Drunk Driving Car Accidents
Helping Injury Victims Injured in Crashes With Drunk Drivers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino
Drunk driving is responsible for around 1,000 traffic fatalities in California every year, accounting for nearly a third of all fatal crashes. Thousands more are injured every year in accidents caused by drunk drivers. There is simply no way to share the road safely with drunk drivers, no matter how skilled or careful a driver you are.
At The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq., our firm is committed to representing accident victims injured by drunk drivers in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties and holding them fully accountable for the harm they have caused by their unconscionable decision to drink and drive despite knowing how dangerous and deadly it can be. If you have been hit by a drunk driver in Southern California or lost a loved one to a drinking and driving crash, call The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. for a consultation over the phone, computer, or in-person at our offices in West Covina, Ontario or Monrovia.
Drunk Driving Crashes Are Especially Dangerous
The severity of a crash depends on a number of factors, such as the combined speed of the vehicles and which part of the vehicle gets struck. Many facts about drunk driving accidents make them especially harmful or deadly for the people who get hit.
- Speeding is a major contributor to car accidents, both in the cause of the accident and its severity. The force of a car accident is a function of the mass of the vehicle times its acceleration, so the faster the car is going, the more powerful the collision will be. Drunk drivers frequently drive at excessive speeds far beyond what is safe, without appreciating how fast they are going.
- Many times in a car accident, the negligent driver will become aware they are about to crash and take actions to prevent the accident or minimize the impact by slamming on the brakes or steering onto the shoulder. Too often, drunk drivers don’t realize they are about to crash until after the fact, increasing the frequency and intensity of the collision.
- Inattention and impaired judgment go hand in hand with drinking and driving. Drunk drivers will drift off into their own thoughts and forget they are driving, or they might even fall asleep at the wheel. When they do wake up or regain attention, they are likely to overreact and make a bad decision like jerking the wheel so hard they lose control of the vehicle or swerve into oncoming traffic.
- Drunk drivers cause crashes by their unpredictable behavior. They drift, weave, or swerve out of their lane, they change lanes without signaling, they slow down or stop for no reason, they stop inside intersections and too far before intersections. Driving predictably and signaling intentions are key to safe driving, but drunk drivers lack these skills and cause accidents because of it.
Because drunk driving car accidents are so severe, accident victims suffer enormous costs. Often they need extensive emergency medical care at the scene and transportation to the hospital via ambulance or airlifting. After a long hospitalization comes an even longer period of rehabilitation. In addition to the medical bills, accident victims are likely to be out of work during this time, facing a loss of income and falling behind on other bills. Then there is the pain and suffering and the emotional trauma of living through a horrific crash, which can leave victims with lingering nightmares, fear of driving or riding in a car, or PTSD. All of these damages can be recoverable from the drunk driver and their insurance company, provided you are represented by an attorney who is capable of proving the driver’s negligence and is dedicated to recovering the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf.
Drunk Driving Is Negligent Driving
Drinking and driving is not just dangerous; it’s against the law. In California, it’s illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. If you are a commercial driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the limit is .04%, regardless of whether you are driving commercially at the time or not. For drivers under 21, the limit is .01%; they cannot drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their systems. This is California’s zero-tolerance law.
When people cause an injury by breaking a safety law, they are said to be “negligent per se,” and this principle applies to driving under the influence. A person convicted of DUI is presumed to be negligent without having to prove any other facts against the drunk driver.
People can also be arrested for DUI with less than .08 BAC if the police observe other evidence of impaired driving, such as what might happen in a crash. Whether the driver was arrested for DUI or not, though, or if they were arrested but not convicted, evidence that they were drinking can still be valuable evidence against them in a civil claim for damages. It is easier to hold someone civilly liable than it is to convict them under a criminal law, so while a conviction can be helpful to your case, the lack of a conviction shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing a claim for compensation from them.
It is also a misconception that insurance companies won’t cover drunk drivers who chose to drink and drive. While drinking and driving might be an intentional act, getting into an accident isn’t, and insurance companies cover their drivers who get into accidents even if their intoxication is the cause.
Insurance companies might not cover punitive damages, which are additional damages levied against people who engage in especially reckless conduct or willfully engage in conduct they know is likely to result in harm. This could apply to drunk driving auto accidents, and many times the courts have held that punitive damage awards are appropriate against drunk drivers. Even if insurers don’t have to pay punitive damages, they do have a duty to defend and protect their insureds, so they have an incentive to settle out of court for a higher amount to avoid having their insured stuck with punitive damages in a jury trial.
Help Is Here for Drunk Driving Accident Victims in Los Angeles and San Bernardino
The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. goes to great lengths to hold drunk drivers and other negligent drivers accountable to the people they have harmed through their negligence or recklessness. If you or a loved one has been hurt or worse in an accident with a drunk driver in Los Angeles or San Bernardino County, call The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. for a consultation. We are available to take your call anytime in English or Spanish, and we only charge a fee if we are successful in recovering compensation on your behalf.