California drunk and impaired driving accidents often result in serious and potentially fatal injuries. The trauma of these accidents ripple throughout the community and can have lifelong medical, psychological, and emotional consequences on everyone involved in the incident. Insurance payouts rarely meet the significant expenses that victims and loved ones face after a California accident. Victims must often pursue personal injury claims to ensure that they can appropriately address the extent of their losses.
Many drunk or impaired driving accidents result in both criminal charges and civil claims. However, California accident victims can pursue a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver regardless of whether a criminal charge is underway. Plaintiffs may file a claim for damages when they suffer injuries because of a drunk or impaired driver. The victim must prove that the driver was negligent, and the plaintiff suffered injuries because of that negligence. Under the theory of negligence per se, the law presumes that the other party was negligent if they violated a law, statute, or ordinance designed to prevent the injury that occurred. However, the defendant can rebut the presumption by showing evidence that they did not violate the statute or the violation did not result in the plaintiff’s injury.
For example, recently, a national news report described a harrowing California impaired driving accident where six people suffered injuries, and three people died. According to reports, an impaired driver drove over a curb and onto a sidewalk slamming into the victims. Police arrested the 71-year-old motorist for vehicular manslaughter, driving while impaired, and causing great bodily injury while committing a felony. It is unclear if the impairment was related to alcohol or another substance; however, the case is still under investigation.
After accidents, such as the one above, the victims can recover damages related to property damage, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other similar losses. Under very limited circumstances, California drunk driving victims may pursue punitive damages. To recover these damages, the victim must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the at-fault party was guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. In the context of drunk driving, plaintiffs often claim that the driver was acting with malice. A defendant is acting with malice when they acted with a willful and conscious disregard of others or intended to cause injury to the plaintiff.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a California Car Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Southern California car accident, contact the experienced California injury attorneys at the Neumann Law Group. Our office attorneys maintain a reputable and active practice representing California injury victims in their personal injury claims. We provide clients with respect, compassion, and zealous representation in their claims stemming from California motor vehicle accidents, defective products, premises liability, medical negligence, wrongful death, and more. Contact our office at 800-525-6386 to schedule a free initial consultation with a California injury attorney on our team. We can help you pursue the damages you need to move on with your life after a serious accident.