San Jose Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drunk driving accidents can be serious and fatalities caused by inebriated drivers in California appear to be on the rise. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety’s most recent statistics alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased by over 16% between 2015 and 2016, to over 1,000 deaths that year. In 2015, California law enforcement officers made over 241,000 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests.
While that number alone is staggering, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) cites research that indicates that the average drunk driver drives drunk a whopping 80 times before being arrested. While these statistics only include those drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater, California’s legal limit for those over 21 years old. A BAC in the range of 0.04 to 0.06 percent can still lead to cognitive impairment. The bottom line is that drunk and impaired driving are significant problems on our roads and can have devastating consequences for other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
A person with a BAC of 0.08 percent (generally achieved by the consumption of approximately four alcoholic drinks in one hour) experiences various symptoms that can have detrimental effects on his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle. These include poor muscle coordination affecting balance, vision, speech, and reaction time; difficulty detecting danger; impaired self-control, judgment, and reasoning; defects in concentration; and a deficient ability to control speed. Such effects often lead to reckless driving—speeding, crossing the center line, sweriving out of lanes, ignoring traffic signals, and disregarding potential hazards on the road.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be eligible to recover some or all of the costs discussed below.
- Past and future medical costs. Whether your injuries are minor or severe, you were probably taken to an emergency room or some other treatment facility after your accident. Medical costs include those that you incur during your initial stay as well as any you face after your release, including ongoing physical or occupational therapy, surgeries, consultations with specialists, or any medical equipment that you may need as a result of your injuries, such as a wheelchair, crutches, a prosthetic device, or a cane. A serious drunk driving accident may have even left you with medical needs that will continue for the rest of your life. If you require long-term care, whether in-home or at a rehabilitation facility, an experienced drunk driving accident attorney may be able to help you recover those costs.
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages include those for physical pain and emotional distress. Physical pain might continue for the rest of a victim’s life, inhibiting his or her ability to carry out daily functions or to engage in favorite leisure activities. Beyond physical pain a victim might experience various types of emotional pain after a severe accident. The injured individual might be afraid to drive, distrust others, have nightmares or post-traumatic stress disorder, frustration, anxiety, depression or overwhelming grief. A victim may also suffer from trauma associated with severe scarring and disfigurement.
- Loss of consortium. These damages are damages that relate specifically to the losses suffered by the spouse of a victim. A spouse might experience the loss of a physical or sexual relationship with the victim, the victim may be unable to participate in and enjoy the activities the two used to engage in, and the household could be deprived of benefits the victim’s spouse previously provided, such as childcare, home maintenance, driving, or others.
- Lost wages. Your accident may have prevented you from working for a period of time immediately following your accident or it may have deprived you of the ability to continue working in the field in which you worked before your accident. It might even prohibit you from working at all for the rest of your life. If you find yourself in any of these situations you may be entitled to recovery for those lost wages. Lost future wages are usually computed by an expert who evaluates your previous earnings and likely wage increases over time compared to your current earning potential and its expected increases over time.
- Property damage. If you are an insured driver, your accident will likely involve an insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit enterprises and their goal is to pay out as little as possible. An experienced attorney can help you fight the insurance company and ensure that you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.
Call Our Car Accident Attorneys if a Drunk Driver Injures You
To ensure the greatest possible recovery for your drunk driving accident injuries, you should carefully document all of the costs you incur to treat, diagnose, and recover from your injuries. Specific costs to consider are those related to your initial hospital stay including doctors’ fees and the cost of medical supplies, post-discharge costs related to ongoing care from specialists and those related to occupational or physical therapy, mental health treatment, and rehabilitative care.
You should also document any lost wages during the time you are unable to work. This is especially important if you are paid on an hourly basis, and your employer does not offer short- or long-term disability. Also, keep proof of any costs related to the repair of your vehicle, particularly if the other party is uninsured and your insurance company refuses to reimburse you for the entire amount of your damages or does not give you fair replacement value if your vehicle was totaled.
If you lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, as that person’s survivor, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver and recover damages.
A drunk driving accident is scary and can overwhelm anyone. That’s why you need an experienced San Jose car accident attorney on your side who will fight to make sure you receive every dollar you deserve to compensate you for your injuries.
The attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher have more than 40 years of combined experience fighting for clients in your situation. California law generally requires that you file your lawsuit within two years of your accident, so don’t delay. Contact us today or dial (408) 279-4222 for a free case evaluation by one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys. We will fight for your legal rights while you focus on recovering and reclaiming your life after a drunk driving accident.