California Negligence Per Se After a California Drunk Driving Accident

shutterstock_1378529927-300x200Those who suffer injuries or lose a loved one to a drunk or otherwise impaired driver have the right to sue for compensation. A victim or their family can pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party even if the perpetrator has not been arrested, charged, or convicted of a DUI. Under California law, the victim need only prove that the driver was negligent.

In California, a driver is negligent when they fail to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Further, the driver may be negligent per se when they violate a statute designed to avoid the harm that occurred. In California, this means violating a statute such as:

  • Vehicle Code 23152(a), driving while under the influence,
  • Vehicle Code 23612(a), refusing to take a DUI chemical test, or
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) over California’s “legal limit.”

California maintains different legal BAC limits depending on the type of driver. For instance:

  • Adults (non-commercial vehicles): .08%
  • Driver under 21 (DUI “per se”) : .05%
  • Driver under 21 (zero tolerance): 0.01%
  • Commercial vehicle: .04%
  • Uber, Lyft, or cab drivers: .04%

Negligence per se refers to instances where a person violates a law that applies to their course of conduct. In these cases, the law presumes negligence, so those bringing a negligence per se action need not establish that the at-fault party’s conduct was unreasonable. However, claimants must still establish the other elements of a personal injury lawsuit.

Drunk driving accidents can have disastrous consequences for a person and their loved ones; victims should contact an attorney to ensure that they recover the compensation the law entitles.

Recently, a California news source reported on a tragic drunk driving accident. A man died when an alleged drunk driver operating a Jeep flew through a stop sign and slammed into the man’s dump truck. According to California Highway Patrol, the drunk driver broadsided the victim, and his truck was pushed into a tree. The Jeep driver did not sustain any injuries in the accident and was driving without a license after prior arrests for DUIs. The family also lost a young son in a drunk driving accident 14 years prior

Those that suffer injuries or experience the loss of a loved one because of a drunk driver may recover damages. These damages may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost benefits and wages
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Punitive damages

Pursuing these damages requires claimants to meet the state’s strict procedural and evidentiary rules.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Drunk Driving Accident?

If you or someone you love has been hurt or died in a California car accident, contact the Neumann Law Group for help with your claim. Our experienced attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for injury victims. In addition to California drunk driving accidents, our firm handles other personal injury and wrongful death cases. We have a firm understanding of California personal injury laws and provide clients with excellent representation through all stages of their cases. Contact our office at 800-525-6386 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.


Contact Information