Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawsuit633 West Fifth Street, Suite 2200
Los Angeles, CA 90071
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Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawsuit
You've been in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Los Angeles, California. Now, you're nursing serious injuries or perhaps the loss of a loved one. What do you do in such a situation? Who do you turn to for help emotionally or even financially?
The emotional and physical toll of such an event can be overwhelming. And when that happens, you may want to learn more about your legal options. That's actually a wise idea. So here is an overview of drunk driving lawsuits in Los Angeles, including answers to common questions people ask about such cases.
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What Should I Do After a Car Accident Caused By a Drunk Driver in Los Angeles?
First, you need to call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. Then, contact the police and file a report with them. Filing a police report is crucial even if the other party tries to convince you not to. You need proof of the accident, who was involved or was at fault, any witnesses, and more. Such information will help support your case.
Next, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free case evaluation. If you have a valid case and decide to work with us, our team will guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and help you determine your options for seeking maximum compensation.
Can You Sue a Drunk Driver After Hitting You?
Yes, you can. Drunk driving is a criminal offense in Los Angeles and throughout California. In addition, it creates a civil liability for the driver, meaning they can be held responsible for the harm they caused. This is done through a civil lawsuit.
What Can You Sue a Drunk Driver For?
You can sue for various damages, depending on the specifics of the accident. Generally, the injured can recover damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
You may also be able to collect punitive damages, usually awarded in cases where the defendant was extremely negligent. Given that drunk driving is a form of extreme negligence because it is common sense that people should not drink and drive, the judge or jury may award you punitive damages to punish the drunk driver.
Can I Still File a Drunk Driving Lawsuit if the Driver Was Not Convicted of a DUI?
Yes, you can. While a criminal conviction can help strengthen your case against the drunk driver, it is not necessary for a successful lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can still gather evidence to prove the driver was drunk when they caused the accident.
Other Than the Drunk Driver, Who Else Can I Sue?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, other parties may be held responsible. For example, if the driver was over-served alcohol at a bar or restaurant, the establishment may be liable for your injuries. In California, this type of liability is known as the dram shop liability.
However, such cases are not usually easy to win because you must prove negligence. That's one more reason to contact an experienced injury lawyer.
What If the Drunk Driver Did Not Have Insurance Coverage?
With or without insurance coverage, you may still be able to recover damages. However, it is also worth noting that having insurance makes the recovery process more straightforward. That said, your insurance policy, such as medical or uninsured motorist coverage, may come to your rescue.
What Are the Legal Requirements for Bringing a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
To bring a successful drunk driving lawsuit in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, you will need to prove the following:
- The driver was under the influence at the time of the accident
- The driver's intoxication caused the accident
- You suffered damages due to the accident
How Much Are Drunk Driving Lawsuit Settlements Worth?
The settlement amount depends on various factors. Examples include:
- The severity of the injuries.
- The extent of property damage.
- The amount of insurance coverage available.
When you contact us for a free case evaluation and sign up with us to take on your case, our lawyers will help you estimate the value of your case.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Drunk Driving Lawsuit in Los Angeles?
You have two years from the accident date to file your claim. Keep in mind that you will lose your right to seek compensation if you do not file within this timeframe. That explains why we recommend speaking with an attorney immediately after the accident. The deadline aside, contacting an attorney allows for collecting evidence when it is fresh.
What Are the Risks of Filing a Drunk Driving Lawsuit Without a Lawyer?
First, you may not have the legal knowledge or experience to navigate the legal process effectively. Secondly, insurance companies and defense attorneys may try to take advantage of your lack of legal representation by offering a low settlement offer. Lastly, without a lawyer, you may not be able to accurately assess the value of your claim or negotiate a fair settlement.
Are Drunk Drivers Always at Fault?
In most cases, the drunk driver is at fault for causing the accident. This is because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and considered negligent behavior. However, other factors, such as a defective car part or poor road conditions, may also contribute to the accident.
And that is one of the many benefits of hiring a seasoned Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer; they will investigate the unique details of your case and determine whether other parties were also at fault. This alone could increase the settlement you may be entitled to.
What if the Victim Is Partly at Fault for the Drunk Driving Accident?
California follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning that the injured can still recover damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident. But here's the catch; the amount of damages they can recover will reflect their level of fault. For example, if found to be 40% at fault for the accident, they can only recover 60% of the damages.
