Alcohol-impaired driving accidents caused hundreds of thousands of injuries and deaths each year in the United States. In 2017, DUI accidents resulted in 10,874 fatalities, which totaled 29 percent of all traffic deaths that year. California had the second highest number of fatalities related to DUI accidents in 2017 (1,120 deaths).
If you or a family member has been injured in a DUI accident, there are some very important things that you should know about DUI accident claims.
DUI Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries
In many cases, the occupants of the other vehicle or the passengers of the drunk driver sustained traumatic and life-threatening injuries in a DUI accident. Some of the injuries sustained in a drunk driving crash can result in long-term consequences for the accident victims, including ongoing medical care and substantial lost wages.
Common injuries sustained by accident victims in a DUI accident include:
- Brain and head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries, including complete and partial paralysis
- Amputation of one or more limbs
- Severe burns, scarring, and disfigurement
- Broken bones and fractures
- Damages to internal organs
- Neck and back injuries
- PTSD and other emotional disorders
Drunk Driving is a Crime
Driving under the influence of alcohol in California is a crime. Drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher are assumed to be too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle safely. A driver can be charged with DUI even though his or her BAC is below .08 if the police officer determines that the driver was impaired by alcohol.
However, a DUI charge and a civil claim for a car accident are two separate matters. A driver does not need to be convicted of a DUI to be held liable for damages caused by a DUI accident. Likewise, a driver can be guilty of DUI but not held liable for damages caused by the accident.
Investigating DUI Accidents
You must prove that the driver caused the accident to recover damages for your injuries and losses. The fact that the driver was drunk may be an element of the case, but you must still show that the driver did something to cause the crash. For example, the driver crossed the center line causing a head-on collision, or the driver turned left in front of your vehicle when you had the right of way.
A Sacramento DUI accident attorney can investigate the crash to determine the cause of the crash and gather evidence to prove that the drunk driver was responsible for causing the accident. Your attorney can also help you document your injuries and damages, so that you can maximize the chance you receive full compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Sacramento DUI Accidents Attorney for Help
You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, pain, suffering, and other damages. Our Sacramento DUI accident attorneys are here to help you as you struggle to recover from injuries caused by a drunk driver.