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Drunk Driving Accident

San Jose Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident in San Jose, CA?

The state of California maintains strict laws on driving under the influence, particularly when it concerns drunk driving. This is primarily due to the fact that alcohol can have a significant impact on the driving skills of an individual attempting to drive under the influence. After a car accident caused by a drunk driver occurs, the legal attention generally tends to be focused on providing defense to the person that stands to be guiltily charged with DUI. However, there should be more focus placed on the driver and passengers that were hurt in the process. At Habbas & Associates, we aim to represent the individuals who were wrongfully harmed in drunk driving accidents in San Jose. If you have been injured in an accident of this type, then you should not hesitate to contact a San Jose personal injury lawyer from our firm as soon as possible.

Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers

Intoxicated drivers are unpredictable when on the road. Inebriation will cloud their judgment and make worsen motor control. Any other motorist near a drunk driver will have an extremely difficult time knowing what to do to avoid a crash. If a collision does occur, then the damage and injuries caused by it can be severe since the victim will have little or no reaction time to try to mitigate the impact.

Injuries in drunk driving accidents often include:

How Alcohol Impairs Driving Skills

Alcohol can significantly impair driving abilities due to its effects on the body and brain. Here’s how alcohol can impact driving:

  • Slowed Reaction Time: Alcohol affects the brain's processing speed, delaying your reaction time to potential hazards on the road. It takes longer for your brain to process information and send signals to your muscles to react appropriately.
  • Reduced Coordination and Motor Skills: Alcohol affects fine motor skills, making it difficult to perform precise movements required for steering, braking, and maintaining proper control of the vehicle.
  • Blurry Vision: Alcohol can impair vision by slowing eye muscle function and affecting eye movement control, leading to blurry or double vision.
  • Reduced Peripheral Vision: Intoxication can narrow your field of vision, limiting your ability to see objects or vehicles in your peripheral vision, increasing the risk of missing important visual cues while driving.
  • Impaired Judgment: Alcohol affects your ability to make sound judgments and decisions, leading to risky behaviors like speeding, tailgating, or making reckless maneuvers on the road.
  • Overconfidence: Alcohol can also lead to overestimating one's capabilities, making a person believe they are fit to drive when they're not, leading to poor choices.
  • Balance Issues: Alcohol affects your body's ability to maintain balance and coordination, which can impact your ability to control the vehicle and react to sudden changes in traffic or road conditions.
  • Risk-Taking Behavior: Alcohol can reduce inhibitions, leading to riskier driving behavior such as speeding, ignoring traffic signals, or following other vehicles too closely.
  • Increased Fatigue: Alcohol can exacerbate feelings of tiredness or drowsiness, further impairing cognitive abilities and increasing the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.

The combination of these effects significantly diminishes a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair driving skills, so it's crucial to avoid drinking and driving entirely for the safety of yourself and others on the road.

Drunk Driving Laws in California

For drivers who are 21 years old or older, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. If a driver's BAC level is at or above this limit, they are considered legally intoxicated.

On the other hand, for drivers under the age of 21, California has a "Zero Tolerance" law. This means that any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a vehicle is illegal.

Penalties for a first DUI offense in California can include fines, license suspension, mandatory DUI school attendance, and possible jail time. Penalties increase for subsequent DUI offenses, including longer license suspensions, mandatory jail time, and in some cases, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender's vehicle. Harsher penalties may apply if certain aggravating factors are present, such as excessive speeding, causing accidents, or having a minor under 14 in the vehicle while driving under the influence.

If a person is driving under the influence and causes an accident, they can be held liable for the damages and injuries resulting from the crash. Being intoxicated while driving is a clear violation of the law and often results in the drunk driver being assigned a significant portion, if not all, of the liability for the accident.

Criminal Evidence in DUI Injury Claims

A person who drives while intoxicated is committing a crime in California and every other state. They will need to answer to the criminal justice system and perhaps the Department of Motor Vehicles for the criminal misconduct that put themselves and others in danger. However, they will not be held liable for any injuries they caused you in a drunk driving crash unless you bring a claim against them.

