Alcohol-related auto accidents can be among the most severe. Since these types of crashes affect thousands each year, they are a particular problem across the country. In 2002 alone, over 17,000 people nationwide were killed in alcohol-related wrongful death. The country averages one death per half hour due to alcohol. The experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ehline Law Firm stands ready to assist the victims of such a disaster. Then we can hold the negligent party responsible.
The Alarming Numbers of Intoxicated Driving Injuries
Approximately 258,000 people suffer injuries each year in vehicle accidents related to alcohol. Every two minutes a person is injured in this type of accident, as shown by the National Center for Statistics & Analysis.
Effects of BAC on Function and Driving
- The Only Safe Amount of Drinking and Driving is None
Just one more beer seems to be a constant of parties, functions, and social events everywhere. All types of alcohol can have various effects on the body. Almost always it can make normal functions difficult if not dangerous. Perhaps the most dangerous role drinking can affect is driving.
When reviewing medical literature, it becomes clear that even a little alcohol severely impairs. A person behind the wheel should not have taken alcohol. People often believe that they can ‘hold’ their liquor. Some people think their tolerance allows them to drink and drive. But this is not the case. As will be seen below, even a little alcohol can lead to catastrophic crashes. Many of these will involve horrific injuries, a coma, and even death.
What You Can Do
First, avoid all alcohol before driving. But this should go without saying. But ultimately far too many people believe that they are the exception to the rule. Secondly, make sure to keep others from drinking and driving. Setting a designated driver is often the key factor. Also, this is a case where social pressure can get applied. Peers can prevent a person from going behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. As a result, your social circle can help avoid future accidents.
When you’re thinking of how alcohol affects families, imagine the thousands killed in DWI. This is in sheer numbers of accidents each year. Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates between 50 and 75 percent of drunk drivers continue driving on a suspended or revoked license. Drunk driving is also one of the largest numbers of preventable death in the United States each year.
Our Law Firm Is Active in the Local Community Fighting DUI Accidents
Ehline Law Firm plays a role in preventing drunk driving through our community initiatives. We educate the public in ways to prevent their peers from drinking and driving. We all also sponsor community groups and events in such endeavors. Our team cares about the future. Help us get to a zero victim reality. DUI accidents are a common occurrence across the nation, and plague Southern California. Also, these types of accidents can cause severe financial, medical, and emotional strains on families.
They could cause permanent, debilitating injuries that will affect the victims for years to come. Furthermore, victims will need to recover the costs of this long-term care and lost wages.When faced with such a situation, an experienced attorney can give you more information. Call one now at (888) 400-9721.
Some of the damages that are frequently related to the injuries victims receive include:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Other economic losses
Having the right attorney will enable the victim and their family to obtain compensation. Compensation includes things like money for pain and suffering caused by these injuries. Also, it includes costs for treatment already received. The spouse’s victim can also obtain compensation for loss of consortium. No amount of money can replace bodily function or a family member. But money can lighten the significant financial burden that cases like this create. Hence, we will fight any party that tries to lessen your return. Our mission is to make sure the drunk driver is not let off the hook.
We help navigate through the complex and often painful steps of a claim, including:
- Taking pictures of the incident scene
- Having persons involved in the collision provide recorded statements
- Obtaining a copy of the police report
- Examining the automobile or truck
- Establishing the extent of injuries that have gotten suffered
While the insurance company usually completes these within the first week of the accident, often it is completed within the first 24 hours of the crash. Different insurance companies have different tactics. Many adjusters attempt to drive down compensation, especially without factoring in future issues, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
Abusing the Driving Privilege
Driving is a privilege and social way of life. Every day approximately 200 million vehicles take to the road, according to Federal Highway Administration (FHA) data. Each year, there are about 40,000 traffic related deaths. Consequently, many of are alcohol related. When a defendant gets faced with such a case, the legal issues could be daunting.
Problems could include both civil and criminal charges. Obviously, a defendant and the plaintiff who was hurt will need attorneys. But they need lawyers with experience in similar cases ready to go. If the drunk driver did not have liability insurance, the injured party might be entitled to recover damages from the driver.
