Even though drunk driving is strictly against the law in California, many Bay Area drivers continue to make this dangerous decision. In many cases, drunk driving ends in an accident, causing injury or tragic fatalities to other innocent people. Individuals and families feel the loss from a drunk driving crash for years to come.
The criminal justice system does not do much for drunk driving victims. Fortunately, you have another avenue for justice. You can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver and seek compensation for your pain and suffering, damaged property, medical bills, and lost wages.
Don’t be concerned that the drunk driver might not have assets with which to pay your compensation. The drunk driver’s insurance company (and if they were uninsured, your insurance company) is responsible for paying that bill. But all of this starts with making a call to a DUI victim’s lawyer from The Cartwright Law Firm.
Seeking compensation for a drunk driving crash and injuries is a challenging process in an already difficult time. You need the right legal support.
Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers
Victims of drinking and driving accidents who survive typically face serious injuries, like:
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- SCI (spinal cord injury) and paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
In addition to serious physical injuries, you may be suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, eating and sleeping disturbances, or even suicidal ideation due to the trauma of the accident and the pain of your injuries. You might not be able to work for some time – if at all. You might need costly and ongoing medical treatment, and you still might experience chronic pain.
A drunk driver can change your life in an instant, and you can never go back in time and stop the accident from happening. Instead, you will need to seek monetary compensation from the liable driver. Money cannot take away your injuries, but it can help you cover your losses and put you in a better position moving forward.
Drunk Driving Statistics
Most people know that drunk driving is a serious problem in California, and here are some statistics that illustrate how great the risk can be:
- On a typical day in the United States, someone dies because of drinking and driving every 45 minutes—that’s 32 Americans per day or 11,654 per year. This number is a 14 percent increase from 2019. These numbers have been on the rise for a while.
- Of the 3,623 motor vehicle deaths in a recent year, one-third involved a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Many drivers had BAC levels much higher than that.
- People surveyed about their top traffic safety concerns said the second biggest concern was drunk driving.
- Fatally injured drivers with BAC levels of 0.10, meaning that they had one part alcohol per 1,000 parts blood, were six times more likely to have a prior conviction for drunk driving.
Even though we trust that other drivers will make safe decisions and follow the law, these statistics show that many people violate drunk driving laws every day in California and across the United States. Sadly, these drivers impact the lives of others.
Understanding California DUI Law
California law states that drivers must not drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. For commercial vehicle operators, the limit is 0.04 percent. Also, Vehicle Code section 23136 outlaws anyone under 21 from driving with any quantifiable amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. BAC tests are done via blood, breath, or urine tests. BAC tests are conducted on the side of the road, in the hospital, or at police stations.
Look for the Signs of Impaired Driving
If you believe that the driver who hit you or a loved one was impaired, demand the police conduct a BAC test. Make a note if that request is denied. Here are signs that a driver may be impaired:
- Uncoordinated, reduced motor skills
- Bloodshot eyes
- Having a hard time standing
- An odor of alcohol
- Difficulty staying focused
- Slurred speech, talking slowly
- Involuntary eye movements
- Comments made by the driver about having been at a bar or out partying
- Difficulty staying awake
- Hostility, aggression
If you can point out these symptoms to a paramedic or police officer who might have missed them, do so. Take videos, photos, and notes as well if you are not too injured. Write down what you remember when it’s all over too, being sure to note the things that lead you to believe the driver was impaired.
If a police officer determines that the other driver is drunk, they can place them under arrest. The driver will likely face DUI charges, and a conviction can mean fines and jail time. A conviction might not provide ample financial recovery for you, but a conviction can help your civil injury claim.
When someone is convicted of violating the law, it serves as evidence of their negligence and liability for an accident and injuries. This means you will not need additional evidence of liability, but you will still need to provide adequate evidence proving your losses. These can include medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
Call a San Francisco Drunk Driving Victims Attorney Today
Three out of every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related car accident at some point in their lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can actually help reduce that number by making sure that right here, right now, you hold the drunk driver accountable. You can also make it easier for you and your family to move forward from the accident by obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Please contact our San Francisco drunk driving victims attorney for legal services today. Get the compensation you deserve and are entitled to with help from our dedicated legal team. Consultations are always free with no obligation. You have nothing to lose.