We Sue Drunk Drivers Who Cause Injuries in California
That is correct. If you or a loved one has been injured by a California drunk driver, we will fight for your legal rights against the at-fault intoxicated driver. You have rights under both the criminal and civil justice systems and we will explain what you need to know about both systems for your particular case. For example, did you know that an injured California victim of an intoxicated driver may sue for punitive damages? Punitive damages are damages above and beyond the regular damages, you get for pain and suffering. San Diego DUI Accident & Injury Lawyer Mark C. Blane will sue for punitive damages on your California drunk driving injury case. Punitive damages punish the drunk driver for the choice he or she made to get intoxicated and get behind the wheel of a vehicle to cause an accident; typically, the injury claim value is increased due to this fact. Since 1979, California, under the Taylor v. Superior Court ruling has allowed victims of personal injury actions to sue for punitive damages against a California drunk driver!
We Only Represent Victims of Drunk Drivers, and NOT DUI Offenders.
We have many years of experience dealing with collisions that were caused by someone who was under the influence of alcohol. Sometimes other persons or entities may be responsible for the drunk driver being intoxicated. Although social hosts (including bars and restaurants) are generally not liable for the later conduct of an intoxicated driver under "California's Dram Shop Laws," there are possible exceptions that a San Diego drunk driving attorney will need to explore on a particular injury case. For example, if a social host "over-served" an obviously intoxicated person, and they knew he was leaving the place in a vehicle, there may be fault attributed to the social host for allowing this to occur. Moreover, if a social host (irresponsible parents) serves minor children or teenagers at their home party they may be legally responsible for the consequences of someone injured later by a drunk driver leaving that party or social gathering.
DUI Laws in California:
In an effort to reduce the fatality rate, the state of California implements one of the strictest DUI penalties and laws in the country that aims to keep drunk drivers off the road such as the following:
- California's Zero Tolerance Law: Under this California law, a person who is on DUI probation or has been convicted of several DUI cases is prohibited to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.01 percent and higher, in each and every case. Violators of this zero-tolerance law will face up to a 3-year suspension of their driving privilege on California roadways. This law also allows courts to require people convicted with several DUI cases to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for up to three years! This device works by detecting the BAC level of a person’s breath, and if it detects that the alcohol level exceeds the limit ordered by a court or judge, it will simply not start the engine, thus preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel at all. Sad that it has had to come to this, but what else can be done to get people from behind the wheel when they decide to drink and then drive? I think you need to examine the behavior of the mind of the person who is making the decision to drink and drive.
- California BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) limits: Adults, who are not under DUI probation, are required to follow the 0.08 percent BAC level. Anything, any measurement, above this limit is considered legally drunk/intoxicated. However, the alcohol limit is lower for drivers aged 21 years and younger who are prohibited to drive with a BAC level of 0.01 percent and higher. Commercial drivers are prohibited to drive with a BAC level of 0.04 percent and higher.
- Carrying of alcoholic beverages in California vehicles: Under California state law, adult drivers are prohibited to carry alcohol inside their vehicles, at all times, unless this is sealed and full; if not, this should be stored inside the trunk of the vehicle. Any opened alcoholic beverages stored inside the glove compartment are still considered illegal in California and should not be done - besides, why would you store an opened container of alcohol in the glove box unless you plan on drinking while driving. For California minors, this law is stricter since they are prohibited to drive with any alcoholic drinks in their cars, even if they are sealed and full. However, if they are accompanied by an adult, the same law for adult drivers also applies to them too.
- California DUI Charge (involving drugs apart and separate from alcohol): Alcohol is not the only drug substance that can impair a driver’s focus and responsiveness. A person in California may also be cited for DUI if an officer finds that he is driving under the influence of drugs, regardless if these are prescribed by doctors or obtained through illegal means.
Don't be Fooled - There is NOTHING Accidental About a "California Drunk Driving Car Accident"
Car accidents happen every day but just like our friends at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), we at the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane simply believe there is nothing accidental about a person getting behind a wheel drunk and causing bodily injury to another person. You see, accidents involving a drunk driver are caused by carelessness or deliberating driving under the influence, not by forces that are entirely beyond the control of the at-fault drunk driver. Everyone has the responsibility to drink responsibly which includes an action plan of how to get home if you drink anything - taking chances behind the wheel of an automobile is failing to take any responsibility, period. This means car crashes that are caused by an intoxicated driver of a vehicle are entirely avoidable!
Top Ten Holidays Related to Drunk Driving Accidents in California
The list below are holidays and dates that are associated with intoxicated driving wrecks in the United States today - you should be on alert while you are on the roadways around these times of the year:
- Fourth of July Holiday Weekend
- Halloween Evening (especially for children, Halloween can be the most dangerous night for kids)
- Labor Day Weekend
- Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend
- Christmas Week
- Memorial Day Weekend
- New Year's Eve
- Super Bowl Sunday
- New Year's Day
- St. Patrick's Day
California's Victims Compensation Fund & Victims Rights
Drunk driving accident victims should know California provides financial assistance for victims of crime which includes drunk driving collisions. That's right, victims have the benefit of not only financial assistance but also they have priority in following the drunk driver through the criminal courts and have special rights to be notified about how the drunk driver pleads (accepted blame or requesting a criminal jury trial, bail motions, etc.). Almost any incident involving a drunk driver qualifies as a vehicular crime and thus triggers this victim's protection. If you apply for benefits under the Victims Compensation Fund, this will not prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or other entity (social host, bar, restaurant, or homeowner who hosted a drinking party or gathering) that may be legally responsible for the vehicle accident. Yet, you should know that the Victims Compensation Fund is a payer of last resort which means if you have health insurance, or either you or the at-fault driver have auto insurance, that insurance money must be exhausted first before you receive benefits from the Victims Compensation Fund. Otherwise, it must be paid back. For more details, order my FREE book on California Drunk Driving Accidents.
Talk with Our San Diego Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Mark C. Blane, our accident lawyers work on life-changing injuries day in and day out. Our clients become family, and our top priority is protecting their legal rights and holding the responsible parties accountable. For us, that means not backing down against stubborn insurance adjusters, spending hours conducting research, locating witnesses, securing experts, and making sure our clients are informed every step of the way.
When innocent people are injured by drunk drivers, we are here to help. To speak with one of our skilled drunk driving accident attorneys, call our San Diego, California office at 619-813-7955 or reach out to us by using the live chat box below. We have helped many people across our state, and we would be honored to help you as well.