How To File A Lawsuit Against Dui Drivers Who Cause Accidents In California?
If you've been injured by a drunk driver, you may be wondering if you have the right to sue for damages. The answer is yes - you can file a civil lawsuit against the driver, even if they haven't been convicted of a DUI.
Potential plaintiffs in this type of case include passengers in the drunk driver's vehicle, occupants of other vehicles, and pedestrians. To win your case, you'll need to prove that the driver was negligent under California law.
A motorist is considered negligent when he or she fails to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. This can be proven in several ways, but most commonly it is shown through violations of statutes such as the Vehicle Code. For example, if a driver is caught driving under the influence (Vehicle Code 23152(a)), they are considered negligent per se - meaning that their negligence is assumed.
If you've been injured by a drunk driver, you have the right to seek damages in a civil lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence and build a strong case against the at-fault driver. Don't wait to act - contact a lawyer today.
Damages Recoverable After Being Hit By DUI Driver
If you are hit by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit. Damages that can be recovered can include medical bills, car repair bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Families of people who are injured or killed by drunk drivers may also be able to recover damages in a lawsuit for loss of consortium, wrongful death, or a California “survival” action. If you have been affected by a drunk driver, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.
When Can Someone Sue A Drunk Driver In California?
If you have been injured by a drunk or drugged driver in California, you may be able to sue for damages. A driver is considered intoxicated when the alcohol and/or drugs impair his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely.
To succeed in a lawsuit, the plaintiff will need to prove that:
- The defendant was negligent.
- As a result of the negligence, the plaintiff suffered damages.
If you have been injured by a drunk or drugged driver, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel to help you navigate the claims process and maximize your chances of success.
When Is A Driver Negligent Under California Law?
When a driver fails to use reasonable care and causes harm to another person, they may be considered negligent. In some cases, a driver may also be deemed “negligent per se” if they violate a law or statute that is meant to protect other drivers and pedestrians. This means that the violation of a statute is, in and of itself, proof of negligence.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.
California’s “negligence per se” Law
If a defendant violates a law and causes an injury, they are presumed to be negligent under California's negligence per se law. Once the plaintiff introduces evidence of this negligence, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to prove that either they did not violate the statute or that the violation did not cause the injury. This presumption can be difficult to overcome, so defendants need to understand their rights and options if they find themselves in this situation.
California DUI Laws
Driving under the influence – Vehicle Code 23152(a), (f) and (g)
It is important to note that a driver does not need to be intoxicated to be found guilty of DUI in California. A prosecutor can charge a driver with DUI even if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is below .08%.
This is because the legal definition of “under the influence” goes beyond intoxication. A driver can be found guilty of DUI even if he or she has only had a small amount to drink if that alcohol has impaired his or her ability to drive safely.
In addition to alcohol, several other substances can also lead to a DUI charge in California.
- Illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine
- Certain prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter medications, such as cold medicine
DUI can be a very serious offense in California. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a DUI conviction can result in up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or suspension of the driver’s license. In some cases, a DUI can also lead to felony charges.
If you have been charged with DUI in California, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you defend your rights. An attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and help you determine the best course of action.
Do not hesitate to contact an attorney if you have been charged with DUI. An experienced attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
“per Se” Dui For Adult Drivers – Vehicle Code 23152(B)
It is a crime in California for anyone 21 or older to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08% or higher, as stated in Vehicle Code 23152(b). This BAC is measured by a DUI chemical test, which is usually a DUI breath test or DUI blood test that is taken at the time of the arrest. If drug use is suspected, then the driver will most likely have to take a blood test.
Excess BAC CDL — Vehicle Code 23152(d)
If you are a commercial driver and you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04% or higher, you can be charged with a crime. This offense is sometimes known as "Excess BAC CDL."
Commercial drivers who drive between states are also subject to federal motor carrier safety laws. If you are convicted of this offense, you may lose your commercial driver's license (CDL), and you may face other penalties, such as fines and jail time.
If you have been charged with Excess BAC CDL, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you defend your rights.
