San Bernardino Drunk Driving Accidents
In spite of aggressive efforts to curb drunk driving, many people in California continue to be injured or killed in drunk driving accidents. People who drive drunk often face hefty fines, and they may even face jail time and restitution, particularly if someone is injured or killed in the accident. Although there are penalties for drunk driving, they may not have much impact for victims, who may face catastrophic injuries or be killed. You may pursue compensation for any serious injuries that you suffer due to another driver's decision to drive drunk, and family members may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a loved one. It is important to retain an experienced San Bernardino drunk driving accident lawyer who can help you explore your options.Bringing a Claim for Compensation Following a Drunk Driving Accident
The criminal proceedings associated with a DUI are separate from a civil personal injury lawsuit, but what happens in the criminal proceedings may influence the outcome of the civil lawsuit. For example, evidence in the criminal case, such as a policeman's testimony, may be useful when bringing a civil lawsuit for damages. Even if someone is not prosecuted or convicted of a DUI, you may be able to recover money damages in a civil lawsuit. The burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a criminal matter, whereas it is "preponderance of the evidence" in a civil lawsuit. The latter is an easier standard to meet.
You may be able to establish a drunk driver's liability by showing negligence per se. Negligence per se applies when there is a violation of a safety law, and someone who is of the class that the safety law was designed to protect is injured or killed. Usually, a police citation or criminal charges help when a personal injury lawsuit is brought under negligence per se. Even if you cannot show negligence per se, you may be able to show negligence by proving that the drunk driver failed to use reasonable care in driving under the influence and thereby caused your injuries or a loved one's death.
If you establish liability with the assistance of a drunk driving accident attorney in San Bernardino, you can likely recover compensatory damages for your injuries. These are damages intended to put you back in the position in which you would have been had the accident not happened. You may recover economic and noneconomic damages, including medical bills, wage loss, lost earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and household services.
If a loved one has died, you may be able to recover for other losses, such as funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of guidance. Your ability to recover for a wrongful death depends on your relationship to the victim. In California, the first in line to be able to bring a wrongful death claim is the decedent's surviving spouse or domestic partner. The decedent's surviving children may also bring a lawsuit. When there are no children, any heir through intestate succession rules may bring suit, such as the decedent's parents or siblings. People who were financially dependent on the decedent may also be able to bring suit, such as when their relationship was a putative spouse to the decedent or a stepchild of the decedent.Contact an Experienced Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in San Bernardino
San Bernardino is a city in Southern California that has the most per capita alcohol-related crashes resulting in death of any city in the country. From 2010 to 2012, for example, there were 92 drunk driving accidents resulting in deaths in San Bernardino. After this type of crash, you may need to sue for compensation. At Sharifi Firm, our San Bernardino drunk driving accident attorneys may be able to assist you. We can determine an appropriate strategy to seek your damages and take an aggressive approach to gathering evidence against a drunk driver. Contact us online or call us at (866) 422-7222 for a free consultation with a car crash lawyer.