The increased push for public awareness and even the threat of jail or prison time has not completely eliminated the occurrences of auto accidents caused by drunk driving. The lives of innocent victims in Orange County are still being affected. Thankfully, an Orange County drunk driving accident lawyer can help you with the legal process required to take action.
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 lawyers at Duque & Price have extensive experience helping victims throughout Orange County and the surrounding areas reach just and fair settlements in their personal injury cases. Our combination of aggressive diligence and proactive determination has given us a reputation for providing strong representation to our clients.
From investigation and negotiations to trial preparation and litigation, our team can work tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome in your case. No matter what the details of your case include, contact us today for a consultation so we can recommend how to take the next steps.
There are significant and important reasons why driving under the influence is illegal in all 50 states. Alcohol affects the brain in several ways that are dangerous to both the driver and other motorists. When a person has consumed alcohol, they experience the following symptoms:
Aside from the fact that driving under the influence is illegal, it is a highly dangerous and irresponsible behavior that, unfortunately, leads to otherwise avoidable accidents. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident involving a drunk driver, you are entitled to pursue legal action in a personal injury case.
Like other types of car accidents, collisions that result from drunk driving can lead to serious injuries. Generally, since motorists driving under the influence tend to collide with other vehicles at higher speeds, injuries are much more common in cases involving drunk drivers. Some of the potential issues include:
These and other injuries can lead to extended hospitalizations, expensive follow-up care, and lost income from missed work. For this reason, it is important to work closely with a skilled car accident attorney to help you seek compensation for your injuries and other losses.
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 occurred. Failure to prove any single element of the case will cause it to fail entirely.
When you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you may also be entitled to seek compensation from the restaurant or bar that served the at-fault driver alcohol. This type of case falls under what are known as “dram shop laws,” which can legally hold the establishment that served the driver responsible for the actions that followed as a result of their inebriation.
A skilled drunk driving accident attorney can gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate liability by proving that the business observed the driver’s condition and chose to serve them anyway.
When you seek compensation for the damages you’ve suffered from a drunk driver, it is imperative that you work with a qualified and skilled accident and personal injury attorney who can help you obtain the maximum benefits legally allowed. When you experience injuries and loss from an at-fault and negligent drunk driver, you can expect to recover some combination of the following types of damages:
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.
However, as the family of a deceased loved one who was killed in a car accident with a drunk driver, you are entitled to recover additional damages beyond medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and funeral costs. Similar to pain and suffering compensation, surviving families can pursue damages for loss of consortium. This covers the non-material losses associated with losing a loved one, such as the loss of companionship, support, love, and intimacy.
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!
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 win. Lucky for you, so do we!
When you’ve been injured through the fault of a drunk driver, you deserve fair compensation. Car accidents incur heavy physical, emotional, and financial losses. Thankfully, you are legally entitled to recover due compensation. You will want a knowledgeable, experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer representing you. To find out how much your case is worth, speak to an experienced attorney during a free consultation. Reach out to the Orange County law offices of Duque & Price today so that we can help you.
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