Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during 2018, there were at least 1,069 fatalities in drunk driving accidents in California. Our state placed second, just below Texas, where 1,439 people died in these circumstances.
Sadly, this is not the only outcome when someone drinks and goes behind the wheel. A lot of driving under the influence (DUI) cause that innocent people get severely injured with:
- Broken bones,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Spinal cord damage,
- Internal organ injuries, or
- Partial or total paralysis, among other wounds.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident in Bakersfield, California, contact Farahi Law Firm. Our skilled and experienced attorneys will guide and accompany you through the whole process. We will obtain the justice you deserve!
Drunk Driving According to Law
Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as drunk driving, means operating a motor vehicle while the blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above the statutory limit, at which a person cannot drive safely.
Chapter 12 of the California Vehicle Code states that it is illegal to:
- Drivers over 21 years operate a vehicle with a BAC level equal to or above 0.08g/dl.
- Drivers for commercial motor vehicles cannot have a BAC level equal to or above 0.04g/dl.
- Drivers under 21 years and on DUI probation (any age) cannot have a BAC level equal to or above 0.01g/dl
Nonetheless, there are a lot of factors that can affect your BAC level, such as:
- Body size/weight
- Number of drinks
- Type of alcohol consumed
- The time during which drinks were consumed
- How much food you ate before/during drinking, also
- Certain medical conditions that affect how the body metabolizes alcohol
American Addiction Centers (AAC) points out that increasing the BAC level produce some side effects and impairments that could reduce your ability to control a vehicle, such as:
- Slowed reflexes and reaction time,
- Slurred speech,
- Blackouts, and memory loss,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Loss of physical coordination,
- Passing out,
- Heartbeat, breathing, and blood pressure changes.
How to Recognize a Drunk Driver
To be safe on the road, you have to be a defensive driver, and part of that is knowing the signs when another car on the road might have a drunk driver at the wheel.
Here are some elements that would help you determine if a driver is drunk:
- Inability to judge the road and proximity to other objects
- He/she has trouble staying in the lane
- Sharp or jerky turns, sudden maneuvers, and over-correction of steering
- He/she is failing to maintain speed (sudden acceleration or driving very slowly)
- Running over curbs, weaving, or straddling lanes
- Stopping short of a traffic signal, overshooting the signal or stop sign, or abruptly stopping in the road
- He/she fails to adapt driving to accommodate changes in surroundings and driving conditions
- Crossing the centerline or a double-yellow line
- Failing to signal, or making signals that do not reflect what the driver does
- Night driving without lights or failure to dim high-beams
What to do if you Spot a Drunk Driver
If you are driving and suspect the driver of another vehicle is drunk, you must:
- Stay far behind the suspected drunk driver. Drunk drivers often stop abruptly.
- Be sure you and your passengers are all correctly and safely wearing your seat belts.
- Get out of the way. Please, don’t attempt to pass the car. Beware of any sudden moves. Keep as much distance as possible between your vehicle and theirs.
- Stop and pull off the road if it’s safe to do so.
- Call 911 and report the location, direction of travel, description of the car, and the behavior of the driver.
Do not attempt to stop the drunk driver’s car on your own. Leave that to the police!
What to do if you were in a Drunk Driver Accident in Bakersfield
In case you or a loved one have been involved in a DUI accident, you are entitled to compensation, but first, you have to:
- Call 911. You need to be sure that everyone is safe. The EMTs and the Police must be on the scene of the accident.
- Take as many photos as you can of the incident. Remember that everything is relevant and could be evidence of your case.
- Gather all the information from the drunk driver (name, telephone number, license, plate number, and, if it is possible, his/her insurance info).
- Were there witnesses? Collect their contact information.
- Ask the police officers the number of the accident report, so you request a copy.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Even if you do not feel pain, go to the ER. Commonly, accident victims are unaware of the extent of their injuries.
- Contact Farahi Law Firm. Our experienced in Bakersfield drunk driving accident lawyers will accompany you through the whole process and obtain the justice you deserve after the pain endured.
Damages you may Recover if you were Involved in a Drunk Driving Accident in Bakersfield
If you or your loved one suffered a severe injury in a DUI accident, you are entitled to damages that may include:
- Medical expenses (past, present, and future)
- Mental health treatment
- Vehicle repairs/replacement
- Loss of income
- Physical impairment
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
In case the DUI crash was fatal, and you lost a loved one, you must contact an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer immediately to file a wrongful death claim, and obtain the justice you deserve. Among the damages you are entitled are:
- Hospital bills
- Funeral expenses
- Lost future income
- Property damages
- Emotional suffering
- Loss of care and service
In all the scenarios, it is essential to remember that the at-blame driver’s insurance company is never on your side, therefore do not talk with their adjuster before contacting an attorney!
The adjuster is looking for their best interests, not yours. You will be shocked how many times insurance companies try to push some of the blame onto the injured victim. If they can do so, it will allow them to reduce liability. Remember that you have no obligation to give them a recorded statement after an accident.
Please, avoid early settlement negotiations, and do not sign any documents without consulting with your Bakersfield drunk driving accident lawyer. A common tactic is to offer a quick, lowball settlement to the DUI accident victim. Let our Bakersfield drunk driving accident lawyers handle the negotiations. We will recover what you are owed!
Why do you need a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer?
to helping injured people to get back on their feet with the maximum compensation possible.
While you and your family are focused on healing, we will:
- Carry out an unbiased investigation of the crash,
- Seek the most favorable settlement, but also prepare for trial.
- Bring expert witnesses
- Get you in touch with professional doctors
Remember that in these difficult times, we are here for you 24/7.
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Frequently Asked Questions
DUI lawsuits must be brought within two years of the date of the accident. If the plaintiff is a minor, you have until their 19th birthday to bring the case. There is an exception to this law. When a public entity is in any way involved in the accident, you have only six months to file the claim, even if the plaintiff is a minor.
In a drunk driving accident claim, other defendants may bear partial, or total, liability for the crash, such as:
- Parents of teenage drivers
- Hosts of private parties;
- Bars and clubs
Your attorney should explore all the possibilities that lead to the negligent act and DUI crash.
You should file a claim under your auto insurance, which is known as an underinsured or uninsured claim (UM/UIM). This type of insurance should pay your medical bills and lost wages. It is critical that you contact an attorney immediately; you do not want to deal with the insurance company alone.
A toxicologist will have to be called at trial to establish the level of alcohol and/or drugs in a person’s body.
Yes. Insurance companies do not want to go to trial when their insured has been driving under the influence. With DUI drivers, the verdicts tend to be more substantial.