Injured by a drunk driver in California? Contact our Sacramento DUI accident lawyers for a free consultation about your case.
Because criminal charges are usually involved, drunk driving accidents tend to be handled a little differently from a civil standpoint than straightforward personal injury cases. Felony DUI, the charge that most drunk drivers incur when they cause death or injury to an innocent person, is a crime that carries potentially serious penalties, including long jail sentences and heavy fines. However, although the criminal penalties may be stiff, the criminal court does not address victim compensation.
In order to collect damages from a drunk driver, the victim must file a lawsuit in civil court. The outcome of the criminal case does not change or impact the civil lawsuit. In most cases, negligence is evident, meaning that the victims have a strong case in civil court. However, the civil case can be complicated by the criminal matter in practical terms, particularly if the driver is sent to jail for an extended period of time. A personal injury attorney must be able to navigate the realities of both legal actions in order to recover damages for the victim.
The experienced DUI car accident attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C., are ready to help you recover damages as soon as possible after your injuries. Located in Sacramento, the attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C., have experience in navigating the complicated legal process of holding drunk drivers financially responsible for their actions.
With any injury, the first and most important step is to notify the authorities and get immediate medical attention. You should document every aspect of your injury, from your medical records to police reports. This will help your attorney recover damages more easily. Obtain contact information for witnesses and take detailed notes, with photographs, if possible, of the accident scene.
Whatever you do, do NOT discuss your case with an insurance company prior to speaking with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate your case, while an insurance company will probably pressure you to settle quickly for a very small amount of money.
It is complicated, but it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim against a drunk driver. The attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C., have years of experience in working with wrongful death claims.
One question that frequently arises after a DUI accident is: how can I receive compensation from a drunk driver if the driver has no money? There are many ways to get compensation from a drunk driver that do not involve directly collecting from the driver, including:
- The insurance company that provides liability coverage for the driver;
- Your own insurance company, if the driver has no insurance, under your uninsured motorist policy;
- The employer or the employer’s insurance company if the driver was on the job at the time of the accident;
- A friend or relative who loaned a vehicle to the driver;
- Any establishment that served alcohol to the intoxicated driver, under certain circumstances.
Demas Law Group, P.C., offers a free initial consultation so that you can learn the facts about your drunk driving lawsuit. You may be surprised to learn that you have options for collecting damages from the driver who injured you.
Can I still file a lawsuit if the other driver was legally intoxicated but I was partially at fault?
California observes something known as the rule of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence means that even if you are partially responsible for an accident, you may still be able to collect a portion of the damages to which you would have been entitled had you been completely without fault.
As an example, suppose that you sued a drunk driver and the jury determined you were entitled to $100,000 in damages. If the jury felt you were 30 percent responsible for the crash, you would then receive $70,000 instead of $100,000. Your monetary award would be reduced by the amount of fault you had in the accident.
You have a limited time to file a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver, so Demas Law Group, P.C., attorneys usually advise you to proceed with your civil case prior to the conclusion of the criminal case. While the civil case does not hinge on the results of the criminal case, a conviction may strengthen your civil claim.
If you believe you have been a victim of a drunk driving accident and are entitled to damages, we strongly encourage you to contact us at Demas Law Group, P.C., for a free, no-obligation consultation. You may also want to visit our General FAQs section for information on personal injury claims and the types of damages that are available. Do not wait, as the time for filing a personal injury lawsuit is limited.
Where can I obtain more information about the impact of drunk driving accidents and access victim support resources?
Demas Law Group, P.C., is a proud supporter of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, also known as MADD. We often refer clients to MADD for support services, which can help victims of drunk driving accidents tremendously. For more information about how MADD can help, visit www.madd.org. You may also want to explore the resources available at Advocates Against Impaired Driving, or AAID, located on the web at www.aaidonline.org.
This literature may be considered attorney advertising or an offer of professional services, according to rule 1-400 Rules of Professional Conduct by the State Bar of California. The information does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your potential legal matter.