Santa Clarita Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
What to Do If You or a Loved One Was Injured by a Drunk Driver
There is never an excuse for getting behind the wheel of a car when drunk. Unfortunately, people continue to make this dangerous and deadly choice every day. If you or someone you love was hit by a drunk driver in the Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley, or Greater Los Angeles Area, the Law Offices of C. Ray Carlson can help you fight for justice.
After a drunk driving accident, you may be able to hold the drunk driver liable for your injuries and other damages by filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. This is a civil action, separate from any criminal case against the drunk driver.
At the Law Offices of C. Ray Carlson, our Santa Clarita drunk driving accident attorneys have years of experience representing victims of drunk drivers in and around SCV. We have successfully negotiated numerous high-value settlements and, when the insurance company refuses to settle, we are fully prepared to aggressively represent our clients in court. Our team is well-versed in all California drunk driving laws and knows how to uphold them in a court of law for our injured clients.
California DUI Laws: What You Need to Know
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, on average, 30 Americans die in drunk driving accidents throughout the nation. That amounts to one death every 50 minutes. In California, the number of drunk driving-related deaths is on the rise, according to the CA Department of Motor Vehicles’ 2019 Annual Report of the California DUI Management Information System. Analyzing data from 2007 to 2017, the report found that drunk driving-related deaths in California rose by 5.8% in 2017, following another increase of 6.9% in 2016 from the previous year. While drug-related crashes make up a smaller portion of total DUIs in the state, drug-related traffic fatalities skyrocketed in 2017 by 13.1%.
Like all states, California has strict laws regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Because the state follows a “zero-tolerance” policy for underage drivers, no one under the legal drinking age of 21 may operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher. The limit for those 21 and over is 0.08%. Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders may not operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or above. Additionally, the state imposes enhanced criminal penalties for those who operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.16% and above.
Will a Criminal Case Against the Drunk Driver Affect My Civil Lawsuit?
While a criminal case and a personal injury lawsuit are two separate legal matters, a criminal case against the drunk driver may have some effects on your civil case.
First and foremost, it is important that you know the following:
- You are allowed to file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver even if he or she does not face any criminal proceedings/penalties
- The outcome of the criminal case does NOT affect the outcome of your civil case; if the drunk driver is found not guilty, you can still potentially recover damages
In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant (in this case, the drunk driver) is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a civil lawsuit, you need only show liability via a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more likely that the defendant is guilty than not. This means that you may still be able to achieve a successful outcome in a personal injury claim against the drunk driver even if he or she is not found guilty in a criminal case.
However, if the drunk driver is found guilty, this could have a positive effect on your civil case, as a guilty verdict may be used to establish the drunk driver’s negligence.
Choose a Team with the Right Experience
Do not take the above information to mean that proving your DUI accident case will be easy. A successful case requires proving that the drunk driver was the cause of your injuries and/or damages. This often requires extensive investigation and evidence. Our attorneys may request copies of the police report, your medical records, and even your bills and other financial documents in order to build a strong case on your behalf. We often work with medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and other specialists who can help us put together a clear, comprehensive picture of what happened and how you have suffered as a result.
When it comes to finding a drunk driving accident attorney, it’s important to choose one who has experience in this particular area. At the Law Offices of C. Ray Carlson, we have won many DUI cases on behalf of victims of drunk driving accidents. We know what it takes to prove your injuries and losses, as well as how to fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. We know how to prove that the drunk driver had a duty to avoid operating the motor vehicle in a negligent way, that they breached this duty, that this breach of duty caused the accident, and you, the plaintiff, suffered damages as a result.
Call Us Today for a No-Cost, No-Obligation Consultation
When you call our legal team after a drunk driving accident, we will immediately investigate the accident and any contributing factors. Our Santa Clarita drunk driving accident lawyers are ready to fight to get you the damages you are owed for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In the event that your loved one died due to a drunk driving accident, we can help you understand your rights regarding filing a wrongful death claim.
Our firm serves clients in Valencia, Santa Clarita, Stevenson Ranch, Fillmore, and throughout SCV, the San Fernando Valley, and all of the Greater Los Angeles Area. We offer legal services in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and Tagalog, and there are no fees unless we recover compensation for you.