Drunk Driving Accident Victims
Being in a car accident can be terrifying and leave you feeling helpless and angry, especially if the person at fault for your accident was intoxicated. That driver may face criminal charges, but that does not directly help you recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and expensive medical bills. An auto accident attorney in California can help you file a civil action for compensation.
The Difference between Criminal and Civil Actions in a Drunk Driving Accident
The intoxicated driver may face criminal actions for his operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence. Criminal actions may include penalties such as fines owed to the state and prison time. None of this, however, does anything to compensate the victims of the intoxicated driver. To receive compensation, you need to file a civil action.
However, you can use evidence, such as the driver’s blood alcohol content, gathered in the course of a criminal investigation for your civil action. For example, if at the scene of the accident when the police arrived, the driver’s blood alcohol limit was above the legal limit, that information would show that the driver was impaired and failed to take reasonable care to protect the safety of others on the road.
Below is an overview of legal limit for intoxication in California:
- Commercial driver: .04 percent
- Non-commercial drivers over the age of 21:.08 percent
- Drivers under the age of 21: .02 percent
Pursuing a Civil Action Against a Drunk Driver
In order to recover any damages for injuries to you or your loved one, you will have to pursue a civil action (insurance claim or lawsuit) against the driver who caused the accident. In DUI accident cases, you need to prove:
- The driver was intoxicated and his level of intoxication
- His intoxication made him an unsafe driver and was negligent
- His negligence caused your accident
- You suffered damages
If you can prove these elements, you may be able to recover not only lost wages and medical expenses, but punitive damages as well. Courts may award punitive damages in California to punish someone for their wrongdoing. Such damages could be appropriate under these circumstances.
Below are some other damages an injured party may recover after a DUI-related accident.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical/other types of therapy
- Intangibles such as pain and suffering
In order to determine what actions to pursue and to protect your rights, contact Ryan Sargent at 888-501-6083 if you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident with an intoxicated driver.