Ventura Drunk Driving Accidents
Ventura is located along the 101 freeway between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. It is home to well over 100,000 people, and residents of surrounding communities often commute there for work. Despite a decades-long campaign against drunk driving, there continue to be drivers who take the wheel while intoxicated or on drugs. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to recover damages. In 2014, for example, fatal accidents on Seaward Avenue and Transport Street in Ventura were caused by drivers who were under the influence. Although a drunk driving case may seem straightforward, most insurers do not offer accident victims the full amount that a case is worth right away. You should consult the Ventura drunk driving accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm, PLC about legal representation.Bringing a Claim Against a Drunk Driver
California Vehicle Code 23153 criminalizes causing injuries by driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug. Someone who violates this law can be convicted of a crime. The criminal drunk driving case is separate from a civil case that may be brought by the victims of an accident. The burden of proof is more relaxed in a civil case than a criminal case. In the former, you must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, you could recover damages in a civil case after a drunk driving accident, even if the defendant was not convicted in criminal court.
You will most likely need to establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you will need to show that more likely than not, the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, and caused your injuries (or your loved one's death).
A drunk driving accident attorney in Ventura also may be able to bring a claim of negligence per se based on a violation of California Vehicle Code 23153. "Negligence per se" means negligence as a matter of law. Negligence per se applies when there is a violation of a safety law, the violation causes injuries, and the injuries were of the type that the law was designed to prevent.
Defendants often raise the defense of comparative negligence. This is a doctrine that requires the jury to consider the plaintiff's degree of fault for the accident and reduce the recovery by a percentage equal to the plaintiff's degree of fault, if any. Partly because of this doctrine, it is critical to talk to your own attorney before talking to a drunk driver's insurance company.
Injuries from a drunk driving accident can be catastrophic, including traumatic brain injuries, crushed limbs, amputation, spinal cord damage, or broken bones. They may even be fatal. If you can establish liability for your injuries, you should be able to recover a broad range of compensatory damages, including medical bills, hospital bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, rehabilitation, household services, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. These are damages intended to put you back in the position where you would have been had the accident not happened.
Unlike most personal injury cases, lawsuits that arise out of drunk driving may give rise to a claim for punitive damages. These are damages available to punish the defendant and deter future similar conduct. The amount of punitive damages depends on the egregiousness of the defendant's actions and the defendant’s wealth, among other factors.
Compensatory damages that certain family members can recover in case of a loved one's wrongful death in a drunk driving accident include the value of their loss of love, guidance, support, and affection, as well as household services and their loss of future financial support. The estate typically can recover for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and lost wages, including what the decedent would have reasonably been likely to earn had they survived the accident.Retain a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Ventura
Drunk driving accidents can have devastating consequences. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced car accident attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries. Contact us online or call us at 1-866-422-7222 to set up a free appointment to discuss your case with a Ventura drunk driving accident attorney.