San Bernardino County Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drunk Driving Accidents in San Bernardino County
Increased public awareness campaigns, jail/prison time, fines and AA meeting requirements have sadly not completely eliminated the threat of drunk driving.
If you are injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, you have the right under the law to pursue a civil case with the driver. This case differs 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, permanent disability, disfigurement and even death.
The Civil Suit
If you file a civil case, you are seeking “damages”. These damages differ from criminal prosecution in that drunk drivers can be held financially liable for the accidents which they cause.
In the case that a loved one was killed by that drunk driver, the immediate family can file a wrongful death case. The remedy in both the individual and death case is payment of damages. In the American legal system, this is the only way to compensate somebody who was injured by the negligent or careless conduct of someone else. The state cannot do that for you in its case against the drunk driver. If you want damages, you are required to pursue them yourself.
Under California traffic law, all drivers owe other drivers the duty of care to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. In the lawsuit for damages, the plaintiff must prove that the other driver committed a breach of that duty that caused the accident and their injuries. The fact alone that the other driver was drunk isn’t enough to prove negligence. A negligent act or failure to act must be shown. Damages must be proved through medical bills, records and testimony.
Oftentimes, it is easier to win a guilty verdict in a civil case than in a criminal case as the burden of proof is very different. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a strong civil case. However, these complicated cases require experienced knowledge from filing the correct paperwork in a timely manner to proving the breach of duty occurred. Failure to prove any single element of the case will cause it to fail entirely.
The Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If a family member is killed in an auto accident resulting from the negligence of another driver, the family can bring a claim to recover such damages as funeral and burial expenses, any medical bills in connection with the injury and income lost or reasonably expected to be lost in the future. The wrongful death action is usually a separate count in an injury lawsuit where other damages are also sought.
Uninsured Drunk Drivers in San Bernardino County, CA
While auto insurance is a California state requirement, it is not unusual for people to find themselves involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Accidents and injuries caused by uninsured drivers is exactly what uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is for. 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 some states, but it’s not mandatory in California.
Most insurance companies will cover you or your family members through UM insurance. However, when a UM claim is, your trusted insurance company can make recovering the damages very daunting. That is where an experienced attorney can help you. The last thing you want is to take on the insurance company’s attorneys alone!
Under-Insured Drunk Drivers in San Bernardino County, CA
While not as costly as uninsured motorists, under-insured drivers can also cause problems in your claim. California law requires drivers to have $15,000 in liability insurance, which is about enough for a night in the emergency room and 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.
Auto accidents involving drunk drivers include criminal and civil portions of the case. In the criminal case, the prosecutor only represents the State of California. He/she does 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. Luckily for you, so do we!
When you’ve been injured through the fault of a drunk driver in San Bernardino County, you deserve fair compensation. You’ll want a knowledgeable, experienced and aggressive San Bernardino County Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer representing you.
Contact our San Bernardino County Personal Injury Attorney at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.