A car accident with a drunk driver can have life-long implications. Survivors often have to bear serious physical and emotional injuries, which translate to high treatment costs over a long time. Moreover, families throughout Santa Ana have had to bear the loss of loved ones.
But while a car crash can be accidental, a drunk driver must be held accountable for operating while intoxicated. Fortunately, state and federal laws allow accident victims or surviving family members to seek compensation for the damages.
Did you or a loved one sustain injuries from an accident caused by a drunk driver? The experienced Santa Ana car accident attorneys at Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers can relieve you from part of the burden and fight for what you deserve. Contact us to begin.
How Bad Is the Drunk Driving Problem in Santa Ana?
Thanks to the notable efforts by community sensitization groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), the US has seen a staggering reduction in DUI accident fatalities from a decade ago. However, the problem still exists. In fact, DUI-related incidents in Santa Ana and the rest of Orange County are on the rise again.
On average, the city records 308 DUI arrests for every 100,000 people.
Ideally, individuals who have been drinking should use public transport, pay for rideshare services, or have a designated driver. But some drivers ignore the laws and end up subjecting innocent road users to severe injuries and expensive healthcare services.
Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Crash in Santa Ana?
In California, DUI accident liability can vary depending on the circumstances of the crash. Generally, the intoxicated driver is considered liable for any resultant damages.
However, other parties may share liability for such an accident. For instance, if the driver was overserved alcohol at a bar or restaurant before the crash, the establishment in question may share some liability. This is called “dram shop liability.”
Similarly, their employer may share some liability if the intoxicated driver operated a company vehicle during the crash. Firms can forget to screen a workers’ substance abuse issues and potentially be held responsible for the actions of employees on-duty.
Ultimately, determining liability for a drunk driving crash can be a complex process that involves examining the case in detail. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Santa Ana, speaking with an experienced car accident attorney is important for apt guidance.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases Against Drunk Drivers
Here, the state or federal government prosecutes the motorist for violating criminal law. A criminal case seeks to punish the driver for their actions.
In civil drunk driving cases, the victim of a DUI accident sues the driver for damages. The case seeks to compensate the victim for their losses and make them whole again. Civil cases do not involve taking away a driver’s freedoms, but ensure they’re responsible for the harm they caused.
Notably, criminal and civil cases can run simultaneously, and the outcome of a DUI conviction can serve as proof that the driver was under the influence and therefore negligent and liable for the victim’s injuries in a civil case.
How Much Compensation Is Available to Drunk Driving Accident Victims?
California’s state laws and federal guidelines don’t define a specific amount of compensation for victims of accidents involving intoxicated drivers. Instead, the possible compensation varies based on the extent of damage, the resulting healthcare costs, and the amount of property damage.
The legal remedies for drunk driving accident claims typically include compensatory and punitive damages.
These damages compensate the victim or their family members for the actual harm or loss they have suffered from the DUI accident. Compensatory damages can include medical costs, lost income, property damage, therapy costs, pain and suffering, scarring, and PTSD.
These don’t compensate the plaintiff for their losses but are intended to punish the driver for their conduct and to deter similar demeanor in the future. They’re rare, but are awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior was principally egregious or reckless.
Help for Victims From a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
While the law allows you to seek compensation from the liable driver, the process has multiple hurdles. Our team can aid your car accident claim against a drunk driver by providing legal advice and representation.
We can help your case in the following ways:
- Investigation: We’ll investigate the accident, including collecting proof, interviewing bystanders, and involving reconstruction specialists to determine fault.
- Evaluation: We’ll evaluate the full extent of your injuries and the damages resulting from the accident.
- Negotiation: Our attorneys are seasoned negotiators and can discuss with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for fair compensation.
- Legal guidance: A small mistake could harm your case significantly, but our lawyers can guide all your steps and answer all your questions.
- Representation: If your DUI accident claim goes to court, our attorneys can represent you and advocate for your interests before a judge or jury.
Request Your Free Case Evaluation
You’re entitled to fair compensation if you’ve suffered injuries and lost your quality of life after an accident caused by a drunk driver. The experienced Santa Ana DUI accident attorneys at Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers have handled similar cases to yours and know what it takes to succeed. We’ll evaluate your case for free.
Call us today to schedule your case assessment.