Irvine Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens share the road with intoxicated drivers. Studies from the CDC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that drunk driving kills approximately 30 people and injures 800 drivers every day. Most of the time, people arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders and, on average, have driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest.
Motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk driving have devastating effects. Many victims of drunk driving accidents suffer from severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, and paralysis. If you or a loved one has suffered damages from a drunk driving accident in Irvine, California, it is important to seek legal counsel from an Irvine drunk driving accident lawyer.
Drunk Driving Laws in California
In California, different parties have varying legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limits they must not exceed when operating a vehicle. Under California law, if you are pulled over and fall into any of the following categories, you may face DUI charges.
- Under the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher (California has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21; if you are under 21 and any amount of alcohol is detected in your system, you may face a DUI conviction)
- Over the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher
In a DUI claim, intoxicated drivers are held responsible for their choice of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. However, there are other parties that may also hold liability in a drunk driving accident.
Parties That May Be Held Liable in a Drunk Driving Accident
In addition to the drunk driver, there are other parties that may bear some liability for a drunk driving accident. These include:
- Hosts. A host of any party may be found liable for a drunk driving accident if they served drinks to the intoxicated driver after they were clearly inebriated.
- Bar and restaurant staff. Bar and restaurant staff have a responsibility to stop serving patrons that are visibly intoxicated. If they don’t uphold this responsibility, they may be found liable should a drunk driving accident occur.
- Parents of teenage drivers. If the parents of a teenager knowingly allowed teenagers to drink at their house and then drive, they could be held responsible if a drunk driving accident occurs.
Civil and Criminal DUI Cases
Intoxicated drivers are subject to two kinds of legal action: civil and criminal cases.
- Criminal charges are pursued by the state against the intoxicated driver for the criminal offense of a DUI. The consequences of a criminal conviction may include jail time, community service, and license suspension.
- Civil lawsuits are pursued by the victims of DUI accidents. The purpose of a civil lawsuit is to seek compensation for the damages a victim faced as a direct result of the impaired driver.
Most drunk drivers—especially if injuries are involved—will face criminal charges. Criminal charges are pursued by the state and are prosecuted in accordance with state drunk driving laws. Victims of DUI accidents should be aware that criminal convictions do not result in financial compensation. To receive compensation for their damages, victims of DUIs must file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver.
If the drunk driver in your accident is convicted, it can assist your personal injury claim. However, even if the intoxicated driver in your accident is not convicted in criminal court, you can still pursue a civil lawsuit. Civil DUI cases hinge on the injured victim successfully proving that the drunk driver caused the accident and that the accident was the direct cause of their damages.
In civil court, drivers have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to be convicted of a DUI. However, they only have to be proven responsible through a “51 percent” legal standard, or a “more likely than not” rule. This is a much lower bar than they face in criminal court. To best ensure that your civil lawsuit has a favorable outcome, it is imperative to consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Compensation DUI Victims Are Eligible For
Victims of DUI accidents are eligible for compensation for their financial, physical, and emotional damages. Some of the damages that victims of DUI accidents may be able to receive compensation for include:
- Vehicle repairs
- Medical bills
- Mental health treatment
- Loss of present and future income or wages
- Wrongful death of a family member
- Emotional pain and suffering
These are just a few of the damages that a DUI victim may receive compensation for. When you work with a personal injury lawyer, they will explore the specifics surrounding your case and ensure all your damages are accounted for.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Irvine Drunk Driving Lawyer
At Adamson Ahdoot, our skilled team of personal injury lawyers will help you receive the proper financial compensation for your damages. With more than 100 years of combined experience handling DUI personal injury cases in San Jose, our boutique law firm provides an aggressive approach and unwavering support to our clients. We will provide you with peace of mind, deal with your insurance company, and assist you in finding a doctor who is experienced in treating injuries from DUI accidents.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled lawyers in either English or Spanish, call today at (877) 871-3265 or fill out our online contact form.