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Victims of Drunk Driving

In 2017, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calculated the total number of people killed in a DUI crash in the U.S to be 10,874. The study also determined that 68% of those fatal vehicles crashes contained a person driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of at least .15 or more. The NHTSA states the effects of a BAC level concentration of .15 or more include decreases muscle control and balance. Even though most people are somewhat aware of these effects, there are still drunk drivers on the streets. 

Ultimately, a DUI is an act of irresponsibility and selfishness. Drunk driving victims and their loved ones know they can file a criminal charge, but most never think to do so under personal injury or wrongful death. However, a civil suit such as a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim allows victims to seek compensation for the damages incurred from the accident. These damages can be used to cover medical costs, lost wages, and funeral and burial expenses. Submitting a civil claim is not an easy process and should be done under the guidance of a personal injury attorney. 

Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles

You should not be left worrying about how you will cover the cost of expensive medical bills and lost wages. Let Yarian & Associates, APC do the fighting for you. Their attornies will make sure the intoxicated driver is held responsible for their actions and that you receive maximum compensation.  

Yarian & Associates, APC is here to make sure you get your peace of mind back. Call (844) 826-5560 to schedule a free case evaluation. Levik Yarian represents clients in areas across Los Angeles County and Tulare County.

Victims of Drunk Driving Overview 


Injuries Associated with Drunk Driving Accidents

Victims of drunk driving accidents can suffer debilitating injuries that require lengthy hospital stays, costly medical treatment, and lost wages. Of course, some DUI accidents can even lead to death. Injuries commonly associated with drunk driving accidents can include:

Physical Injuries: 

  • Neck injuries: Whiplash is the most common neck injury suffered in a DUI accident, especially low-impact collisions. However, crashes at high speeds can cause bones in the neck to break and injure the larynx and trachea.
  • Brain injuries: The brain is subject to injuries, no matter the type of crash. Victims of intoxicated driving can suffer traumatic brain injuries that can cause coma status, paralysis, and cognitive damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on the impact. Mild spinal cord injuries can include a slipped disk or ligament bruise, while more severe injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis.
  • Leg and knee injuries: Broken knees and legs are common in drunk driving accidents. Most of these injuries heal with time, but some survivors can suffer lifelong complications making it difficult to walk or even stand.

Emotional Injuries: 

Being involved in an auto accident is a frightening experience. Drunk driving accidents have the potential to cause severe psychological trauma. Emotions can consume survivors, or the family of loved ones lost in the crash. These emotions can take a toll and cause victims to behave out of character. Drunk driving victims can also experience severe PTSD, depression, and anxiety following an accident. Living with these conditions can drastically impact a victim’s quality of life and seeking professional help can be costly. 

Financial Injuries: 

Sky-high medical bills and not being able to work can cause a significant economic impact on a DUI victim and their families. Because of this, some victims may not receive the treatment they need to heal and cannot return to the quality of life they had before the accident. Also, some injuries may be so severe the victim cannot return to the work they were doing before the accident or be able to return to work at all. 


Wrongful Death

If a DUI conviction results in a death, the decedent’s legal representation can sue for wrongful death on his or her behalf. Wrongful death (stated in the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60) is seen in various scenarios, most commonly a car accident. The wrongful death claim comes as a result of negligence caused by the other party and their actions. The people representing the deceased can file a claim for personal losses in connection with the death. The people representing must prove that they were previously dependent on the decedent. The decedent’s representatives can be as follows: 

  • Families such as spouse, children, or descendants
  • Domestic partner inheriting property  
  • Any dependents such as parents, ex-spouse, stepchildren, or minor (previously residing with the deceased)  

Under a wrongful death suit, the plaintiff or the person filing the case can receive recompense known as damages. These damages include suffering or loss on the plaintiff’s part but do not include punitive damages. With this claim, you can also ask the court for a monetary settlement to cover the cost of damages incurred from the crash. Remember you only have two years from the date of passing to submit a wrongful death claim.

The following can be recovered:

  • Medical bills relating to decedent’s care up until the end of life
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Emotional loss (domestic partner or spouse)
  • Financial loss (deceased’s dependents or family)
  • Deceased’s potential earnings

California allows DUI victims to seek economic and non-economic damages regardless if filing a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim. Economic damages are easily quantifiable with a dollar sign, and their value does not change. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are much harder to determine. Non-economic damages are costs without a dollar sign. The amount of non-economic damages is not concrete and can fluctuate depending on the jury.

Victims of drunk driving can also seek punitive damages. These are designed to compensate an injured person for the harm as a result of the criminal act. Punitive damages are mostly  awarded in addition to compensatory damages. They are also an extra punishment for the liable party. 


Punishment

DUI convictions are a serious offense, and a personal injury attorney can help represent you in a case where you’ll expect justice to be served. A person convicted of a DUI can suffer consequences according to the California Penal Codes 191.5 & 672 and Vehicle Code 23566. These punishments can fluctuate if the defendant had any previous DUI convictions. The court in charge of the case is the one who ultimately decides the sentence.

Note: can vary by court 

DUI Injury Misdemeanor or Felony Jail/Prison 5 days – 4 years
Fine $390 – $5,000
DUI Death Misdemeanor or Felony Jail/Prison <1 year – 15 years or life
Fine <$1000 to $10,000

 


Additional Resources

Get Help | Mothers Against Drunk Driving – Follow the link provided to reach a community of mothers combatting drunk driving. This network has emotional support groups and resources for the victims’ loved ones. If you are the mother of a victim or support the fight against drunk driving, click the link to find out more.

Different Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration – This page demonstrates the various physical effects of alcohol according to blood alcohol concentration level. The higher the levels of alcohol, the greater the physical danger. These effects give an idea of the imposed risk that alcohol puts us in, especially when it’s the driver that is intoxicated.  


Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

You only have two years from the date of the injury or wrongful death to file a claim, so you must act fast. Yarian & Associates, APC will work diligently on your behalf. Levik Yarian will keep you up to date through the entire process and stop at nothing to ensure you receive fair compensation. 

 Contact Yarian & Associates, APC today. Call (844) 826-5560 to schedule your case evaluation. Yarian & Associates, APC assist clients in areas such as Glendale, Los Angeles, Visalia, Riverside, Fresno, Irvine, and San Bernardino.


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