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Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Irvine
Drunk drivers injure and kill other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists at an alarming rate. While anti-drunk driving campaigns and public safety awareness programs have been successful over the years, drunk driving is still a big problem in California and throughout the country. The cost of driving while intoxicated measured by economic losses in human tragedy is almost too much to calculate. Additionally, people who have been injured by a drunk driver often experience severe injuries, frustration, and emotional trauma. If you've been injured in a car accident due to a drunk driver, you need to contact a drunk driving accident lawyer Irvine immediately. While a drunk driver may be criminally charged for driving while intoxicated, that trial will not include compensation for your injuries. As the injured victim, you can also hold the drunk driver accountable for their reprehensible actions by filing a claim with their insurance company or taking them to court. If you have suffered serious injuries as the result of a drunk driving accident, now is the time to act and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions.
Hiring a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Irvine, CA
If your auto accident was caused by an intoxicated driver then your case will have another level of complexity compared to a typical passenger car accident case. Because of this, you need an Irvine car accident lawyer in your corner. You can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver for pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses, and property damage. Additionally, you may also be able to pursue punitive damages.
In most cases, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is considered reckless and dangerous, which satisfies the punitive damage standard. These damages are designed to punish the at-fault driver for their bad conduct, in addition to deterring similar conduct by other drivers in the future.
Building a Case Against the At-Fault Driver
In some cases, the drunk driver who caused the accident and your injuries may not have adequate insurance coverage, or they may not be insured. Drunk driving accidents are often very complex, which is why it's important to hire a competent and knowledgeable California drunk driving auto accident lawyer to represent your interests.
Uninsured & Underinsured Claims
When you're faced with an underinsured or uninsured driver, you may need to pursue a personal injury claim against your insurance company. These claims are known as an underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist claims. These claims are often very complex since they are contractual claims against your own insurer. In these situations, you may find yourself embroiled in litigation and at odds with your own insurance company. The insurance company that you've paid premiums to and thought was on your side will all of a sudden become your adversary. Your insurance company will not want to pay out a large settlement, even though you're an accident victim. However, if the at-fault driver is not insured or they do not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your damages, this legal option may be available to you.
Dram Shop Claims & Third-Party Negligence
Victims of California drunk drivers can also pursue financial compensation from the business of an employee who overserved the drunk driver. This is known as a dram shop claim or liquor liability claim. When a social host, restaurant, tavern, or bar serves alcohol to someone after they have become intoxicated and that person drives, crashing and causing a serious accident, then the provider of the alcohol can be held liable. However, claims against negligent businesses have their own set of complications. Typically, there's a heightened burden of proof in dram shop claims, which can make it very difficult to prove. Additionally, witnesses and video evidence from the bar can be hard to come by unless the claim is quickly investigated.
Wrongful Death Claims in a Drunk Driving Accident in Orange County, California
When an accident victim of the drunk driver dies due to the injuries that were sustained in the auto accident, then the victim's personal injury claim becomes a wrongful death claim. In Irvine, California, wrongful death cases have additional requirements. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in California is two years from the date of the decedent's passing. Surviving family members, such as the spouse, can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver and receive compensation that can cover the cost of loss of income, funeral expenses, medical costs, and more.
What Should I Do After A Drunk Driving Accident?
Right after a drunk driving accident, you should contact 911 as soon as possible if you believe you or another person on the scene is injured. Not only will emergency responders arrive at the scene, but police officers will as well. If you believe that the other driver is intoxicated, it's crucial to have police officers on the scene who will be able to investigate the situation and arrest the driver if needed. The police will also file a police report that states their observations in addition to suspicions regarding who was at fault and the driver's level of intoxication.
Document the Details of the Accident
Whether you remain on the scene or go to the hospital, you must write down everything you can remember from the accident. Did you notice the driver was swerving before the accident? Did the driver have their headlights on? Was the driver driving erratically? Any details you write down can help your case.
After the accident, while you're still on the scene, take photos of the damage done to all vehicles involved, photos of your injuries, any debris in the streets, faulty or missing traffic signs and lights, and anything else you believe could have contributed to the accident. These photos will be used as evidence in your claim.
Even if you do not believe that you were seriously injured, you will still need to head to the emergency room immediately after you've been cleared by the police to leave the scene. At the emergency room, a doctor can order all of the appropriate tests to assess your condition and document your injuries. Your medical records will be used as evidence in your auto accident claim. It's also important to make an appointment to see your primary doctor as soon as possible. You must follow all of your doctor’s treatment instructions and share your treatment needs with your lawyer. If you fail to make it to all of your doctor’s appointments and do not continue to seek recommended treatment, an insurance company can argue that you are not as seriously injured as you claim you are.
Avoid Speaking to an Insurance Company
Shortly after the accident, the at-fault driver's insurance company will contact you. They will request to record your statement and ask you about the events surrounding the accident. Their goal is to get you to admit you were partially or fully at fault for the accident so they will not have to pay you a large settlement, or so they can deny your claim altogether. An insurance company is not on your side. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. They are trained negotiators who will get you to say something that can potentially harm your claim. Because of this, you must speak to an attorney before you talk to the at-fault driver's insurance company. An attorney will take over all communication with the insurance adjuster or they will help you prepare your statement using only factual information.
Contact an Attorney
Contact a drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can immediately begin investigating the case, and will visit the scene of the accident, obtain any documentation available, and will handle all communication with the insurance company.
After an auto accident involving a drunk driver, some of the most important evidence can be gathered by police officers. The police will conduct tests to determine whether or not the driver was driving while intoxicated. These tests can include blood tests, breath tests, and field sobriety tests. The findings of these tests are often used in any criminal case against the driver for a DUI charge.
Any criminal case is a completely separate matter from a personal injury claim in civil court. In your civil case, if you were able to establish that the driver violated a safety law, such as driving while intoxicated, you will be able to establish negligence. This means that the judge will not require you to provide additional evidence to prove negligence. However, you will need to prove your damages and losses.
How a Drunk Driving Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you know has been severely injured in a drunk driving accident, contact our experienced Irvine auto accident lawyers. At MVP Accident Attorneys, we have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and insurance adjusters and have a reputation for winning the best settlements for our clients. We can also determine whether or not a lawsuit will be a better course of action and can help you get the most in damages due to the injuries that you have sustained.
Personal injury lawyers are well versed in handling all types of auto accident cases. Our team will work hard and will thoroughly investigate all of the facts that surround a case, which can include gathering important evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and police reports. Our team of lawyers will also utilize the services of experts such as accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and economists.
Typically, a drunk driving accident will involve a driver who has had multiple DUI convictions, high blood alcohol levels, drunk driving charges, and reckless driving charges, all of which can be important factors in determining the settlement you’re entitled to.
Contact the MVP Accident Attorneys to Schedule A Consultation
At MVP Accident Attorneys, we will fight for your rights, guide you through this complex legal process, and provide compassionate legal support. Our Irvine drunk driving accident lawyers will work tirelessly to negotiate a fair settlement. If the settlement negotiations fall apart, we will be prepared to take your case to court and fight aggressively for the fair compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help.