Under California law, victims and their families are entitled to compensation for damages after an accident caused by a drunk driver. Call the Law Offices of Brown & Gessell now to find out your legal rights and take your first step in getting justice.
How many accidents are caused by drunk drivers in California?
In California, drunk driving accidents claim the lives of approximately 1,000 people each year. These accidents also result in serious injuries for nearly 13,000 people annually. Drunk driving is a serious problem in California and across the nation, and it is important to be aware of your legal rights against someone who has gotten behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. If you or someone you love has been injured in a drunk driving accident, it is important to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
What damages can you recover after a drunk driving accident in Stockton?
There are typically three types of damages that a drunk driving accident victim can recover. Economic damages compensate you for your economic losses. They are intended to put you back in the financial position you would have been in had you not been injured by the negligent party. They include:
- Past and future medical expenses, including but not limited to the ambulance ride, ER visit, diagnostic scans and tests, prescription medications, follow-up appointments with specialists, and physical therapy
- Lost income
- Future lost earnings
- The amount paid to repair or replace your car or other damaged property.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering. Calculating these damages is tricky because of their subjective nature. Non-economic damages compensate people for their physical suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. There’s no doubt that a car accident caused by another’s recklessness and drinking leads to fear of getting behind the wheel again or even getting back into a vehicle.
The shock of being injured by a drunk driver is hard to overcome. If you have been suffering from nightmares, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of enjoyment of life, and other psychological effects since your accident, communicate this to your attorney. These damages are an important part of your recovery and restitution from your serious injuries caused by a drunk driver. The attorneys at Brown & Gessell will effectively advocate for you in getting the best settlement or verdict possible.
The third type of damages is punitive damage, which are meant to punish a defendant for reckless behavior and outrageous conduct and deter the defendant and others from engaging in the same type of behavior. They are usually awarded at the court’s discretion. Speak to Brown & Gessell to find out if you are eligible to recover punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages.
Comparative Fault vs. Contributory Negligence
People often ask us if they can still recover any damages even if they were breaking the law at the time of the accident, such as distracted driving or excess speed. There is a difference between contributory and comparative fault. Under contributory negligence laws, the injured party cannot receive any damages after a car accident if it can be proven that they were partially to blame for the collision. Comparative negligence, by contrast, allows both parties to receive damages based on their share of the fault. California is a comparative fault state. Call Brown & Gessell now to have an attorney from our firm explain the law and how it relates to your specific case.
Injuries From Drunk Driving Accidents
Among some of the most serious injuries from car accidents is injury to the head and brain, often called traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBI’s often occur from drunk driving accidents. Such collisions, because of the sheer intensity of the impact, can cause a driver to strike his head on the interior of the vehicle, including the steering wheel, windshield, the side of the cabin or even the airbag. Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild, such as a concussion that can heal within a few months, to severe injury that can result in coma.
Fractures are extremely common after such serious car accidents. These injuries include the hips, ribs, pelvic region, and knees. Such injuries may require surgery and months or years of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most dangerous types of injuries that can be caused by a car accident from drunk driving. Injuries to the spinal discs or the cord and associated nerves interrupt the body’s motor and sensory communication. This impedes the use of limbs and can be associated with temporary or permanent, full or particle paralysis. Spine injuries are usually serious and require years of recovery. The attorneys at Brown & Gessell will seek full recovery for your injuries.
Alcohol’s Impact On The Brain and Body
Alcohol impedes the brain’s communication pathways so that it cannot properly send or receive signals, which leads to changes in mood, behavior, perception and reaction. While actively drinking, and even for a period of time after a person stops consuming alcohol, their decision-making skills and muscle coordination can be impaired. Levels of alcohol in the blood have known impact on the body’s ability to function:
- At .02 blood alcohol content (BAC), the body becomes slightly warmer and more relaxed, there is some loss of judgment and a slight decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
- At .05 BAC, there is a loss of small muscle control or involuntary jerking of the eye (nystagmus). The drinker experiences euphoria and may be acting more animatedly.
- At .08 BAC, muscle coordination deteriorates, and speech, balance, vision, and reaction time are negatively impacted. The drinker experiences short-term memory loss and reduced reasoning and self-control.
Call The Law Offices of Brown & Gessell
Being involved in a car accident is always traumatic, and it may be overwhelming trying to figure out what you should do, what rights you have, and from whom you can recover for your harms and losses. Being struck by a drunk driver is different from other types of car injury cases because of the laws that are violated and the serious impact the crash has on the victims. We fight for our clients in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin valley, who have been wrongly injured or have lost a loved one. Our clients choose us because of our successful track record for getting the results they need.. We serve victims of drunk driving accidents in Stockton and all over northern California.