Watch out for drunk drivers on Memorial Day! Every year, over 30,000 people in California sustain serious injuries in alcohol and drug-related car accidents. The blood alcohol (BAC) legal requirements for driving under the influence vary based on the driver's age and whether the vehicle is private or commercial. Individuals who get behind the wheel of a car are much more likely to cause an accident as their reaction time is slower and their judgment is impaired. Drunk driving accidents are typically more serious and cause serious injuries.
Why is Memorial Day So Dangerous? Holidays have long been known to be the most deadly times to be on the road. Memorial Day is not only a holiday – it also starts the “One Hundred Deadliest Days of Driving” for teens. Teen driver deaths increase dramatically between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when school is out and more young drivers are on the road. Nine of the ten deadliest days for youth on U.S. highways occur between May and August.
In addition to holiday traffic and teen drivers, Memorial Day traffic fatalities have increased even more since 2009. Oddly, this is due to the economy: when the recession started after the mortgage crisis of 2008, fewer drivers were on the road. As the economy slowly recovered over the next years, more and more drivers came back on the roads. More drivers equates to more accidents. All this has taken a toll: Memorial Day 2016 was projected to be the deadliest since 2009.
At Injury Justice Law Firm LLP, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have no sympathy for individuals who make a conscience decision to drink and drive. If you have been injured in a car accident with someone who was driving under the influence, our injury lawyers will aggressively hold them accountable by helping you get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from your job, and pain and suffering. If you are the victim of an injury caused by a drunken driver, your first step is to get in touch our drunk driving accident attorneys to review your case and discuss legal options.
Common Signs of Drunk Drivers
Los Angeles area law enforcement agencies (including the LA County Sheriff's Office, the LAPD, and the California Highway Patrol) stage aggressive campaigns to target drunk driving over the Memorial Day weekend. It comes as no surprise that holidays lead to more drunk drivers on the road. Keep an eye out for dangerous driving, and report drivers you suspect of being drunk. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, these are some of the signs to look for:
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Quick acceleration or deceleration
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Drifting in and out of lanes
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Erratic braking (or stopping without cause)
- Driving slower than ten miles per hour below the posted speed limit
- Straddling the center lane marker
- Driving without headlights at night
- Abrupt turns
Drunk Driving Civil Lawsuits in California
Injuries caused by a drunk driver are often the subject in civil suits in Los Angeles. While the driver can face DUI charges that may result in serious legal penalties, they can also face civil liability from the victim who has a legal right to pursue a claim in civil court in order to recover monetary damages. While a conviction for DUI in a criminal court may help in your civil lawsuit, a conviction is not necessary to file a civil claim. If you or a member of your family have been injured or killed by someone who was driving under the influence, pursuing a civil lawsuit could be your best option to recover damages for your losses.
It's important to note that any civil lawsuit for drunk driving injuries are a completely different process from a criminal proceeding the drunk driver could potentially face. An individual can face driving under the influence charges even if there was no accident or injuries involved. A separate civil lawsuit due to drunk driving can come in the form of an injury lawsuit which is filed by the victim of a drunk driver. In an unfortunate case of a fatality, the victim's relatives can file a suit to recover damages.
If you sustained injuries caused by a drunk driver, a civil lawsuit can sometimes be your only course of action in an attempt to recover your cost for medical treatment, damaged property, lost wages or any other economic damages. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Drunk Driving Accidents?
In California, there are a variety of parties that can be held accountable for drunk driving accidents. Obviously, the driver themselves is responsible for their behavior. They made the decision to drive their car after consuming alcohol. Bad decisions often carry consequences. The people who host a party where alcohol is served may also be liable in a situation where their guest was the cause of a drunk driving accident. This is especially true if it can be shown the host provided alcohol to their guest after it was clear they were already intoxicated. It may also be possible to hold a bar or restaurant owner liable for a drunk driving accident as it's their responsibility to stop serving customers alcohol after they appear intoxicated.
What to Do if You are Injured in an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver
Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of others, and history suggests that there will be a significant number of drunk drivers over the holiday weekend and that some of them will cause serious accidents. As a result, it is important to know what to do to protect your legal rights after a wreck. Here are some of the steps that you should take in the unfortunate event that you are hurt by a drunk driver:
- Call the Police – If suspect that the other driver in your accident is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should call the police immediately. If the police also believe that the driver is drunk, they will in all likelihood perform sobriety testing that could be used as evidence in your personal injury claim.
- Collect Information about the Accident – You should take notes about the accident and the way in which it occurred. Make sure to obtain the other driver's name and insurance information as well as the license plate numbers of all vehicles involved. If anyone witnessed your accident, make sure to ask them for contact information. Also, make notes about anything that you think may have caused or contributed to your crash, including weather conditions, preexisting vehicle damage, or road defects.
- See a Physician – You should always see a doctor after you have been involved in a car crash. Doing so will make sure that your injuries are documented and that you start treatment as soon as you possible. Also, it is very important to fully commit to all recommended treatment to maximize your recovery.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact the Injury Justice Law Firm today. We handle both DUI and non-DUI cases. After you contact our law firm after a drunk driving accident, we will thoroughly investigate the accident and any contributing factors that caused the car crash. Afterwards, we can aggressively fight to recover your damages for your accident related expenses.
Our personal injury law firm in Los Angeles does not change any fees unless we win your case and receive a settlement. This means there is no risk to pursue a civil lawsuit for your drunk driving accident. Our experienced team will ensure that your case is pursued aggressively and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call 310-734-7974 to schedule your free consultation.