Over 30,000 people in California are seriously injured each year in alcohol and drug related car accidents, and 2,000 are killed. Unlike most car accidents, which are just that – accidents, drunk driving accidents are senseless, irresponsible, and can be easily prevented. That is why California has enacted strict laws to deter drunk driving accidents from happening and protect its residents from being victims to this senseless crime. If you were the victim of a drunk driving accident, familiarize yourself with the guidelines below and make sure you speak with an experienced car accident attorney immediately to learn more about your options for recovery.
California has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving.
In California, if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is over 0.08, you are considered legally drunk. However, if you are under the age of 21 and have any alcohol inside your body, you can be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). That means if your BAC is even 0.01, you have violated California’s no tolerance policy and are responsible for any injury you cause to others while driving.
If you have been hit by someone under the age of 21 who admits to having had a drink prior to driving or appears in any way to be slightly intoxicated, make sure you make note of your observations and attempt to have a chemical sobriety test administered to the individual as quickly as possible.
The drunk driver who hit you is not the only responsible party.
In California, there are multiple parties that may be responsible when you are injured by a drunk driver:
- Driver: The first party that may be responsible is, of course, the drunk driver who hit you. At the end of the day, it was the driver’s own decision to operate his or her vehicle after drinking.
- Host: If the drunk driver was at a party where alcohol was served before the accident, and the host was serving the driver alcohol even after the driver was visibly inebriated, the host can also be liable for causing your accident.
- Bar/Restaurant: If the drunk driver was at a bar or restaurant before the accident and was served alcohol even after he or she was visibly drunk, the bar/restaurant staff and owners can be held liable for causing the accident as well.
You can file a civil suit against the drunk driver simultaneously with a criminal suit.
Drunk driving is a crime in California, but you can also recover compensation from the driver in a civil suit. What many people do not know is that you can file your civil suit against the driver while the criminal suit against him or her is still pending. This way, you do not waste any time obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries incurred in this senseless crime.
Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, contact the attorneys at Willoughby Brod today. We have years of experience helping victims of drunk driving accidents obtain the compensation they deserve from the responsible parties. Contact us today at (800) 427-7020 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation.
(image courtesy of Abdiel Ibarra)