California DUI Accident Victim Lawyers
The California personal injury attorneys at Bisnar Chase have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for victims of negligence and wrongdoing. Driving under the influence – be it under the influence or alcohol or recreational or prescription drugs – is not only illegal and irresponsible, but it is also an extremely negligent and reckless act. A driver who becomes intoxicated and chooses to get behind the wheel puts every other person on the road at risk of serious injury or death.
The criminal courts usually punish a DUI driver with a jail sentence, fines or probation. But they do nothing to compensate victims for the devastating losses they have sustained. Our California DUI accident lawyers represent seriously and catastrophically injured victims and families that may have lost loved ones in such a tragedy. We are passionate about holding these drivers financially responsible for their negligence and wrongdoing. Call us at (800) 561-4887 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
What Does the Law Say?
California law prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle."
The law also states that drivers shall not operate motor vehicles with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. For drivers of commercial vehicles such as big-rigs, that legal limit is 0.04 percent. In addition, California Vehicle Code Section 23136 prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from driving with a measurable amount of alcohol in their systems.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Rights
If you were the victim of a DUI crash and the at-fault driver got a citation for an open container or was arrested following the police investigation, you will likely be in a strong position while negotiating a claim. There are also other steps you can take in such cases and incidents to protect your rights:
- Tell the investigating police office if you smell alcohol or marijuana on the driver's breath. Also, look to see if the driver tries to dump beer cans or bottles to the side of the road before police arrive.
- If you see the driver using eye drops, alert the officer. That might be enough for the officer to administer drug test.
- Before police arrive, be sure to see who is driving. It is common for drivers to switch places after a crash with a passenger who hasn't been drinking.
- Be sure to file a police report and obtain a copy for your records.
- Be sure to follow up on the driver's arrest to see if he or she pleaded guilty or was convicted.
- Get prompt medical attention treatment and care for your injuries.
- Save all receipts, invoices and documents connected to the case.
- Contact an experienced California DUI accident victim attorney who will fight hard to protect your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.
What Are DUI Victims' Options?
In California, anyone who has been convicted of a DUI faces serious criminal consequences such as time in county jail or state prison, hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, probation and the requirement to drive with an ignition interlock device. While these penalties are important and serve as important deterrents, it is crucial for drunk driving victims to realize that criminal penalties are not the only remedies available.
Often, after a drunk driving accident, victims are left with severe physical, emotional and financial hardships. Many are left with debilitating injuries and even permanent disabilities that prevent them from carrying on with normal, productive lives. DUI victims and their families have the right to seek monetary compensation for their losses from the at-fault parties.
What Damages Can Victims Seek?
The worth or value of your claim will usually depend on the nature and extent of the injuries, damages and losses you have sustained. Injured victims of California DUI accidents can seek compensation for damages including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses: This includes emergency transportation and treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, cost of medication, medical equipment, etc.
- Rehabilitation costs: This includes cost of rehabilitative care such as physical therapy and chiropractic care.
- Lost income: Victims are entitled to receive wages they lose while recovering from their injuries.
- Lost future income: If the injuries are catastrophic and the disabilities are permanent, victims can also seek compensation for lost future income or loss of livelihood.
- Pain and suffering: This refers to the physical pain and mental suffering caused by the incident.
- Loss of consortium: This is a claim for damages suffered by the spouse or partner of the injured victim.
In cases where a drunk driving crash results in a fatality, the family of the deceased victim can file what is known as a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
How We Can Help You
The experienced California car accident attorneys at Bisnar Chase have more than 35 years of experience representing the rights of seriously injured victims and their families. We offer our clients our unique no-win no-fee guarantee. This means that you don't pay any fees or costs until we secure compensation for you. We have a strong track record when it comes to financially pursuing DUI drivers on behalf of our injured clients. We are also strong proponents of DUI prevention and support organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that work hard to prevent these tragedies in our communities. Call us at (800) 561-4887 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.