Drunk driving accidents in Orange County, CA can often be some of the most dangerous. We tend to think more of the criminal consequences of drunk driving, but what’s more important to the victims is what’s going to happen to them. Victims of drunk driving are often left with significant injuries, pain, damage or totaled vehicles, lost income, and sometimes even the death of a loved one. The weight of these things can feel crippling. While we might wish that the insurance would readily and willingly pay out the compensation the victims are due, that’s rarely the case. The insurance company is going to put up a fight, but we know how to fight back. If you are looking for a skilled, accomplished team to have on your side, then the Law Offices of Steven Zwick is what you need.
There are a few different things that may lead to a DUI charge in California, including:
A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08% for all drivers over 21
A BAC over 0.04% for any drivers on DUI probation
A BAC over 0.04% for commercial vehicle drivers
Any BAC for all drivers under 21
Driving impaired by over-the-counter medication, prescription medication, or illegal narcotics
CRIMINAL VS. CIVIL
It’s important to distinguish between the criminal and civil aspects of the DUI. A driver charged with a DUI will face a criminal trial, which will determine a criminal punishment. The criminal case doesn’t have anything to do with any kind of restitution for other parties.
A civil case is where fault and damages for the victim will be determined. However, it’s important to establish that the damages are dependent upon fault. You might think that a case of a driver being charged with a DUI means they are de facto at fault. That is not the case. The DUI may be the cause of the accident, but that needs to be proved. Consider that it could be that a driver with 0.09% BAC is sitting at a red light and gets run into by another driver. The drunk driver may get charged with a DUI, but clearly, the fact of their being drunk in no way contributed to the accident. Irresponsible behavior alone is not enough to declare fault. A causal link must be established as well.
DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWYER FAQS
You can sue a drunk driver in Orange County, California, although it’s important to realize the driver is not necessarily the only entity who might be liable for a drunk driving accident. Hosts or bars and restaurants may be liable if the driver is under 21. There are even some circumstances in which a drunk driver’s employer has been found liable. It’s important to remember, though, that in most circumstances, a claim must be filed within two years from the accident date.
It’s the responsibility of the police to investigate the possibility that any drivers in an accident were under the influence. However, it is possible that in the time between the accident and the police arriving, the driver may attempt to conceal the fact that they had been drinking. It’s important that you let the police know if you notice any smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or anything else that might indicate that the other driver is drunk. The same should be said for any notice of marijuana smoke, smell, or anything else that might indicate the other driver was under the influence of other substances.
In California, drunk driving is generally determined by someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In California, it is considered drunk driving for any BAC in excess of:
0.08% for anyone over 21
0.00% for anyone under 21
0.04% for anyone operating a commercial vehicle
It may also be considered driving under the influence if the driver is impaired by:
Over-the-counter medication, or
Yes, the other driver’s insurance will cover expenses so long as the other driver was found to be at fault. The insurance company will, of course, be seeking to find any way to reduce the possible damages, but they will be required to cover things like:
Your medical bills
Damage to your property and vehicle
Loss of income
Loss of future earnings if your injuries will reduce your earning capacity
Pain and suffering
Other potential losses related to the accident