Drunk driving accidents are far more likely than you might realize. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 30% of all U.S. adults will be involved in a drunk driving crash at some point in their life. Furthermore, these crashes are responsible for three in every ten traffic-related deaths in the U.S. in 2020.
In multiple-car DUI accidents, sober people are more likely to suffer serious injuries or death than intoxicated drivers. While drunk drivers are more likely to die overall, this ignores the number of fatalities in single-car DUI crashes. When only multiple-car accidents are considered, it’s clear that intoxicated drivers are more likely to hurt others than themselves.
If you’ve been hurt in a DUI crash, you can get help. Here’s what you should consider if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in California.
Dangers of DUI Accidents in California
California is home to millions of adults who admit to having driven when intoxicated. A 2012 survey found that 1.8% of California adults admitted to driving after drinking too much within 30 days of the study. That means about 1 in 50 California residents presumably drive drunk at least once a month, putting everyone else on the road at risk.
This behavior is reflected in the statistics for fatal and injury-causing accidents statewide. The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 44.6% of all deadly traffic accidents statewide involved one driver intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs.
It’s important to note that any alcohol or drug can lead to DUIs. The statutory blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08% is the point at which DUI charges must be charged. It is still possible for someone to be intoxicated and harm others with a lower BAC. Additionally, non-alcohol substances like cannabis or prescription medications taken recreationally can impact drivers’ abilities to avoid accidents but are not subject to a hard limit like alcohol is. Regardless of the substance impairing the driver, it is still considered a DUI accident.
How to Seek Compensation After DUI Crashes
If you were involved in a crash with a drunk driver, you likely have grounds to seek compensation from their insurance for your losses. Here’s how to start the process of recovering the money you’ll spend on medical bills and other costs:
- Exchange insurance information: To receive any compensation, you’ll need the information of the person who hit you. Exchange that information yourself or request help doing so from the police. If the other driver was on the job when they hit you, collect information about their employer as well to address liability for business DUI drivers.
- Document your injuries and the scene of the crash: Get medical treatment immediately after a collision. Ideally, you or someone else should also take pictures or videos of the crash location to document the conditions.
- Consult a DUI injury attorney: Once you’re safe, the next step is to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney like the experts at The Wakeford Law Firm. Your attorney will guide you through the rest of the process.
- File a claim with the driver’s insurance: Your lawyer will help you assemble the documentation necessary to file a successful claim.
- Try negotiating a settlement: Your lawyer will take the lead in negotiating your settlement with the insurance company. Settlements are often preferred because they are significantly faster and less stressful for you when they succeed.
- Consider filing a lawsuit: In some cases, insurers may deny your claim or refuse to offer a settlement despite the facts of the case. In that case, your attorney will advise you on how to file a civil lawsuit against the insurer and drunk driver to receive the compensation you’re due.
Talk to Expert California DUI Injury Lawyers
DUI accident injuries can change your life forever. At The Wakeford Law Firm, our San Francisco personal injury attorneys have years of experience guiding clients through drunk driver accident settlements and lawsuits. We are proud to use our expertise to help you be fairly compensated after being hit by a drunk driver. Schedule your consultation now to discover how we can fight on your behalf to achieve the maximum settlement for your DUI injury claim.