Orange County Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drunk Driving Accidents in Orange County
The increased push for public awareness and even the threat of jail or prison time has not completely eliminated the occurences of auto accidents caused by drunk driving. The lives of innocent victims in Orange County are still being affected.
If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, you have the right to pursue a civil case against the driver. Civil cases are separate from the criminal case your local district attorney or prosecutor will file. The damages you might be able to collect include, but are not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, permanent disability and even death.
The Civil Suit
When you file a civil case against a drunk driver, you are seeking a financial compensation for your injuries. This compensation is called “damages”.
In the case that a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, the family can file a wrongful death case against the individual. In the American legal system, a civil case is the only way to compensate an injured party who suffered as a result of the negligent conduct of somebody else. The state cannot and will not do this for you in its case against the drunk driver. If you want damages, you must file a civil suit yourself.
Under California law, all drivers owe other drivers the “duty of care” to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. In a civil lawsuit for damages, the plaintiff must prove that the other driver committed a breach of that duty and that the breach caused the accident and ultimately their injuries. The fact that the other driver was drunk is not enough to prove negligence on its own. A negligent act or failure to act must be proven. Damages must be shown through medical bills, records and expert testimony.
Oftentimes, it is easier to get a guilty verdict in a civil case than in a criminal case since the burden of proof is less demanding. An experienced attorney can help you determine the strength of your civil claim. These complicated cases require experienced knowledge from filing the correct paperwork in a timely manner to proving that a breach of duty occured. Failure to prove any single element of the case will cause it to fail entirely.
The Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a negligent act on the part of one driver causes the death of another, the immediate family can bring a claim to recover damages such as funeral and burial expenses, any medical bills resulting from the injury and income lost or reasonably expected to be lost in the future as a result of the death. The wrongful death action is generally a separate count in an injury lawsuit where other damages are also sought.
Uninsured Drunk Drivers in Orange County, CA
We all know that California law requires all drivers to obtain valid auto insurance, but we also know that it is not unusual for motorists to become involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Accidents and injuries caused by uninsured drivers is the reason uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is available. UM typically covers bodily injury to the driver, family members and passengers of a vehicle in a motor vehicle collision caused by an uninsured driver. UM coverage is mandatory in many states, but is not mandatory in California.
Most insurance companies will cover you or your family members through UM insurance. However, many times when a UM claim is filed, your once trusted insurance company can make recovering the damages very difficult. That is where an experienced attorney can help you. The last thing you want to do is to face the insurance company’s lawyers alone!
Under-Insured Drunk Drivers in Orange County, CA
California law only requires drivers to have $15,000 in liability insurance, which is about enough for a night in the emergency room or a day in the hospital. Since mandatory liability limits are so low, under-insured motorist insurance is also available for when you have $85,000 in damages and the drunk driver only has $15,000 of coverage.
In the drunk driving portion of the criminal case, the prosecutor only represents the State of California. They will not represent you. You are responsible for pursuing your own damages if you believe you have a case. Even so, your insurance company will likely fight the claim you file and their team of lawyers know just how to do win. Lucky for you, so do we!
When you’ve been injured through the fault of a drunk driver, you deserve fair compensation. You will want a knowledgeable, experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer representing you. Reach out to the Orange County Law Offices of Brent Duque today so that we can help you.