During the holidays, one of the biggest concerns on the road is drinking and driving. Perhaps you see the highway signs from the NHTSA that say “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” or “Don’t Drink and Drive.” These messages are especially important in December. Many people travel for the holidays and attend gatherings where alcohol is served.
If you or a loved one was a victim of a DUI crash in California, you have the right to pursue compensation from the negligent driver. Contact a Cerritos car accident lawyer today at (562) 376-5595 to discuss your legal options.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Nationwide, drunk driving causes more than 10,000 fatalities per year. In 2021, 13,384 died in alcohol-impaired traffic accidents, according to the NHTSA. As the administration notes, all of these deaths were preventable.
In Los Angeles, there were a total of 26,132 total fatal and injury accidents in 2020. Of these car accidents, 2,282 involved alcohol. More than 4,000 drivers were arrested and charged with a DUI.
DUI Laws in California
A DUI case can result in serious consequences. Like most states, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in California is 0.08%. If you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you can be charged with a DUI, which can be either a misdemeanor or felony. However, you can also face DUI charges if you are impaired by any amount of alcohol or drugs, regardless of your BAC level.
In California, DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) are used interchangeably. Both are serious offenses that can result in driver’s license suspension, fines, and jail time. Additionally, certain laws require DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device (IID), which requires the driver to provide a breath sample before the engine will start.
Penalties increase if the driver causes serious injury or death to another person, has a minor passenger in the vehicle, or refuses to take a breathalyzer test.
What to Do After an Accident With a Drunk Driver
If an impaired driver hits and injures you, you must take immediate action to protect your well-being and legal rights. If you are able to do so, take the following steps after a car accident:
1. Call the police
To prove someone was driving under the influence, you must call the police. The police officer will administer a breathalyzer test and a field sobriety test to determine their BAC and label the crash as a DUI.
2. Exchange information
Obtain information from the other driver, including their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance company details. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well.
3. Gather evidence
Take photos or video of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and applicable traffic laws. When you are home, write down everything you can remember about the accident.
4. Seek medical attention
No matter what type of DUI car accident you are in, it is important to seek immediate medical attention, either from your primary care physician or an emergency room doctor. This will create medical records and prove your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
5. Talk to a car accident lawyer
Before speaking with the other party’s insurance company, consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. You do not want to make any mistakes that might hurt your chances of obtaining fair compensation from the responsible party.
Call a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
At Heritage Accident Lawyers, our personal injury team dedicates our practice to victims of auto accidents. If you suffered injuries in an impaired driving accident, our firm will help you recover compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal red tape in a personal injury claim. We will help you make sense of the laws set by the California courts and help you on the road to recovery.
Our personal injury law firm works on a contingency fee, meaning we do not collect upfront fees unless we win a verdict for you. We serve clients in Cerritos and across L.A. County including Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, Downey, and La Mirada. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.