Injured by a Drunk Driver? Call (916) 500-0000 for a Free Consultation
You deserve maximized compensation after being hit by a reckless drunk driver in Sacramento. Securing that compensation will likely be a legal battle, though, even when ample evidence suggests the other driver was intoxicated behind the wheel.
To bolster your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve, place your case in the capable hands of Triumph Law, P.C. and our Sacramento DUI victim attorney. We bring more than 20 years of personal injury practice experience from an award-winning lawyer to every case we take.
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Following a drunk driving accident it's important that you collect as much information and evidence as possible, especially if you were involved in a drunk driver hit and run.
- If the police have not already been notified, call the police and have them investigate the scene of the accident; they will also fill out an accident report
- Speak to any witnesses that saw the accident and see if you can get any statements from them, as well as their contact information
- Gather as much evidence as possible by taking pictures on your phone; photograph the collision scene, any injuries you may have sustained, and and damage done to the surrounding area
- Wait to make a decision about accepting a settlement the insurance company has offered until you first speak to a DUI accident lawyer about your case
Are Bars Liable for Drunk Drivers?
Sometimes the driver is not the only one who can be held responsible for a drunk driving accident. Some states have what is called a "dram shop law" that allows for alcohol servers and bars to be held liable. While California generally absolves bars from being held responsible for the actions of a drunk driver, there are still some situations in which they can be sued for negligence:
- If an adult knowingly serves alcohol to an underage individual at his or her own residence, the adult may then be held responsible if the underage person causes an accident while intoxicated
- If someone working at a bar or restaurant knowingly serves alcohol to a minor who is obviously intoxicated, that individual may be held liable if the intoxicated minor causes an accident
Punitive Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident Claim
You deserve to be given all available compensation when bringing a claim or lawsuit against a drunk driver. As can be expected, you may be able to receive money to help pay for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost wages.
Noneconomic damages for your pain and suffering will also likely be addressed. In a drunk driving accident claim, though, it might be possible to also demand punitive damages. A plaintiff can be awarded noneconomic punitive damages when the defendant has been accused of causing harm due to clear wrongdoing or illegal action, such as driving while intoxicated.
According to California law, punitive damages may be available for victims of crimes or accidents as a result of “oppression, fraud, or malice.” In order to be awarded punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant acted with negligence as defined by California state law. The process of gathering this evidence can be complex and may require conversation with medical professionals, witnesses, the insurance company, and many others to secure proof of damages. It is the responsibility of the court to determine if the defendant has the means to pay the punitive damages demanded.
It is important to realize upfront that a criminal case against the drunk driver that hit you is not a civil claim. Someone who is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) has been judged by a criminal court, not a civil court. As such, it is unlikely any mandatory restitution to the wrongfully injured will be included in their sentencing requirements.
If you want coverage for your damages after a drunk driving accident, then you will need to file a car accident or personal injury claim of your own. The good news is evidence used in a criminal case can also be used in a civil case. Our drunk driving accident attorney in Sacramento has the legal insight needed to take evidence of a DUI criminal violation and use it to your benefit when seeking compensation.
Unique proof of liability to use in a drunk driving accident may include:
- Police reports from the time of arrest.
- Driver’s history of DUI arrests or license suspension.
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level recorded after arrest.
- DUI conviction ordered by criminal court.
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