Getting hit by drunk driver can be devastating to the victim and the victim’s family. With the physical injuries comes additional anguish knowing the driver was impaired. At Maison Law, we strongly feel those in Visalia should be able to drive without the risk of being struck by a drunk driver.
We also believe that when it happens, justice demands that the injured be fully compensated under the law. Because of these beliefs, we are passionate about helping those injured by the needless acts of a drunk driver.
Drunk Driving Aftermath
Drunk drivers leave pain and damage in their wake, and the injured have to rely on EMS workers, police and the courts to pick up the pieces. In our system, a person can be criminally charged with a DUI, and then sued in a civil court for monetary damages. Generally speaking, the two parts of justice don’t affect the other as the criminal courts and civil courts are separate.
Because of this, a victim of a DUI can’t rely on the criminal system to gives them all of the justice they have a right to under the law. To make the person financially whole again, California law allows the victim to sue in a civil court to get financial compensation for their injuries.
Visalia Civil DUI Claims
Just because one is injured in an accident where the other driver was intoxicated, it doesn’t mean that the injured person will automatically get compensation for their injuries. Rather the victim will need to make a case that the driver was negligent in his or her driving and that the negligence was the cause of the injuries.
To prove negligence the injured person must prove that the other driver acted carelessly and without due regard for other’s safety. This means that while on top of being impaired, the person did something negligent and careless, like ran a red light or turned in front of a car that had the right-of-way.
Once the other driver is proven negligent, then the court can award the victim damages for property and bodily injury. Property damages are things like a motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle and any personal items in the car that were destroyed or damaged in the accident.
Bodily injury includes all the financial costs that came from the accident. Some financial costs are obvious like medical bills and missed time from work, while others are more tangible like pain and suffering and mental anguish for the victim and in some cases members of the victim’s family.
Some of the common damages sought in a DUI cases are:
- Medical Bills
- Lost time from work
- Travel to and from treatment
- Loss of future income
- Vocational retraining
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Quality of Life
- Permanent Disability
- Permanent Disfigurement
Punitive Damages are awarded on top of all other monetary damages and are allowed in cases where the at-fault person was engaged in “oppression, fraud or malice”. In California, the Supreme Court included impaired driving as conduct that could allow for punitive damages.
This will allow the victim to recover more than just the usual damages allowed by the law. If the court does award punitive damages, then the insurance company for the at-fault driver will have to pay those as well up to the policy limits.
Contact a Visalia Car Accident Lawyer
After any accident involving a serious injury, speak to an experienced Visalia car accident lawyer such as Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and the personalized attention to detail their case deserves.