Despite decades of effort to discourage driving while intoxicated, impaired drivers continue to cause death and injury to innocent people. If you were injured in a drunk driving car accident in Corona, the law allows you to hold the driver accountable by suing for monetary damages. A local car accident attorney could steer you through the process and help you get justice for the harm that the drunk driver did to you.
Drunk driving could be a misdemeanor or a criminal offense. The severity of the charges a drunk driver might face depends on several factors, including their blood alcohol concentration (BAC), driving history, whether the accident was fatal or caused serious injuries, and other considerations.
There is no need for an injured person to wait for the criminal proceedings to run their course before pursuing a civil suit against the drunk driver. The plaintiff is entitled to damages if he or she can prove that the defendant was negligent.
The plaintiff could present a defendant’s guilty plea or criminal conviction on a charge related to the accident as negligence per se, meaning that the fact that the driver violated the law establishes their negligence. However, a savvy attorney also could prove negligence in a Corona car accident by presenting more specific evidence showing that the drunk driver behaved carelessly or recklessly.
Survivors of crashes with drunk drivers often suffer serious, sometimes permanent, injuries. Damages mitigate the financial impact of the injury and provide money in acknowledgement of the effect the accident had on the plaintiff’s well-being and quality of life.
Economic damages reimburse the verified out-of-pocket expenses the plaintiff incurred due to the injury. Future expenses and projected lost income are also legitimate losses to claim as damages. Non-economic damages could include sums to compensate for the plaintiff’s disfigurement, inconvenience, disability, emotional anguish, and physical pain.
In some drunk driving cases, a plaintiff could seek exemplary damages, also called punitive damages. A defendant pays exemplary damages to the plaintiff as punishment for outrageous behavior. California Civil Code § 3294 authorizes exemplary damages when the defendant behaved with conscious disregard for others’ safety. A Corona attorney must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s behavior met the standard for awarding punitive damages.
Although a driver’s intoxication might have been the primary cause of an accident, there could be other factors that contributed to it. Sometimes an injured person’s conduct becomes an issue in a car accident case and a defendant might accuse a plaintiff of negligence.
The state follows the theory of pure comparative negligence, which holds each party to a personal injury action responsible for the results of their conduct. A negligent plaintiff still could collect reduced damages from other negligent parties.
During settlement negotiations, parties might agree on a distribution of fault amongst themselves and contribute to the settlement accordingly. If a lawsuit goes to court, a judge will allocate responsibility between the parties. The plaintiff cannot collect the portion of his or her damages that resulted from their behavior.
When a drunk driver’s reckless behavior severely injures another person, the driver must face consequences. If you were hurt in a drunk driving car accident in Corona, securing the services of a knowledgeable attorney is a good first step toward justice. You deserve compensation for all the losses you suffered because of someone’s illegal actions. Schedule a meeting with our team at your earliest convenience.