Car accidents remain a leading cause of personal injuries in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. In addition, drunk driving is one of the most common offenses for which police officers make arrests. When we combine these two facts, it is no surprise that drunk driving is a common reason why people suffer injuries while on the road.
While there is no debate that drunk driving is against the law, the idea that another driver was intoxicated is no guarantee of success in a claim for compensation. The burden still falls to you to show that another driver’s actions were the cause of your losses. Considering that these losses may be substantial, the outcome of this case may be vital to your future.
A Los Angeles drunk driving accident lawyer is ready to fight for you. The legal professionals at the Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices may be able to make the connection between drunk driving and the accident that caused your losses. They can then form demand packages that insist on fair payment. Contact us today at (888) 522-6291 for your free consultation.
Table of Contents
Driving While Drunk Is Both a Criminal Act and Extremely Reckless
According to the California Vehicle Code (VEH) §23152, it is illegal to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Even so, a criminal prosecution for drunk driving can never result in the court ordering a person to pay compensation to an injured bystander. To achieve this, injured parties must pursue their own separate but related civil claim.
However, this does not mean that the cases cannot impact one another. All drivers assume a duty to protect other people whenever they get on the road. Drunk driving is a clear violation of this duty. The responsibility falls on an injured person to prove that another party’s intoxicated state was the cause of the crash.
In some situations, a criminal court may be able to prove this idea for us. If a criminal court convicts a driver for DUI, whether as the result of a plea deal or a trial, that court has demonstrated a person’s intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt. Because of a concept of law called res judicata, courts will not reconsider this question.
As a result, a civil court hearing a case alleging personal injury will not allow a convicted drunk driver to argue that they were not intoxicated during the incident. A lawyer can provide more information about what you need to prove to prevail in a claim for damages and how a criminal court may be able to help.
Drunk Drivers Who Cause Accidents Are Liable for Your Losses
The goal of any personal injury claim is to collect the compensation that you need to set things right. Put another way, you look to collect payments that put you in the same position you would have been in had the incident never occurred.
A thorough examination of how the incident has affected your life can place a fair value on your case. Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices can work with you to measure your losses. The core loss is always the costs of all necessary medical care. Typically, this will include an ambulance ride, emergency room care, and follow-up treatment. In especially severe examples, physical injury losses can also include estimated costs for future medical procedures.
That being said, it may also be possible to collect compensation for non-economic damages. Typically, these losses will include pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost quality of life, and missing income. If an accident has affected your life in any way that reaches beyond medical bills, you may be entitled to payment from at-fault drivers. Hire a Los Angeles drunk driving accident lawyer from Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices. Call (888) 522-6291 to learn more.
Possible Limitations on Drunk Driving Accident Claims
The mere fact that another driver was apparently drunk at the time of a collision is not enough to prevail in a claim for compensation. In fact, courts considering personal injury cases must evaluate the actions of all involved parties and assign blame accordingly. While drunkenness may certainly play a large role in the incident, if the other driver claims that you were driving at night without headlights, ignored a stop sign, or failed to use a turn signal, this could be a powerful defense against their own liability. If a court believes that you shared some responsibility for the crash, it will reduce your compensation at trial by the percentage of your fault.
Another possible limitation on claims for damages is the statute of limitations. This is a legal time limit that controls when courts will hear lawsuits alleging personal injury because of an accident. The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1 says that people who suffer personal injuries because of accidents have no more than two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit in court.
However, extensions may be available when an injury is the result of behavior that has given rise to a criminal case. As a result, if the other driver is currently facing allegations of drunk driving in a criminal court, the statute of limitations may not directly apply. A lawyer could help to determine the time limits that govern your claim for damages.
Let a Los Angeles Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Fight to Protect Your Legal Rights
Every person who suffers personal injuries because of the poor decisions of other parties deserves the compensation that they need to set things right. Despite this idea, it still falls on you to prove that another party was at fault for the accident. While drunk driving is certainly reckless, it is no guarantee that you will receive the compensation that you need.
A car accident lawyers in Los Angeles, CA is ready to help you. The legal team at the Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices understands the interactions between drunk driving laws and civil claims for damages. We can help to gather evidence of drunkenness, track a potential criminal case, and measure your losses to pursue your case for proper compensation. Reach out to us today at (888) 522-6291 for your free consultation.