DUI Attorney in Los Angeles633 West Fifth Street, Suite 2200
Los Angeles, CA 90071
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Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Los Angeles, you may wonder what legal options are available or how to contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. At Morgan & Morgan, we know how terrible it feels to sustain injuries due to someone else's negligence. Sadly, DUI accidents are far too common in Los Angeles.
One study found that 1.7% of drivers in this city have a DUI. The same study also found that the DUI rate in Los Angeles is 8% higher than the national average. That explains just how terrible the situation is in this part of California.
If you're a DUI accident victim in Los Angeles, we will discuss the legal aspects of such accidents and what you can do to protect your rights. We will also answer some of the most commonly asked questions about these accidents.
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I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver. What Should I Do?
If a drunk driver hits you or someone you love, you should call 911 immediately to report the incident and seek immediate medical attention. This rule applies even if you feel fine right after the accident. Getting checked out by a medical professional is the best way to ensure you have not sustained any internal injuries that could be life-threatening.
Keep in mind that internal injuries do not usually show immediately after the accident. Some of these injuries include liver and kidney damage, brain bleeding, fractured ribs, and internal bleeding.
The police officers responding to the accident scene will investigate the accident and file a report. Ensure you obtain a copy of the police report, as it can be used as evidence against the other party when you file a claim.
If possible, gather evidence about the accident. Relevant evidence in such accidents may include photos and videos of the accident scene or vehicle that hit you. Also, obtain the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident; their testimony could help prove liability.
Then, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free case evaluation. Our experienced car accident lawyers will review your case and determine whether you have legal grounds to pursue a claim or DUI lawsuit against the other party.
What Is a DUI Civil Lawsuit?
A DUI civil lawsuit is legal action against a drunk driver responsible for an accident. This type of lawsuit is usually filed separately from any criminal charges the drunk driver may face due to the accident they caused. In a DUI civil lawsuit, the accident victim seeks compensation for any damages resulting from the accident.
What Is the Difference Between a DUI Civil Lawsuit and a DUI Criminal Lawsuit?
The state usually brings a DUI criminal lawsuit against the drunk driver, seeking to punish them for breaking the law. On the other hand, a DUI civil lawsuit is typically filed by the accident victim. It seeks to compensate them for any damages suffered. While a criminal conviction can be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit, a civil lawsuit proceeds independently of any criminal charges. In other words, in a DUI civil lawsuit, the goal is to seek compensation for the damages, not criminal charges against the drunk driver.
Can You Sue a Drunk Driver With No Insurance?
Yes, you can. However, it may be more difficult to recover damages from them. That said, you may still sue them personally and seek compensation through other options, such as your uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, or even your medical insurance.
That explains why contacting an attorney experienced in handling uninsured motorist accidents is important. Only after evaluating your case will your attorney establish liability for the DUI accident.
What Parties May Be Liable in a DUI Civil Lawsuit?
In addition to the drunk driver, other parties may be liable in a DUI civil lawsuit. For example, if the drunk driver was driving a company vehicle, their employer may be liable for the accident. This is especially true if the employer was negligent in hiring, allowing the drunk driver to drive the company vehicle when they should not have been allowed to.
Think of a suspended driver's license as an example of a scenario where the driver should not be driving in the first place. Alternatively, if the driver was served alcohol at a bar or restaurant before the accident, the bar owner may be held liable under California's dram shop laws.
What Are Some Laws About Drinking and Driving in Los Angeles, California?
In Los Angeles and throughout California, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of:
- 0.08% or higher if you're over 21.
- 0.01% or higher if you're under 21.
- 0.01% or higher at any age if you are under probation for DUI.
- 0.04% or higher when driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver's license.
- 0.04% or higher when driving a passenger for hire.
That said, regardless of your age, it is also illegal to drive a vehicle in Los Angeles or anywhere in California if you:
- have taken excessive alcohol in any form, including medications such as cough syrup;
- have taken any drink that affects your driving ability, including prescription and OTC medications; or
- have used any combination of drugs and alcohol that limits your ability to drive safely.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident in Los Angeles?
The average settlement for a drunk driving accident in Los Angeles depends on the unique circumstances of the accident. In addition, the settlement will be influenced by the injuries and damages sustained. For instance, you may be entitled to higher compensation if you suffered injuries requiring surgery. The same applies if you also incurred property damage, such as a totaled car, during the accident.