What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Case and a Civil Case Related to Drunk Driving?
A criminal case involves charges brought by the state against a drunk driver for violating criminal laws related to driving under the influence. On the other hand, in a civil case against a drunk driver, the victim or their family members seek compensation for their losses. To sum up, a criminal case may lead to criminal conviction, while a civil case often leads to a settlement.
Who Can File a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
Anyone can file a drunk driving lawsuit, just as long as they were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. This includes drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or their families.
Can I Sue for Wrongful Death in a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
Yes, family members of a person killed in a drunk driving accident can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver. If you win, you may recover damages such as funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship.
Can I File a Drunk Driving Lawsuit if I Was a Passenger in the Car?
Yes, in most cases, you can. As a passenger, you likely had no control over the driver's behavior. For this reason, you should not be held responsible for their actions. You can file a claim against the driver's insurance company or even the driver for damages and injuries you sustained due to the accident.
What Evidence Do I Need To Prove a Drunk Driving Case?
You must show that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident occurred. This evidence can include police reports, breathalyzer or blood test results, eyewitness accounts, and even photos or video footage from the accident scene or nearby surveillance cameras. Suppose you have an experienced and well-equipped car accident lawyer. In that case, they can also work with expert witnesses, such as toxicologists or accident reconstructionists, to provide additional evidence to support your case.
How Much Does It Cost To File a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
You shouldn't be worried about the cost of filing a drunk driving lawsuit. This is because, at Morgan & Morgan, we work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, we do not charge upfront fees when we take on our client's cases. Instead, we only get paid if we win the case. That said, the contingency fee typically ranges from 30 to 40 percent of the initial settlement.
How Long Does a Drunk Driving Lawsuit Typically Take To Resolve?
The drunk driving lawsuit timeline depends on the complexity of the case and whether it goes to trial. Cases that settle out of court usually take a shorter time than those that proceed to trial. This is because court processes are prone to delays, complex paperwork, backlogs, etc. Generally, it could take a few weeks or months to settle out of court but years to pursue the case in court.
What Should I Look for in a Lawyer for a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
First, look for someone with experience handling these types of cases. For example, at Morgan & Morgan, we have been fighting for the injured since 1988 — that's over 30 years of experience.
Secondly, you want a lawyer knowledgeable about California's drunk driving laws and with a track record of successfully representing clients in similar cases. To put things into perspective, at Morgan & Morgan, we have worked with over 300,000 clients and recovered over $15 billion as compensation for the injured in various cases, including those involving drunk drivers, a true testimony of our track record.
Thirdly, many lawyers or firms will promise to fight for you, but do they have the resources? Look for an attorney with powerful legal resources to fight for your rights.
This is because personal injury cases are expensive. In fact, the more complexity, the higher the costs of pursuing such cases. But you shouldn't be concerned about that when you hire Morgan & Morgan.
We are the nation's largest injury firm with powerful legal resources to take on any insurance company. This includes but is not limited to an army of over 800 attorneys, a team of paralegals, accident reconstruction experts, and so on.
What Are the Chances of Winning a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
It depends on the unique details of your case, the strength of evidence against the driver, and, most importantly, the attorney you choose to represent you. We have witnessed situations where bad lawyers have ruined good cases. On the other hand, we've also handled cases with slim chances of success and turned them into multi-million settlements. This proves that it all narrows down to the attorney you choose to work with, and that's why you need to work with only the best.
Will I Have To Go to Court for a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
As mentioned, a settlement may be reached before the case goes to court. If that happens, which is likely, you would not need to go to court. However, your case may go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
As a result, you may need to appear before a judge or jury to testify against the defendant. If that happens, we will be there for you, offering crucial legal advice and representation to obtain a favorable outcome. That's because our attorneys are never afraid of going to court, something most insurance companies know.
Talk to an Experienced Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawyer
Navigating the legal process in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California can be complex, exhausting, time-consuming, and overwhelming, especially when dealing with physical and emotional trauma. That's why working with an experienced, caring, and compassionate drunk driving lawyer is crucial to guide you through the process.
Remember, the deadline for filing a drunk driving lawsuit in Los Angeles is two years from the accident date. Don't risk losing a valid case due to missed deadlines or hiring the wrong lawyer; contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free case evaluation.