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I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver. Can I Sue?

a totaled car after a crash

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 10,000 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in California from 2005 to 2012. While not every drunk driving crash is fatal, there is no doubt that most result in serious injuries for everyone involved.

Such injuries can cost victims hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and more. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover the compensation to pay for these damages and more.

Suing a Drunk Driver

California follows “at-fault” car insurance laws, which means those injured in a car crash may sue the at-fault driver for damages. If it is discovered that the at-fault driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol, the plaintiff may be eligible for additional compensation.

Typically, there are two separate court proceedings for a drunk driving case. The driver may undergo a criminal trial, and the victim may also choose to pursue damages by filing a civil claim. While a conviction in a criminal trial bodes well for a victim’s civil claim, it does not 100% guarantee a favorable result. This is why it’s vital to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney who can help you with the details of your case.

Sometimes, a party other than the drunk driver may be held liable for damages. For example, if a commercial vehicle driver like a truck driver or taxi driver drove drunk and caused a crash while on the job, then the driver’s employer may be held liable for damages through a legal concept known as “respondeat superior,” or vicarious liability. This statute holds an employer legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee if such acts occur within the scope of employment.

Another similar situation is a bar or restaurant being held liable for overserving a patron who then drove drunk and caused a crash. While California’s “dram shop laws” bar most “overserving” claims, such venues may be held liable for drunk driving crashes if the driver they sold alcohol to was a minor.

Car accident cases can be complicated and require the guidance of a seasoned legal professional. Our team at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP has recovered billions of dollars for clients suffering from serious accidents and injuries. Learn how we may help you, too.

Call Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP at (866) 634-4525 to schedule a free consultation.