Criminal Reparations Contrasted With Civil Money Damages
In some cases, it makes more sense to get reparations from the criminal DUI defendants. Here, a civil plaintiff would send his or her tort lawyer to begin negotiations with the prosecutor or judge. The idea here is to garnish payments or to send the perp to jail. This puts heat on the defendant to beg, borrow or steal to make an injured plaintiff whole financially. Also, a convicted DUI driver is not allowed to declare bankruptcy on court-ordered civil reparations.
Contrast this with a civil case. In that situation, a DUI victims could win a jury decision and still lose. Because of bankruptcy laws, it is likely the plaintiff would recover nothing from the judgment. But a skilled attorney will attend these criminal hearings and fight for the victim to receive the compensation they deserve. So make sure you hire a lawyer who isn’t too busy to protect your right to criminal reparations.
Drunk Drivers and Innocent Motorists
Driving defensively can reduce the risk of being involved in a collision. Drivers should avoid distraction, such as other passengers adjusting the radio, talking on the phone, or texting. Drivers must also be aware of other motorists driving erratically. They should also have proper insurance, including an uninsured motorist policy. So this could be essential, especially if the other driver is under the influence and is uninsured or underinsured. Having an advocate to fight for you with the insurance company or the defendant is a vital step towards recovery.
Car Accidents with Alcohol as a Factor
Car accidents happen every day on public roadways. But in the United States, there are approximately 30 alcohol related deaths daily, with a dollar amount of over $100 billion dollars. Also, these types of collisions are a reason why insurance premiums continue to rise.
To reduce expensive and dangerous alcohol-related crashes, local policies get enacted. The intent is to stop drivers from operating vehicles while drunk. The method used is typically police setting up DUI checkpoints. They do this in areas where DUI drivers travel. So usually these locations will be near night clubs and other areas that sell alcohol. The National Highway Safety Administration statistics show serious dangers. Stats show about one in three people will get in an alcohol-related collision in their lifetime.
The state is also battling drivers with a history of driving under the influence. They are mandating the use ignition interlock systems. This is a device to prevent vehicles from starting if the person behind the wheel is legally impaired. But a serious and unsavory person could still blow and initiate the car. Hence, it is not fool proof.
Young drivers are usually drivers who are in their teens. These are the people with the highest rate of being involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes. Mainly, this is due to their inexperience. So this raises the risk of youngsters getting involved in a DUI car accident. Also, when a teen driver is operating a vehicle under the influence, the risk significantly increases even over that of an adult. Kids have clean systems. So youngsters tend to have little resistance to the effects of alcohol even in small amounts.
But there are a few ways that these accidents can get reduced including:
- Parental involvement,
- Graduated driving licensing systems
- Zero tolerance laws that will result in any young driver under the influence losing their driving privileges.
There is also another successful method that reduced drinking and driving by teens. Further, this method caused a 54 percent reduction in teen DUI since 1991. What was this simple fix you may ask? Simply put, enforcement agencies clamping down on retailers selling teens alcohol has reduced teen DWI cases. Most of all, this has caused the retailer to check the identification of anyone who they sell alcohol products. Now retailers need to ensure buyers are the legal drinking age.
Prevention of DUI Accidents
Most states have tightened their laws for driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, many municipalities aggressively enforce the DUI laws in their communities. Furthermore, there is a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who are under the legal drinking age of 21 in every state. So if these young drivers get caught driving under the influence of alcohol, they can lose their driving privileges.
Some communities offer educational materials and seminars about impaired driving for young drivers and adults. Then some states are considering establishing mandatory alcohol blood testing for motor vehicle crashes. Also, this is part of the effort to battle drivers operating vehicles while under the influence.
Government agencies have joined in the attempt to stop drivers from being behind the wheel after drinking. Thus, they have used advertising campaigns using television, the Internet, and social media advertising. Because of this, they are starting to educate the public about the dangers of driving under the influence. Also, people are discovering the consequences they may face if they get caught.
Designated Drivers Are a Great Safety Feature
The designated driver suggestion gets made when people are planning on going out drinking. But this is a person who will not be drinking any alcohol. So this designee will be driving people to and from the bar, for example. Also, if someone plans on hosting a party where alcohol gets served, they should make arrangements. Maybe it is a good idea to ensure anyone who will be drinking has a sober designated driver? If not, maybe they had better have a place for them to stay or a taxi? Taxi service or Uber is an option for anyone who is out drinking. Hosts can do their part and so can third party services. But this is better than letting a drunk person get behind the wheel, breaking the law.
