After a car crash, it’s hard to keep your composure, typically you’ll feel scared, helpless and even angry, especially if the one who is to blame was intoxicated. If the driver who caused the accident was drunk, he will face criminal charges, but this doesn’t help you when you need to recuperate after injuries, lost monetary wages, and the cost of expensive medical bills. An auto incident lawyer in California is available to help you recover compensation through civil action if a drunk driver has led to injuries or damage.
Civil vs. Criminal Actions
In the state of California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent or greater. This number refers to the percent of your current blood volume that is made up of alcohol. For drivers under the age of 21, a blood alcohol level of .01 percent will result in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. A DUI is considered a misdemeanor. If a driver is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, they may face criminal penalties including fines and jail time. However, none of this fixes the issues that involve the victims of the car accident. A civil action must be filed in order for you to receive compensation.
The driver’s blood alcohol content or BAC can be collected and used in favor of your case. For instance, when the police arrived at the scene of the accident and they found out that the blood-alcohol content of the driver was above the legal limit, then the driver was not taking reasonable care and was not protecting the safety of others on the road while driving.
This is a list of the legal limits for intoxication in California:
- Commercial driver: .04 percent
- Non-commercial drivers over the age of 21: .08 percent
- Drivers under the age of 21: .02 percent
Pursuing Civil Action Following a DUI Crash
In order to be able to gain benefits for any damages or injuries done during a drunk driving incident, you must first pursue a civil action against the driver who is at fault. In DUI incident cases, you need to have evidence that:
- The motorist was under the influence and his blood alcohol content
- He was an unsafe driver and negligent on the road due to his intoxication
- The accident that ensued was due to the driver’s negligence
- You suffered injuries or damages
Once you’re able to prove these, you might be able to recover punitive damages, as well as, lost wages and medical expenses. Courts have the ability to award punitive damages to reprimand someone who has committed something wrong in California. Damages such as these may be suitable under certain circumstances.
Other damages that may be recovered after a DUI accident are:
- Future and past hospital expenses
- Lost salaries
- Condensed earning capacity
- Property destruction
- Physical therapy/other types
- Pain and suffering and other intangibles