Drivers who are convicted of drunk driving are not guaranteed to be found liable for any accident they cause. It is also likely that the criminal court handling their case will not order the defendant to pay any restitution if convicted. Typically, damages paid to the accident victims are left up to civil claims and, if the matter reaches litigation, civil courts.

Evidence used in a criminal case can benefit your civil claim, though, such as:

  • Police reports: The words of the police officers who arrested the drunk driver should have been recorded in police reports. Our attorneys are familiar with local law enforcement agencies, so we know how to retrieve copies of useful reports to build a claim. We can also investigate if there are any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results available.
  • Testimonies: In-court testimonies used to reach a conviction can be powerful pieces of evidence to use in your civil claim. Even though the criminal court system is intentionally left separate from the civil court system, evidence of wrongdoing used in one court can be presented in the other by an experienced lawyer.
  • Conviction: Lastly, a DUI conviction can be convincing to an insurance adjuster or a court handling a personal injury claim. Essentially, if a criminal court of law was convinced that the defendant was driving while dangerously intoxicated, then it makes sense to assume that a civil court should reach the same conclusion and assign significant or complete liability to the drunk driver. California uses pure comparative negligence laws, which means you can earn more compensation the less liable you are found for your own injuries.

California Dram Shop & Social Host Liability Laws

If you have been injured by a drunk driver in an accident caused by negligence, it is possible that a third party could also be responsible for the driver’s intoxication. Dram shop laws hold establishments like bars, restaurants, or liquor stores liable for injuries or damages caused by individuals who were served alcohol unlawfully (such as serving someone who is visibly intoxicated).

However, California's dram shop laws are limited. Generally, the state doesn’t hold establishments liable for injuries caused by individuals who were served alcohol, even if they were visibly intoxicated, except in specific circumstances involving minors. Therefore, if an underage drunk driver causes a an accident, the establishment who served the minor prior to the crash can be held liable.

Additionally, if a social host provides alcohol to a minor (someone under 21), they can be held legally responsible for any injuries or damages caused by the intoxicated minor. Social hosts can also be held liable if they provide alcohol to someone they know to be "obviously intoxicated" and that person later causes harm to themselves or others due to their intoxication.

 
Hear It From Our CLients.

Testimonials

  • "She made the whole process smooth and simple. She fought to get me what I deserved when a drunk driver crashed into me. I will recommend her and the team at Habbas and Associates to everyone I know!"
    Grace T.
  • "We are extremely happy with the seamless experience that they provided. All in all, you'd wish you never have to run into any injury situations but if you do then Habbas law firm is the place to go."
    Neil T.
  • They do everything possible to help you get through tough times.

    Daniel L.
  • "I’m so glad I found this law firm and extremely happy with the results. Very highly recommended them to family and friends. If you or a loved one needs help, don’t hesitate to call them!"
    AJ B.
  • "My case was settled at mediation for approximately $950,000.00 within a short time after a lawsuit was filed. I can't say enough about how much Mr. Habbas and his firm care about their clients. I will always refer anyone I know to them."
    Roberta S.

Protecting Victims of Drunk Drivers in San Jose

No matter what type of car accident you were involved in there should be no question as to your need for sound legal representation as you attempt to address the matters at hand. Drunk drivers need to be held responsible for their actions and any persons injured or harmed in any way should be duly compensated for the damages they incurred. At Habbas & Associates that is exactly what we are here to make sure happens for the clients we serve. When you need steadfast legal representation in the face of an accident that has left you injured, you can reliably turn to the associates at our firm for the legal support and guidance you will need to get you through this difficult time.

For years, we have been providing injured residents in San Jose, Modesto, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, and Rocklin with the legal representation they need to effectively seek compensation for the damages incurred in a car accident of any sort. By taking the time to contact our firm, you will be setting yourself up for a brighter future, as we know what it takes to affect positive results, particularly in cases involving drunk driving accidents. As you navigate your way through the legal process of bringing to light a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drunk driver, you will undoubtedly benefit from the legal know-how and effective skillset employed by personal injury lawyers at our firm. From beginning to end, we will be by your side to assist you through all of the legal procedures involved in your case. When you need it most, we will be there for you.

To learn more, contact a San Jose drunk driving accident attorney from Habbas & Associates today.

They do everything possible to help you get through tough times.
Daniel L.
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