entirely preventable. Drunk drivers choose to get in the vehicle while intoxicated and drive.
Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents are disproportionately likely to cause severe injuries or fatalities. Drunk drivers do not have adequate control over their vehicles and their reaction times are significantly slower than safe drivers. As a result, the accidents they cause tend to be more severe. According to the CDC, drunk drivers are approximately 11 times more likely to be involved in an accident than non-intoxicated drivers. Drunk driving accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, including the following:
- Broken bones
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Back and head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Brain damage
Civil vs. Criminal Cases
Driving while intoxicated is illegal in California. State prosecutors can bring criminal charges against drunk drivers. A criminal drunk-driving case aims to convict the driver of a crime and impose penalties, including jail time. The goal of a civil drunk driving accident lawsuit is to obtain financial compensation for the victim’s losses, including medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Victims of drunk driving accidents don’t have to wait for the criminal courts to convict the defendant. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, drunk driving victims can begin pursuing a civil lawsuit against the defendant immediately after the accident. A civil lawsuit forces the drunk driver to take accountability for his or her actions and pay the victim’s compensation for their economic and non-economic losses.
Damages Available in Drunk Driving Claims
In most driving accidents, victims will pursue monetary compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, loss of work, and income. Victims can also pursue compensation for pain and suffering. The claim’s value depends on multiple factors, including the severity of the injuries and the evidence proving the drunk driver’s recklessness. Generally, the more severe a victim’s injuries, the more compensation he or she can obtain.
The plaintiff will need to prove that the driver was intoxicated and that the intoxication caused the car accident. Most cases rely on a breathalyzer and chemical blood alcohol test to show that the victim was intoxicated. Video surveillance and witness testimony can also be important in obtaining the total compensation you deserve.
Obtaining Compensation for Your Injuries
There are two main strategies for obtaining compensation after a drunk driving accident. Victims can pursue a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Another option is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, his or her employer, or any other third party who is partially or fully responsible for the accident.
Many auto accident cases settle out of trial during pretrial negotiations. However, if the insurance provider refuses to settle your case for a fair amount, our trial-ready attorneys are prepared to take the case to court and demand better results. We have years of litigation experience and know-how to advocate for your rights before a judge or jury effectively.
How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
In California, victims of drunk driving accidents only have two years from the date of the accident to file a civil claim against the at-fault driver. There are some exceptions to this rule, but these are limited. Two years may seem like a long time, but it goes by quickly, so the sooner you discuss your case with an attorney, the better.
If the drunk driver faces criminal charges, the civil courts may extend the deadline until the case has been resolved. If you have questions about how long you have to file a claim, our Los Angeles drunk driving attorneys at Saeedian Law Group are here to answer your questions and help you understand your legal rights.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is California’s drunk driving law?
CVC 23152(b): It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. CVC 23152(f): It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
What is the average settlement for a drunk driving accident in California?
Determining the average settlement for a drunk driving accident in California can be challenging, as settlement amounts can vary significantly depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Several factors influence the settlement, including the severity of injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress experienced by the victims.
Can you sue a drunk driver in California?
In California, victims have the right to seek compensation for damages sustained in accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers. A driver is deemed intoxicated when their ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired due to alcohol and/or drugs. If you are injured in such an accident, you have the legal option to pursue a lawsuit against the impaired driver to recover damages for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses resulting from the collision.
Contact our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys in Los Angeles
At Saeedian Law Group, our attorneys have a proven track record of holding drunk drivers accountable for the injuries they cause. We represent injured victims of drunk driving accidents in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. If a drunk driver has seriously injured you or your loved one, contact Saeedian Law Group today to schedule your free initial consultation and discuss your case with a skilled attorney.
Our drunk driving accident lawyers at Saeedian Law Group serve clients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, San Diego, Irvine, Modesto, Riverside, Oxnard, & Rancho Cucamonga.