Driving Under the Influence Arrests
Statistics show that approximately one-third of drivers arrested for DUI have had at least one other DUI offense. So this makes them repeat offenders. Also, the data indicates that many drivers who have gotten convicted did not know they were drunk. Furthermore, the highest rate of drivers under the influence is between the ages of 21 and 25 years old.
- Rising BAC and Failure to Acknowledge Inebriation
Some arrested drivers don’t realize they are over legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. But it is a fact that it takes one hour for the body to metabolize one drink. Consequently, even one drink can alter your state, an hour later. To top it off, many states seek to make the penalties for driving under the influence harsher. So be smart about it. Don’t get arrested. Do your part to reduce the number of drivers behind the wheel who are over e legal BAC limit.
Victims Must Beware of the Tactics and Traps of Insurance Companies
There are many cases where insurance companies try to reduce or reject proper compensation. Injury recovery is a lengthy and arduous process. Also, not all moments of pain and suffering are apparent to these companies. An accident attorney can properly document and log any incidents. So this profession will gather all records needed for dealing with the insurance company.
At Ehline Law Firm, for example, we can help victims get worker’s comp. We all know that many businesses try to deny payments for lost wages and medical expenses. There are some limitations on rights of reimbursement. But this is where having a skilled fighter helps. When suffering clients know they have a pro by their side, they sleep better at night. But this is just one of the reasons it is so vital to hire a great lawyer.
Great Lawyers Seek Additional Assets
Lawyers can also assist victims in finding other forms of insurance that may be available. A good firm usually does a background investigation as well. Also, this helps them rule in or out, any additional assets of the company or responsible party. So assuming there are assets, the injured plaintiff then has an “additional source of recovery.” Does this make sense so far?
Great Lawyers Find Additional Responsible Parties.
There may also be a liability issue on the part of others involved in the case. So this can come into play with matters such as lights in the road being defective and the fault of a government agency. There could also be additional coverage provided by your insurance company for your injured. Don’t make the mistake of signing a release and settling within the policy limits. Get a lawyer first.
In past cases, we have discovered that the DUI driver was in the course and scope of employment during the accident. In that case, the employer had to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars to our client. Mind you; our client was poised to accept the $15,000 policy limits offer. Lucky for him, he called us first. We were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In that case, our client was able to pay off his doctors and live well until he got healed up enough to go back to work.
We can help guide you through the process, which includes:
- Economic losses that may be recovered
- Evaluating the extent and nature of the injuries
- Liability issues that become associated with the accident
- The history the driver may have for drunk driving
- Prior injuries which could get contested in court
- Dealing with shady insurance practices meant to reduce your settlement.
Laws for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence
DWI and DUI are two of the worst crimes on the road today, and the focus of groups lobbying against it. These types of accidents cause $51 billion in damage and year and many lives. Two statutory offenses relate to drivers who get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. These items are labeled driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Signs of Drivers Under the Influence
Police officers can sometimes pinpoint a drunk driver due to signs including erratic driving. Key profiles include slurred speech, dishevelled appearance, and failed field sobriety tests. The field sobriety test can confirm what the police officer thought and put it on record. Being under the influence means a person is not over the legal BAC limit. This is called DWI. But BAC is a floor and not a ceiling for the police. If a cop sees you exhibit the signs of being inebriated, he will not let you get in the car and drive away. And this is true even if you pass the roadside tests.
The Fifty State Rule
It is illegal to drive in every state with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Anyone stopped by police with such a BAC can be charged with a DUI or DWI offense.
In this article, we discussed DUI driving and teens. Also, we touched on DUI statistics. Next, we covered how to safeguard financial compensation after a DUI crash. We also discussed rising blood, DUI symptoms and avoidance using a designated driver. Most of all, we learned the importance of superior legal representation. Great lawyers are necessary for DUI accident victims to navigate the justice system.
The Best Course of Action is To Seek a Legal Representative
When facing severe injury or a lost loved one, don’t wait and only choose the best. Ehline Law Firm’s record helping hundreds of injury victims speak for itself. Lead attorney, Michael Ehline, is an inactive US Marine and Super Lawyers Rising Star. We look out for you. Also, we have the legal knowledge to see it through. Call us for a free consultation today at (888) 400-9721.