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Protecting Your Legal Rights and Interests in a California DUI Car Accident Case

The aftermath of being involved in a drunk driving auto accident can be devastating. If you have been involved in a DUI car accident you may face serious medical issues coupled with significant damage to your property, particularly your own automobile.

Should I hire a Car Accident Attorney?

There are occasions when the guilty party or parties are contested, and that’s when car accident victims start to wonder, “Should I hire attorney after a car crash?” There’s no easy answer, but before you settle your own insurance claim, consider these possibilities.

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Determining Liability after an Auto Accident

Car accident liability is determined by legal concepts that are unique in every region.

The Insurance Claims Process in California

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Car Accident Guide for Los Angeles

The average driver experiences three to four car accidents in their lifetime, so it’s smart to be prepared if it ever happens to you.

Protecting Your Legal Rights and Interests in a California DUI Car Accident Case

Insurance Claims after a DUI Car Accident

The aftermath of being involved in a drunk driving auto accident can be devastating. If you have been involved in a DUI car accident you may face serious medical issues coupled with significant damage to your property, particularly your own automobile.

In addition to addressing the medical issues associated with your injuries, you must also understand your legal rights following a drunk driving auto accident. You must be proactive and take steps to protect these vital interests. At the heart of appropriately guarding your legal rights, is consulting with a drunk driving accident attorney following your incident with an intoxicated driver.

Understanding Compensation in a DUI Accident Personal Injury Case

When you are the victim of any type of car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the closest you can get to true justice is to obtain appropriate, fair compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Compensation sought in a particular case involving an intoxicated driver depends on two key factors:

  • facts and circumstances surrounding the DUI-related accident
  • nature and extent of your injuries, damages, and losses

With this noted, there are certain types of injuries, damages, and losses for which compensation is oftentimes sought in the aftermath of a car accident that arises from the conduct of an intoxicated automobile driver. A skilled personal injury attorney typically seeks financial recovery for categories of losses that include:

  • medical bills and expenses
  • pain and suffering
  • mental anguish and emotional distress
  • property damage and loss
  • permanent physical disability
  • permanent physical disfigurement
  • loss of salary or wages

When seeking compensation for your claim in a DUI accident case, you are entitled to moneys not only for your existing losses, but also for those you can reasonably be expected to face in the future. If you are like most people injured in an accident by a drunk driver, you may require medical care and treatment well into the future. This can include at a minimum, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

You may experience pain for an indefinite period of time. Indeed, chronic pain associated with a DUI accident may persist for the remainder of your life. It is possible you may not be able to return to work anytime soon, and you may not be able to return to the same employment you enjoyed prior to the accident.

All of the mentioned represents conditions or examples of future losses, which you may be entitled to seek financial recovery or compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to develop and present a meaningful case on your behalf, to obtain the optimal comprehensive compensation you deserve, and includes money for these future losses.

Punitive or Exemplary Damages in a DUI Car Accident Case

In the state of California, you may be entitled to what are known as punitive or exemplary damages in a DUI automobile accident case. Punitive or exemplary damages are occasionally awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. Punitive or exemplary damages represent additional compensation awarded in a personal injury case when the conduct of the person who was at fault or caused the accident is deemed to have been particularly reckless of egregious. Operating an automobile while intoxicated and causing an accident arguably falls into the category of reckless of egregious conduct.

Punitive or exemplary damages are designed to do more than provide additional money in your case. They are intended to serve as a form of punishment of the person who was at fault or caused the accident, because of particularly reckless or egregious conduct.

You should keep in mind that punitive damages are not frequently awarded in personal injury cases. There truly needs to be some extraordinary circumstances associated with an accident to warrant this type of financial recovery. The state of California also puts caps on what can be awarded in regard to punitive or exemplary compensation, in a personal injury case.

Proving Liability or Responsibility in a Personal Injury Case

In a California personal injury case, a claimant must satisfy four essential elements in order to make what is known as a prima facie case for negligence. First, a claimant in a personal injury case must demonstrate that what is known as a duty of care exists. That is an easy milestone to reach in an automobile accident case. In the state of California, a motorist on public roadways must operate a vehicle with reasonable care.

Second, you must demonstrate a violation of the duty of reasonable care. Driving while intoxicated or drunk is a readily demonstrable violation of the duty of reasonable care. You do need to demonstrate that the driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or some other mind-altering substance when the accident occurred.

Third, the breach of the duty of care must be what is legally known, as the proximate cause of the accident and your injuries. In other words, the other driver’s alcohol or drug impairment must be the legal and actual cause of the accident and your injuries.

Finally, you must sustain actual, identifiable injuries. You cannot make a claim based on a speculation that you might face some sort of injuries or damages at some future point in time.

The Statute of Limitations in the State of California

California has a law on its books called the statute of limitations. The statutes of limitations governing a personal injury case sets the timeframe in which a lawsuit for injuries must be filed in court. This includes a case involving injuries alleged to stem from a drunk driving case.

In California, a personal injury case must be filed within two years of the date of an accident, as a general rule. If you fail to file a lawsuit by this two-year deadline, you likely will be forever precluded from pursuing a lawsuit for your injuries, damages, and losses.

As an aside, there are specific deadlines associated with filing and pursuing an insurance claim. You need to make certain that you know of and meet these deadlines.

Property Damage from Drunk Driving

Your losses in a DUI car accident are not limited to money for your personal injuries. You may have sustained damage to your property in a DUI car collision. For example, if you were driving your car at the time of the collision, you are entitled to property damage compensation, for the damage to or loss of your car.

Property damage from a car accident should be included in your initial claim. In addition property damage from a car accident must also be delineated in your lawsuit as well.

Drunk Driver Operating Someone Else’s Automobile

In some instances, an intoxicated driver may be operating someone else’s automobile at the time of an accident. If that is the situation at hand, you may be able to pursue a claim against the owner of the automobile in addition to your claim against the impaired driver. A skilled attorney can assist you in identifying and determining all potentially liable or responsible parties involved, in your DUI accident case.

Taking on an Insurance Company

Odds are your driving under the influence car accident case will commence with the filing of an insurance claim. You should understand a basic reality about an insurance company. An insurer is in business for one primary reason. An insurance company exists to make money for its shareholders.

One way in which an insurance company enhances its revenue is by limiting the amount of money paid out in insurance settlements, including settlements in cases involving impaired drivers. As a consequence, an insurance company commonly will engage in strategies designed to impede your ability to obtain full, fair, and comprehensive compensation for your case.

Retaining a DUI Car Accident Attorney

The first step in retaining the professional services of a drunk driving accident attorney is to schedule what is known as an initial consultation. At an initial consultation, you are provided an evaluation of your claim by a skilled, experienced DUI car accident attorney. In addition, you have the opportunity to raise any questions you may have about your case. As a matter of practice, a DUI accident attorney typically does not charge a fee for a personal injury case.

Most DUI accident attorneys typically utilize what is known as a contingency fee agreement. Via a contingency fee agreement, an attorney charges no fee unless a favorable settlement or judgment is obtained for you, his or her Client.


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Written by : admin
Posted on : Aug 06, 2017
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