If you've been involved in a car accident where the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you're entitled to some type of compensation. As driving under the influence is both illegal and incredibly dangerous, it's very easy to prove fault in these cases.
Please take these steps if you've been hit by a drunk driver in California.
1. Determine fault.
When it comes to drunk driving accidents, there are three parties who could be considered at fault:
The Driver: Obviously the drunk driver is held responsible for their own poor decision making when they drove under the influence.
Hosts: If the drunk driver was at a party where the host was serving alcohol before driving and causing an accident, the host could potentially be liable. This becomes even further solidified if it's determined that the host allowed the driver to continue drinking even after they were impaired.
Bar/Restaurant Staff/Owners: Similarly, bar and restaurant staff and owners can be found liable for a drunk driving accident if they continued to serve alcohol after the driver was inebriated.
The police you call to the scene should be able to determine fault, and you'll take this with you to the insurance company and auto accident attorney.
2. Make an insurance claim.
In an accident where there haven't been serious injuries, sometimes all you need to do is make an insurance claim to get the compensation to cover your vehicle's damages.
This is because insurance companies don't want to deal with the lawsuits that can accompany drunk driving accidents, so they're not going to lowball the payment they offer for your damages. They know their insured driver was at fault and they could lose a lot of money if they tried to be stingy and ended up in court.
So, for starters, you need to make a claim with your insurance company so you can get your vehicle's damages fixed.
3. Call an auto accident lawyer.
You may find that you've gotten all the compensation you need through your insurance claim. You're able to get your car fixed, or buy a new one if it was totaled, and move on with your life.
However, some accidents aren't so fortunate. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, you need to call an auto accident lawyer who specializes in drunk driving accidents to help.
This is because you deserve more compensation than simple vehicle damages. You need compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress at the very least. And a skilled auto accident attorney can get it for you.
At The May Firm, we work with people like you all of the time, who don't deserve to be in this situation but are because someone made the terrible decision to drive drunk. Contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can learn more about your case.