Dui By Ride-sharing, Taxi Or Limo Drivers — Vehicle Code Section 23152 (E)
It is important to remember that, as of July 1, 2018, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% or higher when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle. This includes drivers of ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft, as well as taxi and limo drivers.
This change is designed to help keep both passengers and the public safe, and it is important to be aware of the new law if you are planning on using any of these services. If you have any questions about the new law, please contact your local authorities. Thank you for helping to keep our roads safe!
Underage Dui – Vehicle Code 23136
It is a crime in California for an underage driver to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05% or higher. This is known as the "zero tolerance" law.
An underage driver with a BAC of .05% or higher is considered too drunk to drive, even if he or she is not actually impaired. The penalty for violating this law can include a fine, license suspension, and mandatory education classes.
If you are an underage driver, it is important to be aware of this law and to avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. If you are caught driving with a BAC of .05% or higher, you could face serious consequences.
“zero-tolerance” Law For Underage Drivers — Vehicle Code 23136
If you are an underage driver in California and you are involved in an accident, you may be held liable if it is found that you had any alcohol in your system at the time of the accident. This is because of California's "zero-tolerance" law for underage drivers, which states that it is an infraction for an underage driver to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01% or higher while behind the wheel.
Although this is not technically a DUI, it can still be considered negligence per se if you are sued in a civil lawsuit. However, the plaintiff will still need to prove that the accident was caused by your impairment. This may be difficult to do if the only statute violated was VC 23136.
Driving While Addicted To A Drug — Vehicle Code 23152(C)
If you are addicted to drugs, it is illegal for you to drive a vehicle in California. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
There is an exception for people who are participating in a court-approved narcotics treatment program for opioid dependence. In such cases, the use of substances like Methadone, LAAM or Buprenorphine does not constitute a violation of Vehicle Code 23152(c). However, even if you are participating in such a program, you may still be negligent while driving for other reasons.
For everyone else, if you are caught driving while under the influence of drugs, you will be subject to the same penalties as if you were driving under the influence of alcohol. These penalties can include jail time, fines, and a driver's license suspension. If you are convicted of multiple drug-related DUI offenses, you may even be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs, it is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and fight for your rights in court.
Chemical Test Refusal — Vehicle Code 23612(A)
If you are arrested for DUI in California, you are required to submit to a chemical test of your breath or blood. This is known as the state's "implied consent" law. Refusing to take a chemical test is a violation of this law and may be considered "negligent" per se by a jury. This means that the jury may conclude that your refusal to take a test indicates that you were inebriated.
If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can also help you challenge the evidence against you and build a strong defense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
If you operate a commercial vehicle, it is important to be aware of federal laws regarding driving under the influence. You are not permitted to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04% or higher, and in most cases, you are not allowed to perform any safety-sensitive functions while under the influence of a controlled substance.
These laws are in place to help keep everyone on the road safe, so it is important to adhere to them. If you have any questions about these laws, or if you need assistance staying compliant, please contact us. We are here to help you stay safe and compliant with all applicable laws.
The Accident Must Be Caused By The Drinking Or Drug Use
The plaintiff in a DUI case must still prove that the defendant's violation of the DUI statute caused the plaintiff's injury. This can be difficult to do, as many factors can contribute to an accident. However, if the plaintiff can show that the defendant's intoxication was a major contributing factor to the accident, then they may be able to recover damages.
Intoxication can cause people to make poor decisions and take risks that they would not normally take. This can lead to accidents that would not have happened if the person was sober. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover damages from them. Contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options
Does The Defendant Need To Be Convicted?
A defendant does not need to be found guilty of the crime of DUI as a prerequisite to suing for damages in California.
This is because California criminal laws and civil liability laws serve different purposes and have different burdens of proof. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard. In a civil case, however, the burden of proof is much lower. The plaintiff only needs to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant was at fault for the accident.