Do DUI Victims Need an Attorney?
Yes, it is highly recommended to seek the intervention of an experienced car accident attorney if you are a DUI victim. A seasoned car accident attorney can help victims navigate California's complex laws, build a strong case, and protect their rights throughout the claims process.
Additionally, an attorney can help victims focus on recovering from their injuries and obtain the maximum compensation possible.
They can also negotiate with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement for the victim. But if the insurance company refuses to cooperate, the attorney may file a lawsuit in court and fight for their client's rights in front of a judge or jury.
What Damages Can I Recover as a Victim of a DUI Accident?
As a victim of a DUI accident, you may be able to recover damages for different kinds of losses. Keep in mind that the exact damages you will recover depend on the unique details of your case. They may include but are not limited to the following:
Medical expenses, which cover the cost of hospital stays, surgeries, and ongoing medical treatment.
Lost wages, which apply in situations where the accident victim could not work due to their injuries.
Pain and suffering, which covers physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Loss of consortium, usually filed by the victim's family or spouse.
Property damage, covering the cost of repairs or the value of the vehicle if it was totaled.
Punitive damages, meant to punish the drunk driver for their reckless behavior.
What Evidence Is Required in a DUI Civil Lawsuit?
To obtain a favorable outcome in a DUI civil lawsuit, you must prove that the drunk driver was at fault for the accident. Examples of evidence that could be useful in such a case include police reports, eyewitness testimonies, photos and videos of the accident scene, and medical records.
In addition, complex cases may require accident reconstruction experts to help establish the cause of the accident. This further highlights the importance of working with a powerful injury firm like Morgan & Morgan. We have access to powerful legal resources, including accident reconstruction experts, that can help build a strong case against the other party.
How Soon After a DUI Civil Lawsuit Case Should I Expect Settlement?
The timeline for a DUI civil lawsuit settlement varies depending on the specifics of the case. To put things into perspective, some cases may settle quickly, while others may take quite a long time to resolve. For instance, say the other party files an appeal, or the insurance company disputes liability; in that case, it will take longer to settle such a case because the judge or jury must ensure that all facts have been provided in order to make a fair ruling.
Can I Still Sue After a Hit and Run DUI Accident?
You can still sue the at-fault driver or any other liable party. However, it may be challenging to identify and locate the at-fault driver in a hit-and-run case. This explains why, as advised earlier, it is important to report the accident to the police immediately and gather as much evidence as possible to help identify the driver.
Keep in mind that even if the driver cannot be identified, you may still be able to recover damages through other means, such as other forms of insurance you may have purchased. For instance, if you got hit while driving a rental car, the rental car insurance company may be able to compensate you, but only if you have an aggressive attorney to help you fight back.
How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles uses the comparative negligence legal system when determining fault in a car accident. This system considers each party's level of fault when establishing liability for damages. For example, if the drunk driver is found to be 90% at fault for an accident, they may be responsible for paying 90% of the damages.
What Is the Value of My DUI Civil Lawsuit Case?
The value of a DUI civil lawsuit depends on factors such as the severity of the injuries, the level of fault of the parties involved (comparative negligence), and the impact of the accident on the victim's life. Given that these accidents are not usually identical, an experienced attorney can help you evaluate the potential value of your case and negotiate for a fair settlement with the other party on your behalf.
Am I Obligated to Accept the Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company in a Car Accident Claim Involving a Drunk Driver?
No, you are not. Unfortunately, chances are, the insurance company will offer a lowball settlement because they only care about protecting their interests, not your health and well-being, after a car accident. This is particularly common when the victim has no legal representation. For this reason, you should carefully evaluate any settlement offer and work with an experienced attorney to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses.
Morgan & Morgan Can Fight for You
Very few things in this world are worse than a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Such accidents often lead to devastating and life-changing injuries, that is, if the victims are even lucky to be alive. In the case of death caused by a drunk driver, the survivors and their families are usually left with an uncertain financial future, not forgetting the endless pain and suffering of living without their beloved.
If such a situation sounds too familiar, Morgan & Morgan, America's largest injury firm, can help fight for you. With over $15 billion already recovered, an army of over 900 injury lawyers, and more than 300,000 happy clients, you can finally rest easy knowing your case is in the right hands.
Remember that car accident claims have strict deadlines. So do not waste any more time—contact us today for a free case evaluation.