Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

The Frightening Truth About DUI Accidents In California

Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs is an alarming problem throughout the United States and the state of California is no exception. In fact, out of the 10,874 deaths resulting from drunk driving across the entire United States in 2017, more than 10% of them occurred within California’s borders.

Recent data published by the Foundation For Advanced Alcohol Responsibility shows some truly frightening statistics about intoxicated drivers traveling on California’s roadways in the midst of innocent motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

  • Just under 123,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in California in 2017.
    • That accounts for 12% of all drunk driving arrests across the United States.
  • 31% of all auto accident fatalities in the state involved drunk drivers.
  • Alcohol-related fatalities per 100k California residents have risen by nearly 10% in the past 10 years.
  • 65% of drunk driving accidents resulting in fatalities involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .15.
    • The legal BAC limit is .08
  • 31% of fatal crashes involving drunk drivers with a BAC of .08 to .14 were repeat offenders.
  • 69% of fatal crashes involving drunk drivers with a BAC of .15 or higher were repeat offenders.

The High Cost Of California Drunk Driving Accidents

According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, motor vehicle fatalities cost the state about $4.48 billion per year when accounting for medical bills and work time lost. With 31% of all fatal accident cases involving alcohol, we can estimate that DUI fatalities cost the state of California approximately $1.4 billion dollars every year. Keep in mind that those figures are only for DUI accidents involving deaths. If we were to expand the costs to include all alcohol-related motor vehicle injuries as well, the costs would be much, much higher.

On a personal level, the sudden financial responsibilities brought on by a DUI accident can become a notable source of stress (to say the least). Even with what would be considered good medical insurance, most people will still have to pay a significant amount of money out of their own pocket to care for someone that has suffered serious injuries in a car accident. Depending on the injuries sustained, medical bills for things like doctor visits, physical therapy, and prescriptions can be more than just expensive, they could quite possibly continue for months or even years after the injuries occur.

Of course, the costs for victims of drivers under the influence of alcohol go far beyond financial expenses. Injuries can include things such as broken bones, facial disfigurement, brain damage, paralysis, internal organ damage, and more. Survivors of drunk driving accidents often have to undergo extensive medical treatment, sometimes requiring one or more surgeries. Many cases involve long recovery times that include painful physical therapy sessions lasting weeks or months. Some drunk driving accident victims are left with lifelong pain and disabilities, and some, unfortunately, don’t survive their injuries.

Whether it’s you, an immediate family member, or a loved one that has been involved in an auto accident with a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the physical and emotional pain that you must endure often far outweigh any financial obstacles.

California DUI Criminal Charges Don’t Help The Victims

The criminal prosecution of a drunk driver can provide some solace and a sense of justice to DUI accident victims and their families. However, even if the driver is convicted, it will do very little to alleviate the pressure caused by mounting medical expenses, emotional distress, and an inability to return to work. Criminal charges and prosecution in criminal court are intended mainly to punish the criminal—in this case, the drunk driver—not to help the victim(s).

How A DUI Accident Attorney Can Help Victims

To get help dealing with the consequences of a DUI accident, you’ll need to enlist the help of an experienced DUI accident lawyer and file a civil lawsuit. A civil case is not just about “making someone pay” for what they did. It’s about recovering compensation for the very real expenses and pain that accident victims suffer.

After you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, you shouldn’t have to also suffer the burden of dealing with all of the financial costs and losses that those injuries bring on. When an accident is someone else’s fault, it is your right to seek fair compensation for the consequences of that accident and, sometimes, punitive damages (a secondary award intended to punish a negligent or reckless defendant for what they have done) as well.

Types Of Damages Drunk Driving Victims Can Claim

As the victim of a DUI accident, you can claim compensation for just about any costs that result or could foreseeably result from injuries and damages sustained in the accident. You may be able to include claims for any or all of the following:

  • Property damage
  • Medical expenses (past, ongoing, and future)
  • Lost wages and/or future employment capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Assistive devices such as wheelchairs or special furniture
  • Modifications to your home such as wheelchair ramps
  • Required modifications to your car such as specialized controls 
  • At-home medical care
  • Wrongful death

Drunk driving victims may also be entitled to punitive damages intended to punish the drunk driver responsible for the car accident and discourage him or her from driving under the influence in the future. In California, punitive damages may be applicable if the victim can prove that the drunk driver showed a conscious disregard for the safety of others by becoming intoxicated even while knowing that he or she would have to operate a motor vehicle afterward.

DUI Is Different From A Common Car Accident

Personal injury claims involving DUI are different from those arising from a common car accident involving two or more sober motorists. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime. Many people feel it’s wrong to even call it an “accident” when an intoxicated driver crashes. There is often clear and indisputable negligence on the part of the intoxicated driver and other parties can contribute to the circumstances surrounding the event as well.

Don’t risk your present and future health and wellbeing by entrusting your legal representation to just the first car accident lawyer you spot on Google. DUI accidents require a personal injury lawyer with specific experience in these types of accidents and knowledge of all the applicable laws to obtain the maximum compensation. Once you settle or receive a verdict, the case is over and you can’t go back for more. You can’t afford to make mistakes.

Speak To An Experienced California Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

At Appel Law Firm LLP, our team of car accident attorneys has more than 60 years of experience litigating California drunk driving cases. We have the knowledge and experience required by these specialized cases to make sure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation and care to which you are entitled. We don’t believe in accepting a settlement just to say we’ve won the case. Our mission is always to get our clients the full monetary award their case deserves.

From the first consultation to the final verdict we’ll be behind you, working tirelessly to take care of all the legal red tape so that you can concentrate on what’s most important—getting healthy and getting on with your life. Our goal is to take as much of the stress off of you as possible and ensure that you are left with no worries about your future.

We encourage you to get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation. There is no charge, and everything is confidential. You can contact us online anytime or call (925) 938-2000 to make an appointment. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your case and explain what we can do to help you.

The drunk driving victim attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP are dedicated to helping San Francisco Bay Area residents receive compensation for injuries and wrongful deaths arising from DUIs and DWI accidents.