At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we believe that drunk drivers should be held accountable for the immense pain and suffering they cause. If you or someone you love was hit by a drunk driver, our attorneys are here to represent you and your rights. By filing a personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, lost income, and other damages. Our team is ready to protect you from the interests of the insurance company and work to secure maximum recovery on your behalf.
When you have been injured, you don't just need an attorney. You need an advocate.
How Common Are Drunk Driving Accidents in California?
According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired or intoxicated driving kills approximately 28 people a day in the United States. Although 2019 saw the lowest overall rates of drunk driving-related traffic fatalities since the early 80s, more than 10,000 people still died due to drunk driving accidents throughout the U.S. that year.
Unfortunately, California ranks among the top states for alcohol-related traffic accident fatalities. The NHTSA reports that, in 2019, California was second only to Texas when it came to the overall number of drunk driving-related traffic accident fatalities, with 949 deaths attributed to drunk driving accidents. Overall, about 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in California were classified as “alcohol-related” in 2019, which was just under the national average.
Can You Sue a Drunk Driver for Damages?
California personal injury law allows you to sue a drunk driver when he or she causes an accident that leaves you injured and/or damages your personal property, such as your vehicle.
Depending on the specific details of your case—such as the severity of your injuries and the extent of your damages—you could be entitled to compensation for your:
- Hospital/medical bills
- Copays and other medical care costs
- Medical equipment
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income/wages
- Future lost earnings due to disability
- Pain and suffering
- Lost or reduced earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Home modifications
- In-home assistance/care costs
In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are meant to punish the drunk driver for their wrongdoing.
A drunk driving accident claim (or lawsuit) is separate from any criminal and/or administrative penalties the drunk driver may face. So, in addition to possible jail time, fines, and driver’s license suspension, the drunk driver may be ordered to pay you for damages you sustained due to the accident. Note that, while the outcome of a criminal DUI case does not necessary affect your personal injury claim, proof of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could serve as powerful evidence in your civil case.
Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?
Like in other types of car accidents, liability in drunk driving accidents typically rests with the person or party who caused the accident. In other words, the drunk driver is most often the one liable for the victims’ injuries and other damages.
However, in some cases, injured victims may be able to bring claims against the establishment or entity that provided the drunk driver with alcohol. California dram shop laws essentially absolve restaurants, bars, and other vendors from liability when they serve or overserve patrons who then go on to cause alcohol-related accidents. However, if a vendor serves alcohol to someone who is underage, meaning under the legal drinking age of 21, and that individual is “obviously intoxicated,” the vendor could be held liable for any resulting damages.
The same is true of cases involving “social hosts,” or parents, guardians, or other adults who knowingly provide alcohol to minors in their residences. When this occurs, the adult who knowingly furnished alcohol to the minor could be legally responsible for damages caused by the intoxicated or impaired minor. Note that this includes damages suffered by the minor him or herself.
Have You Sustained a Serious Injury From a Drunk Driver?
Drunk drivers cause some of the most serious injuries in car wrecks. These are ten of the most common ones:
Spinal cord injuries
Other severe neck or back injury
Traumatic brain injuries
Open head wounds
Internal organ damage
Broken and dislocated bones
The mental trauma and suffering you may be experiencing are also common after a serious car accident. You may feel a strong sense that what happened was severely unjust. One person decided to drink and drive and changed your life, possibly forever.
At Ayala, Morgan, and Buzzard, we understand the pain you are going through. We're here to put up a strong case for you and get you the compensation you deserve.
Why Hire a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney?
Drunk driving accidents tend to result in catastrophic injuries, such as spine injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Victims are often hospitalized and require extensive medical treatment, all of which can be extremely costly. As a result, these types of claims tend to be higher in value than other motor vehicle accident cases involving less-serious injuries.
Insurance companies are quick to dispute or deny high-value claims. Like any other business, their goal is to protect their bottom lines—something they often do by limiting payouts to claimants. It is important that you work with an experienced attorney who can not only protect your rights against the interests of the insurance company but also fight to secure the maximum compensation you are owed.
When you work with our San Francisco drunk driving accident attorneys at Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, you will receive the highest level of personal attention and customer service. We recognize that no two cases are exactly alike, which is why we draw on our decades of combined experience to develop innovative strategies tailored to each individual’s unique circumstances. We will handle every last detail so that you can focus on getting the proper treatment you need to heal.
Request a Complimentary Case Evaluation with Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard
If you were injured or if someone you love died due to a drunk driving accident in San Francisco or any of the surrounding areas, reach out to Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard right away. Our attorneys serve clients throughout the Bay Area, providing compassionate and individualized legal services based on a foundation of honesty, integrity, and communication. We can help you file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver or another liable party.
There are absolutely zero out-of-pocket expenses when you hire our firm. Because we provide our legal services on a contingency fee basis, we only collect attorney fees if/when we win your case. If we do not recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you do not pay us anything.