According to the United States Department of Transportation, approximately 17,000 people die every year in an alcohol-related car accident, which translates into an alcohol-related injury occurring every two minutes. Every thirty minutes one of those injured people dies. Of all traffic fatalities, 40% involve alcohol.
There are nearly 1.5 million drivers who are arrested each year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That means an astonishing one out of every 137 licensed drivers has been arrested for a drunk driving.
Drunk driving accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord injuries, severe brain injuries, and even wrongful death.
DUI and DWI
Every state has a statute limiting the amount of alcohol a person can have in his or system while driving. Some states impose a no-tolerance standard, where it is illegal to drive with even a trace amount of alcohol in the blood. More commonly, states say that a person cannot lawfully drive with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of over .08%. If a person’s BAC exceeds that limit, then he or she is guilty of DUI: driving under the influence. In addition, states frequently set a higher limit for driving while intoxicated (DWI), which is an even more serious offense.
It is important to understand that DUI and DWI involve more than alcohol. A person who operates a motor vehicle under the influence of an illegal drug can also be cited under the DUI or DWI statutes. Prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can also impair a person’s ability to drive safely, and can also make the driver liable for injuries caused by an accident, if they failed to follow the instructions on the medication or failed to heed the warning labels.
Drunk Driver Liability
When a driver causes an accident while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that driver is presumed to have acted negligently, and is therefore liable for the injuries caused by the crash. That means the driver is legally responsible to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. In addition, punitive damages may be imposed on the drunk driver as a form of punishment.
xIn addition to the drunk driver, under the legal theory of negligent entrustment, if someone entrusted his or her car to the drunk driver, that person may be liable for the injuries the drunk driver caused. Also if the drunk driver was drinking alcohol at a bar, a restaurant, a club, or a hotel, there are laws that hold that establishment legally responsible as well.
A drunk driver who causes an accident is liable not only to pedestrians and people in other cars, but is also liable to passengers in his or her own car. In some circumstances, a drunk driver may also be liable to the families of any of the people who were injured in the accident.
WHAT TO DO:
If you or a family member has been injured as a result of a drunk driving accident:
1.Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries: go to an emergency room or an urgent care as soon as you experience any pain or discomfort following an accident. Even if you don’t see any external injuries, it is extremely important to be evaluated to see if you have any fractures, a closed head injury, or internal bleeding. If you do not you’re your injuries require emergency medical care, see your family doctor as soon as possible. If you delay in seeking medical care, you could be making a costly mistake. At the Law Office of Slaughter & Slaughter, we work with medical doctors, chiropractors, and therapists who specialize in treating people who have been injured in an accident. Medical referrals are available and you can receive medical treatment even if you don’t have health insurance coverage.
2.Limit your communication with the other driver’s insurance company. It is generally okay to tell the insurance adjuster where your vehicle is so they can do an estimate on your property damage. However, do not talk to the adjuster about your injuries. The adjuster’s job is to obtain information to use against you when it is time to pay your claim. The goal is to pay you as little money as is possible to settle your claim. So, with regard to your injuries, simply tell the adjuster you were hurt in the accident and that you are seeking medical treatment. Politely decline to go into any further detail.
3.Contact an experienced attorney. Let the attorney deal with the insurance adjuster. If you try to handle your own injury claim, you may be at a severe disadvantage. You could be losing thousands of dollars by settling your claim without having proper legal representation. As tempting as it may be, don’t be lured into signing a release in exchange for a quick settlement. Once you sign that release, you cannot ask for more money, which will be tragic if you find out that your injuries have not fully resolved and you need additional medical care.
4.The Law Offices of Slaughter & Slaughter will accurately and honestly evaluate your claim and strive to get the maximum settlement or judgment to fully compensate you for your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, past and future physical pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish and emotional distress, past and future physical impairment, and loss of consortium.
The Law Offices of
Slaughter & Slaughter
402 West Broadway,
San Diego CA 92101
There is no reason to suffer alone from the effects of a drunk driving accident. We can help you bring a claim and strive to get the compensation you and your family will need for a lifetime of coping with this catastrophic injury. Our compassionate personal injury lawyers want to see you achieve the best resolution possible.
We serve clients throughout Southern California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and the communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, Pacific Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chula Vista, and surrounding areas.
Don’t delay, call today for more information and a free evaluation of your claim.
Call now for a FREE consultation 888-207-5321