Although the rates of illegal drunk driving have decreased over the years – thanks in large part to national ad campaigns and to ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft – too many Californians still report getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that over 471,589 licensed drivers in the Golden state had admitted to driving after too many drinks.
While not every drunk driver will cause a serious car accident, the risks are significantly steeper than for sober drivers. That means that you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a drunk driver when you’ve been injured as a result of their extreme negligence. Because this behavior is illegal, you may even be able to seek a rare form of compensation called “punitive damages” when you’ve been hurt.
Understanding Fault in Drunk Driving Accidents
Much like any other car accident lawsuit, the liability for your accident will largely depend on who is found “at fault.” In California, the rule of pure comparative negligence means that fault is always distributed proportionally – so if you were partially to blame for your accident, your percentage of the total settlement or outcome would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Of course, drunk driving is almost always considered to be the primary source of fault in an accident, with a few exceptions. It’s also widely known that there are serious risks associated with that behavior, particularly since licensed drivers must discuss drunk driving laws when taking their qualifying exams.
How Do I Seek Damages?
Insurance companies know that drunk driving accidents tend to cost more, so when you initially file a claim, you may receive a moderate settlement sum right off the bat. However, because drunk driving accidents tend to cause catastrophic injuries at a higher rate than normal car accidents, it’s very unlikely that this will be enough to cover for your medical expenses, time off work, lost future wages, and pain and suffering.
In order to determine how much your drunk driving case is worth, speak with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If there is evidence that the other driver was “grossly negligent,” you may even be able to pursue punitive damages, which can result in significantly higher compensation awards.
Our attorneys at Habbas & Associates are ready to hear your story, and we never back down from a fight. No matter if we’re negotiating with insurance companies or arguing for your case in court, we’ll apply over 200 years of experience to getting you the best possible outcome on your claim.
Ready to speak with our legal team? Call (888) 387-4053 today.