Car accidents can be traumatic and trying to figure out what to do after an accident can be stressful and daunting. You may be healing from injuries, suffering from the loss of your vehicle, and wondering how to recover both physically and financially. If your accident was caused by a drunk driver, they should be held responsible for their reckless and dangerous actions.
Consuming alcohol reduces brain function and decreases reaction times, making it unsafe to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. Nearly 30 people are killed each day in drunk driving accidents in the United States, and more than 10,000 people died in crashes involving a drunk driver in California from 2003 to 2012, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Increased awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, and harsh penalties for those who drive under the influence, have decreased deaths caused by drunk driving by one third over the last 30 years. However, drunk driving still causes one fatality every 50 minutes in the U.S.
If you or a loved was injured in a drunk driving accident, or your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, a Sacramento drunk driving accident lawyer may be able to help you recover damages and hold the driver responsible. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-598-7557 to learn more.
California Drunk Driving Laws
Driving under the influence is illegal in all 50 states, and California has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152, drivers are driving under the influence (DUI) and can be arrested and charged with DUI if:
- They have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
- They are driving a commercial vehicle, or are driving “passengers for hire,” and have a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher.
- They are under 21 years of age and have a BAC of 0.01 or higher.
Anyone operating a motor vehicle in California is doing so in “admin per se.” This means that just by driving, you are consenting to having your breath, blood, or urine tested for alcohol or drugs if you are arrested for DUI. Refusing to consent to a test may result in suspension of your driver’s license.
Drunk drivers in California face administrative action by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and may also face criminal charges. Drivers convicted of a DUI will lose their license for a minimum of six months and will complete a mandatory DUI program, according to the DMV. A six-month jail sentence and a fine up to $1,000 may also be imposed. A DUI conviction remains on a driver’s record for 10 years, and subsequent violations will result in increasingly harsher penalties.
Accidents where a drunk driver causes serious injury or death to another person may result in severe criminal penalties, including time in prison. The driver may also face civil lawsuits. If someone else’s irresponsible choice to drink and drive resulted in your injury or the death of your loved one, a Sacramento drunk driving accident lawyer may be able to help you file a civil suit against the drunk driver.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving accidents lawyer serving Sacramento, call 800-598-7557
What to Do if You Have Been in an Accident
California has specific procedures for reporting accidents involving property damage, injury, or death. California Vehicle Code sections 20000-20018 requires drivers to report accidents involving injury or death to either the local police department or California Highway Patrol within 24 hours. Additionally, accidents involving injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 should be reported to the DMV within 10 days.
It also is important to consider the statutes of limitations if you believe you may want to seek damages in a civil lawsuit. California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1 allows two years to file suit in cases of personal injury or wrongful death. For personal injury, the time limit begins when the injury occurs or is discovered. For wrongful death, the clock begins at the time of death. There is a three-year statute of limitations for the recovery of personal property.
If you have been in an accident, it is important to obtain information about the other driver, such as their name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, vehicle identification number, and auto insurance information. According to the California Department of Insurance, drivers are required by law to carry, at minimum, auto insurance in the amount of:
- $15,000 for the death or injury of another person
- $30,000 for the death or injury of more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
A Sacramento drunk driving accident lawyer may be able to help you negotiate with insurance for awards exceeding these amounts, or help you pursue additional damages in court. If you failed to collect the necessary information at the scene of the accident, an attorney can help you obtain it from official reports.
Sacramento Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Near Me 800-598-7557
How Ben Crump Law, PLLC Can Help
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC we believe the decision to drink and drive is dangerous, selfish, and irresponsible. Those who harm others while drunk behind the wheel should be held accountable.
Your injuries are not your fault, and you should not have to pay for someone else’s negligence and wrongful behavior. Our Sacramento drunk driving accident lawyers can help you seek awards to pay for your medical costs, damaged property, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If your loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to seek compensation for wrongful death.
Our team works on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing unless we achieve a successful settlement for you. If you would like to know more about how Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help with your case, call our team risk-free at 800-598-7557.