It is illegal for any driver to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, yet driving under the influence (DUI) continues to be one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes in California. DUI is also a leading cause of vehicle accidents and a top contributing factor to fatal accidents in the state each year. If a drunk driver injured you, a Santa Monica drunk driving accident lawyer can help hold them accountable for their actions.
Whenever one party’s negligence or illegal misconduct results in harm to another party, it can form the basis of a personal injury case in Santa Monica. Every personal injury claim is unique, and every plaintiff will face different challenges as they seek compensation for their losses. However, personal injury claims filed in response to drunk driving accidents can be particularly challenging.
Heimanson & Wolf, LLP, has years of professional experience representing car accident victims throughout the Santa Monica area, and we are ready to leverage this experience for you in your drunk driving accident claim. We know the complex legal issues you might encounter as you seek to hold a drunk driver accountable for the damages they have caused, and the sooner you connect with our team, the sooner we can start building your case.
The standard procedure for recovering from a motor vehicle accident is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, followed by a personal injury claim when their insurance alone cannot fully compensate your losses. Before you can proceed with these recovery efforts, however, you must identify the party responsible for your damages and prove they directly caused the accident.
In a drunk driving accident claim, the plaintiff typically faces minimal difficulty in proving fault for their damages. You can secure a police report that includes details of your accident and the arrest of the drunk driver. If necessary, your Santa Monica drunk driving accident lawyer can help secure additional evidence to support your claim, including traffic camera footage and eyewitness testimony.
The state will handle criminal prosecution of the defendant while you can file your civil suit to seek compensation for the losses they caused. If they have auto insurance as required by California law, an insurance claim may yield some initial compensation for your damages, but anything their insurance can’t cover must be sought through a personal injury claim. You can seek compensation for all economic losses and your pain and suffering.
Whenever anyone causes a personal injury by breaking the law, they face liability not only for the victim’s damages and criminal charges from the state but also for additional financial punishment in the form of restitution or punitive damages. When you choose Heimanson & Wolf, LLP, to represent your drunk driving accident claim in Santa Monica, we will do everything we can to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your damages.
If you intend to file a civil claim for damages against any other party, you need to prove they are directly responsible for causing actual harm and then prove the full extent of the harm they caused. The drunk driver who hit you has likely been arrested by the police, and you can use the arrest record along with other forms of evidence to build the foundation of your claim.
California, like most other states, applies a sliding scale to DUI penalties based on the defendant’s number of previous DUI convictions and whether they caused serious harm or death to any parties with their actions. Penalties typically include fines, driver’s license suspension, jail time, probation, and other penalties assigned at the discretion of the judge handling sentencing. The defendant will also likely face a civil suit from the victim.
You have the right to seek full repayment of all economic losses you suffered because of a defendant’s negligence or illegal misconduct. The total value of your personal injury claim could include immediate and future medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and your lost future earning power. You also have the right to claim as much pain and suffering compensation as you believe appropriate to reflect the severity of the harm you suffered.
Hiring experienced legal counsel will significantly improve your chances of not only winning your case but also maximizing your total compensation. While you may be able to assess immediately noticeable damages, the full value of long-term damages you can claim depends on many factors. Your attorney is your most important asset when it comes to uncovering every channel of compensation available to you after a drunk driving accident.
If you have lost a family member due to a drunk driving accident, the at-fault driver is likely to face felony prosecution from the state. Additionally, you and your family could file a wrongful death suit against them in place of the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they had survived. A wrongful death claim shares many procedural similarities with a personal injury case, but there are special rules as to who may file these claims and the damages available.
The attorneys at Heimanson & Wolf, LLP, know how frustrating it can be to review the aftermath of any vehicle accident, especially a drunk driving accident. While the state will handle punishing the defendant for breaking the law, your Santa Monica drunk driving accident lawyer can help hold them accountable for your damages. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and find out how we can help you recover.