This means that even if a defendant is ultimately found not guilty of DUI, he or she may still be held liable in a civil suit. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover damages from that driver, even if he or she is not convicted of DUI.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
The Burden Of Proof In A California Dui Lawsuit
When someone is injured by a drunk driver, they may choose to file a civil lawsuit in addition to any criminal charges that may be brought. Civil liability in a DUI case means that the plaintiff (the person who was injured) must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant (the drunk driver) was at fault. This is a lower standard of proof than what is required in criminal cases, where guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a civil lawsuit, the jury will decide whether the defendant is liable for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. If the jury finds that the defendant is liable, they will then determine the number of damages to be awarded. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options under the law.
Is A Dui Conviction Proof Of Negligence?
Even if the defendant avoids jail time by pleading to a California “dry reckless” or other vehicle code violation, it will still be negligence per se.
(Note that it does not work the other way around. Being found liable in a civil lawsuit for DUI does not establish guilt under California’s criminal DUI laws).
But the defendant has the right to introduce evidence showing that his or her impairment did not cause the accident. If successful, this can negate liability altogether.
Damages Recoverable In A Lawsuit Against A Dui Motorist
Compensatory damages that can be recovered in a settlement from a DUI driver include (but are not limited to):
- Medical bills
- Psychological counseling
- Long- or short-term care
- Physical or occupational rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of a limb or the use of a limb or other body part.
In each case, the plaintiff will need to prove that:
- He or she suffered such damages.
- The damages resulted from the other driver’s negligence.
Without this burden of proof, compensation for damages would not be possible.
Are Punitive Damages Recoverable Against A Dui Driver?
To recover punitive damages in a drunk driving case in California, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was guilty of malice. In this context, "malice" does not mean evil or bad intent. Rather, it refers to actions that demonstrate a reckless disregard for the safety of others. If the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with malice, they may be entitled to punitive damages.
When Does Drunk Driving Constitute Malice?
The plaintiff must establish that the defendant was aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his or her conduct and that he or she willfully and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences.
The California Supreme Court has held that this test is met when someone voluntarily consumes alcoholic beverages and/or drugs to the point of intoxication and knows that he or she must thereafter operate a motor vehicle. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to other damages. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Can Families Of Injured People Sue A Dui Driver?
If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Possible bases for recovery include loss of consortium, wrongful death, or a California “survival” action. All these causes of action arise from the loss of the companionship and financial support of a loved one. In many cases, punitive damages are also recoverable.
If you have been affected by a drunk driving accident, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
What If I Was Partly To Blame For An Accident With A Dui Driver?
If you've been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be wondering if you have a case. After all, it seems like the other driver is clearly at fault. However, it's important to understand that just because another driver was DUI, this does not necessarily mean he or she was 100% responsible for the accident.
In California, the law follows a “comparative fault” standard of negligence. This means that a jury can apportion fault for an accident between two or more parties. So even if the other driver was intoxicated, if you were also partially at fault for the accident (for example, if you weren't wearing a seatbelt), then you may still be able to recover damages.
Unlike some states, California does not require that the defendant be 50% or more responsible for an injury for a plaintiff to sue. So even if the other driver was only slightly at fault, you may still have a case.
If you've been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it's important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options. An attorney can help you understand the comparative fault laws in California and determine if you have a viable case.
Does Insurance Cover Dui Drivers?
Most California auto insurance policies will pay compensatory damages when a policyholder injures someone while driving drunk. This means that medical bills and other compensatory damages can be recovered under the DUI driver’s third-party auto liability insurance, or under the plaintiff’s own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
However, the plaintiff may have to sue the defendant directly if there is no insurance coverage for the accident, or if the aggregate policy limits of all applicable policies do not cover the plaintiff’s damages. In these cases, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the best course of action.
What Should I Do If I Am Hit By A Drunk Driver?
If you've been hit by a driver who appears to be intoxicated, it's important to call the police right away. A police report and chemical test (if one was given) will help to prove that the driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Regardless of the driver's intoxication, there are 15 steps everyone should take after a car accident in California.
These include getting information from the other driver, such as:
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Insurance company name and phone number
- Insurance policy number.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, speak with a qualified attorney who can help.