San Jose DUI Attorneys
The most recent data from the California Office of Traffic Safety estimates a 16 percent increase in the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving from 2015 to 2016. Injuries resulting from drunk driving accidents have also been on the increase. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there was a 4.6 percent increase in the number of drunk driving accidents that involved personal injury between the years 2014 and 2015. In 2014, 18,023 drunk driving accidents occurred on California’s roads; the following year that number rose to 18,861. Drunk driving is illegal and resulting accidents are preventable, making these numbers even more alarming.
The San Jose drunk driving accident lawyers at Bohn & Fletcher have recovered millions for clients suffering personal injuries in auto accidents, including those that involved a driver impaired by alcohol. We will aggressively pursue compensation for your losses if a drunk or drugged driver injured you. The skilled legal team at our San Jose law firm combines personalized attention with professional excellence. Our personal injury lawyers are AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating for ethics and legal prowess. We have successfully negotiated settlements and secured large verdicts for clients throughout the Bay Area as well as Central and Southern California.
What Are California’s Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Claims?
A statute of limitations is the legal deadline by which you must file a lawsuit. California law requires that you take legal action within two years after the date of an accident if you cannot successfully negotiate a settlement beforehand. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations clock runs out, it’s likely the court will not hear your case and you cannot recover any compensation for your injuries. If you want to sue a drunk driver for damages, it is in your best interest to seek an experienced San Jose drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you have the best chances of recovering losses related to your injuries.
Types of Drunk Driving Accidents
A drunk driver or one who is under the influence of drugs can have many kinds of accidents with a vehicle, including running into a bicyclist or a pedestrian, or crashing through a fence. Yet, when serious injury or fatality occurs because of a DUI accident, it is often the result of the following types of collisions:
Drug and alcohol use cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle; the risk might be elevated if the driver is also fatigued. When drivers are tired, alcohol can contribute to them falling asleep at the wheel. In either case, a driver might swerve into oncoming traffic causing a head-on collision. Head-on crashes are especially dangerous at high speeds, often resulting in catastrophic injuries.
Drivers who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol lose their ability to judge time and distance, making it difficult to react to vehicles in front of them. If a vehicle ahead slows down or stops quickly, a drunk driver who is following can easily crash into the rear of the front vehicle. Even a couple of drinks can cause a driver to misjudge the distance to a car ahead.
Most wrong-way crashes are head-on collisions, too. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol might struggle reading and reacting to stoplights, stop signs, and other traffic signs and signals. When this results in a driver heading the wrong way on a one-way street, divided highway, or confusing interstate entrance and exit ramps, a serious accident might occur.
Recovering Damages After a DUI Accident
After a DUI accident, it’s in your best interest to hire a drunk driver accident lawyer to advise you, regardless of whether you take legal action. California is a tort liability state, which means fault matters in terms of recovering damages. At-fault drivers, including those who have been drinking or using drugs, have legal liability for damages. Your initial step for recovering damages, however, may require filing an insurance claim with your own auto insurance carrier, who will seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s carrier. When minor accidents occur, damages don’t typically exceed policy limits, so legal action isn’t usually necessary.
When a drunk driver causes a severe accident which results in serious or catastrophic injuries or death, your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage claim may exceed the drunk driver’s policy limits, in which case your only recourse for the remainder could be seeking a judgment against the drunk driver’s personal assets. A skilled drunk driver accident lawyer can help you recover your losses and offer guidance on when and if a lawsuit is your best course of action. If you sue for damages and a court rules in your favor, you might be awarded compensatory and punitive damages. Keep in mind that courts reserve punitive damages for extreme cases of gross negligence; it’s most likely that a verdict in your favor will include only compensatory damages such as:
- Medical costs including ambulance and emergency services, hospital stays, surgery, X-rays, aftercare, and prescription medication
- Future medical expenses when a drunk driving accident results in a long-term disability or an injury requiring extensive recovery
- Lost wages for missing work due to injury, hospitalization, and recovery
- Future lost wages, also referred to as lost earning capacity, when an accident causes permanent disability, preventing the injured party from returning to their job
- Rehabilitation costs such as physical therapy and assistive devices such as crutches, prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and canes
- Non-economic costs including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, scarring and disfigurement, and any others that might apply to your situation
In the event that a DUI accident resulted in the loss of your child or another loved one, contact a San Jose drunk driving accident lawyer who has experience with wrongful death claims. California law entitles surviving family members or the estate of the deceased to sue for damages in a wrongful death suit. If you prevail in the suit, you might recover some of the damages above as well as funeral expenses and burial costs.
Have More Questions? We Can Help. Call Bohn & Fletcher, LLP, Today
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a drunk driver (DUI/DWI), or a driver who was under the influence of drugs (DUID), California law entitles you to sue for damages related to your injuries in civil court. At Bohn & Fletcher, LLP we have been holding careless drivers accountable for more than 40 years. From our offices in San Jose, we serve clients throughout California and the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Campbell, and surrounding communities.
If you have questions about a drunk driving accident, contact the San Jose drunk driving accident lawyers at Bohn & Fletcher today. We offer free consultations to all clients and work on a contingent fee basis. This means we recover our attorney fees from any compensation we secure for you in the form of a settlement or verdict in your favor. In the event that you cannot travel to us, we will happily meet with you at your home or in your hospital room. Contact us online or call (408) 279-4222 today to schedule a free consultation.