video calls availableFree Consultation
Request Free Consultation

San Diego Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Request Free Consultation

Intoxicated drivers remain a serious threat to the safety of other motorists in San Diego and the surrounding region. Despite national awareness campaigns, the rise of the rideshare industry, and strict law enforcement measures, intoxicated driving resulted in 1,370 traffic fatalities in California in 2021, an alarming 16% increase over 2020’s total.

For victims of drunk driving accidents, knowing the accident and injuries were preventable if only another driver hadn’t committed the serious wrongdoing of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated only adds to the trauma and distress.

Criminal charges may or may not penalize the drunk driver, depending on the circumstances of the case and the way the criminal court process plays out, but injury victims have another legal option for justice through the civil court system through a drunk-driving accident claim.

What Is the Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Action in a Drunk Driving Case in San Diego?

Law enforcement and the criminal court system handle the legal penalties for a drunk driver in California as a means of punishing the at-fault driver and as a deterrent to a repeat of the behavior. A civil action in a drunk driving case serves as a means of obtaining financial compensation through an insurance claim and/or a lawsuit against the drunk driver. A compensation claim proceeds in civil court independently of any criminal action and doesn’t depend on a guilty verdict. The burden of proof is also lower in a civil case. Instead of proving the driver’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as in criminal court, a civil action requires the injury victim to prove that it’s more likely than not that the driver caused the injuries.

How Does a San Diego Drunk Driving Claim Recover Compensation?

California’s fault-based insurance laws hold negligent drivers financially responsible for injury victims if they cause an accident. Driving while intoxicated is dangerously negligent behavior. An attorney for the injury victim investigates all aspects of the accident, including the police report, the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC) at the time of the accident, and other evidence. Then they build a compelling case and send evidence in a demand letter to the driver’s insurance company seeking the maximum available compensation.

What Compensation Can I Recover in a Drunk Driving Claim in California?

Depending on the seriousness of the injuries and the amount of insurance coverage available in the intoxicated driver’s insurance policy, an injury victim may seek compensation for common car accident damages like the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs related to the injuries
  • Lost income
  • Future lost wages
  • Lowered future earning capacity due to disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages that might apply in an individual case

If the driver is uninsured or underinsured, a skilled attorney seeks other options for recovering compensation such as through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, or through a lawsuit against the drunk driver. If the accident caused a fatality, a wrongful death claim can bring additional compensation for funeral costs and loss of income.

Do I Need An Attorney After a Drunk Driving Accident in California?

As the victim of a criminal action and a civil liability case, you shouldn’t take on a claim against a drunk driver without experienced legal representation by a San Diego car accident lawyer who can protect your rights and assertively argue for your best interests throughout the process of your case.