Drunk Driving and Wrongful Death
Absolutely no excuse exists for drunk driving. However, that does not stop individuals from getting behind the wheel of a car or truck after having too much to drink.
It is no secret that drunk driving accidents may result in extremely serious injuries and fatalities, especially when a collision happens at a high rate of speed. Due to the serious nature of drunk driving accidents, the law provides administrative, criminal, and civil penalties for offending drivers.
If a person you love suffered fatal injuries in a drunk driving accident, you are not alone. A knowledgeable and compassionate OC wrongful death lawyer can review the accident circumstances and determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit. If you are eligible, your lawyer can help you take the necessary legal steps to pursue the maximum compensation available. Although no amount of money can ever replace a lost loved one, it can bring about a sense of much-needed justice and closure to both you and your family.
Drunk Driving Legal Standards in California
Drunk driving convictions are serious criminal offenses in California. In many situations, a driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is legally intoxicated. Stricter legal standards apply to commercial vehicle drivers, including big rig and tractor-trailer drivers, as well as to minors who are under 21 years of age.
If breathalyzer evidence determines that a driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, a police officer could arrest them on the spot for DUI. In addition to sustaining criminal penalties upon conviction, an offending driver and their insurance company may also have to pay civil damages if they cause an accident that leads to injuries or death.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you lost a loved one in a car accident that a drunk driver caused, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Wrongful death claims are claims that arise from the negligent, reckless, intentional, or wrongful acts of another person. The first step to filing a wrongful death claim is to establish an estate for your deceased loved one. The court will then appoint a personal representative (PR) to oversee that estate. The personal representative then files the wrongful death claim – typically with the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance company.
Wrongful death claims usually continue in much the same way as any other personal injury claim. To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the claimant must establish that the car accident occurred because of another driver’s wrongful act and that the car accident led to the accident victim’s untimely death. A knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate California wrongful death attorney can help you prove the legal elements of your wrongful death claim and recover the damages that you and your family deserve.
Monetary Compensation in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
Wrongful death claimants who satisfy the necessary legal elements of their claim may be eligible to recover various damages. Wrongful death damages vary from one case to another, and no two claimants will recover the same amount of damages. The damages that a claimant may recover will typically depend upon the accident circumstances and other important factors.
First, a wrongful death claimant may be able to recover damages for their loved one’s burial and funeral expenses. In addition, they could recover compensation for the pain and suffering that the deceased individual endured between the time of their accident and their untimely passing.
Claimants may also receive damages for loss of the decedent’s future income. This type of damage is especially common when surviving family members relied upon the decedent for financial support. Claimants could also receive monetary compensation for the loss of the deceased individual’s comfort, care, and companionship.
Finally, claimants may pursue punitive damages, due to the at-fault driver’s egregious behavior. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer driver and dissuade others from drinking and driving.
A knowledgeable California wrongful death attorney in your area can help you pursue the maximum damages you deserve in your wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Call a California Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Right Away
Dealing with a loved one’s death is never easy – especially if that death occurred prematurely and due to another person’s negligence. If you lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you should speak with an experienced California wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible.
Your lawyer can explain your legal options for moving forward and help you file the necessary claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will advocate for you during every stage of the proceedings and work to maximize the monetary recovery you receive through settlement, jury trial, or binding arbitration award.