A man police suspect of driving drunk was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash in which his passenger was also injured, according to authorities. The accident occurred across from Valley Oaks Elementary School when a 2000 Toyota Echo crashed into a pole. The unconscious passenger was wearing his seat belt and was taken to an area hospital with undisclosed injuries. He was identified only as a male in his twenties. The driver, 24-year-old Luis Valencia of Galt, who was not belted in, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Drunk Driving Takes Thousands of Lives
Every year, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes thousands of fatalities and injuries. In the United States, it is estimated that one in three people will be involved in a DUI-related accident at some point in their lives, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. According to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System, more than 1,000 people died in California in 2011 in DUI crashes and another 16,500 were injured.
Clearly, DUI-related crashes are a significant factor in personal injury and wrongful death. Anyone who has been injured in such a crash may be entitled to compensation.
What If I Am Riding With the Drunk Driver?
Many people believe that if they are riding with a driver who is drunk they will not be able to collect damages if they are injured. This is not always the case, however. In many instances, passengers who are riding with impaired drivers have been able to recover damages for injuries resulting from the accident. Family members have also been able to collect damages under wrongful death suits against drivers who killed a loved one in a drunken crash, even if the deceased victim was riding in the car with the drunk driver of his or her own free will.
However, that being said, it is never safe to ride with a drunk driver. Always use a designated driver whenever you are out attending any type of social gathering. The designated driver should drink no alcohol at all to be on the safe side.
A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and how you may be able to collect damages as the result of DUI crash.