San Jose Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
The U.S. has made progress in reducing drunk driving accidents. However, there is still a long way to go. Drunk driving remains a widespread problem, and each year, intoxicated drivers kill thousands of people and injure many more. In a study conducted by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, they found that on average, drunk driving kills 30 Americans every day.
Accidents that result from drunk driving have much higher fatality and injury rates than almost all other kinds of motor vehicle accidents—intoxicated driving is a factor in approximately 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, many accidents that result from drunk driving result in devastating injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), fractured bones, and spinal cord damage. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driving accident in San Jose, it is imperative that you consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Drunk Driving in San Jose: Facts and Laws
In San Jose, 2.45 percent of drivers have a DUI, which is 55 percent higher than the national average for drivers with DUI convictions.
California’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers varies based on the driver’s age and the kind of vehicle they are operating. In California, you may be charged with a DUI under the following conditions:
- Under the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher (California has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21; if you are under 21 and any amount of alcohol is detected in your system, you may face a DUI conviction)
- Over the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher
Any of these BAC levels and conditions are eligible for DUI charges. While the driver is usually the primary person held responsible for drunk driving accidents, there are other parties that can be held liable.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?
Drunk driving claims are complicated by the fact that parties—other than the intoxicated driver—may bear some liability for the accident. Some parties that may be found at fault in a drunk driving accident in addition to the drunk driver include:
- Hosts. Any host of a party where drinks were served may be found liable in a drunk driving accident. Most commonly, a host will be found liable if they served drinks to the intoxicated driver after they were clearly inebriated.
- Bar and restaurant staff. Bar and restaurant staff have a responsibility to stop serving patrons that are visibly intoxicated. If they don’t uphold this responsibility, they may be found liable should a drunk driving accident occur.
- Parents of teenage drivers. If the parents of a teenager knowingly allowed teenagers to drink at their house, they could be held responsible if a drunk driving accident occurs.
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, they will explore every possible party that could hold fault in the accident.
The Difference Between Civil and Criminal DUI Cases
After a DUI accident, the intoxicated driver may face both a civil and criminal case. Criminal and civil DUI cases have different outcomes and consequences.
- Criminal charges: Criminal charges are pursued by the state against the intoxicated driver for the criminal offense of a DUI. The consequences of a criminal conviction may include jail time, community service, and license suspension.
- Civil lawsuits: Civil lawsuits are pursued by the victims of DUI accidents. The purpose of a civil lawsuit is to seek compensation for the damages a victim faced as a direct result of the impaired driver.
After a DUI accident, the intoxicated driver will probably face criminal charges. However, it is important to note that when criminal DUI charges are pursued against intoxicated drivers, they are prosecuted by the state and do not result in financial compensation for the victims. To receive compensation for their damages, victims of DUIs must pursue a civil lawsuit.
A criminal conviction can assist your negligence claim in a civil DUI case. However, even if the intoxicated driver in your accident is not convicted in criminal court, you can still pursue a civil lawsuit. Civil DUI cases hinge on the injured victim successfully proving that the drunk driver caused the accident and that the accident was the primary cause of their injuries. In civil court, drivers have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to be convicted of a DUI.
However, they only have to be proven responsible through a “51 percent” legal standard, or a “more likely than not” rule. This is a much lower bar than criminal court. To best secure a successful civil lawsuit, you should seek legal counsel from a skilled personal injury lawyer.
The Statute of Limitations for DUI Personal Injury Claims in San Jose
California has a statute of limitations dictating the amount of time a victim has to pursue a DUI personal injury claim. With DUI accident claims, there is little reason to wait to seek legal counsel. If you have been involved in a DUI accident in San Jose, it is in your best interest to consult with a San Jose drunk driving accident lawyer in a timely manner.
Compensation DUI Victims Are Eligible For
Victims of DUI accidents are eligible for compensation for their financial, physical, and psychological damages. Some of the monetary relief you may be eligible for includes:
- Vehicle repairs
- Medical bills
- Mental health treatment
- Loss of present and future income or wages
- Wrongful death of a family member
- Emotional pain and suffering
These are just a few of the damages that a DUI victim may receive compensation for.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a San Jose Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
At Adamson Ahdoot, our skilled team of personal injury lawyers will help you navigate the DUI claim process. With more than 100 years of combined experience handling personal injury cases in San Jose, our boutique law firm provides an aggressive approach and unwavering support to our clients. We will provide you with peace of mind, deal with your insurance company, and assist you in finding a doctor who is experienced in treating injuries from motor vehicle accidents.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled lawyers in either English or Spanish, call today at (877) 871-3265 or fill out our online contact form.