How to Seek Compensation in California After Being Hit By a Drunk Driver

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California DUI auto accident victims have the right to pursue compensation following the collision. Working with a seasoned Murrieta car accident lawyer is the best way to maximize your settlement offer. Contact one today to learn more.

By now, we are aware that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is risky (not to mention unlawful). These substances can impair a driver’s perception and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of an accident (i.e., failing to spot an obstacle or brake their vehicle in time). Unfortunately, drunk driving still happens with relative frequency, particularly around the holidays. Accidents involving an intoxicated driver can cause catastrophic injuries that require lengthy hospital stays, surgeries, long-term care, and other costly remedies. If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a drunk driver in Temecula or Murrieta, you have the right to seek compensation to help cover the costs stemming from the accident. Although California does not require injured parties to hire legal counsel in order to file an auto accident claim or personal injury lawsuit, working with an experienced and knowledgeable Riverside County car accident lawyer is the best way to maximize your settlement offer. Your attorney will help you navigate each step of the claim process, advocating for your best interests at every turn. Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to recover compensation following a DUI accident in Southern California.

Establishing Fault in a California DUI Auto Accident

One of the most important steps of the auto accident claims process is identifying which party is responsible for causing the collision. Like many states, California’s insurance model recognizes comparative fault, meaning that more than one party may share responsibility for an accident. It’s up to the insurance companies and investigators to assess the details of the collision and assign each party a percentage of fault. The degree of fault will influence how much compensation the injured party may bring home after an award is granted. For example, if you suffered an injury in a car accident and investigators found you 20 percent at fault, you would only be able to recover 80 percent of the total damages awarded to you. Fault determinations can be a contentious and stressful process. However, if your attorney can point to evidence of the other party’s intoxication at the time of the accident, it’s more likely that their impaired state indicates their responsibility in causing the collision.

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim

A strong auto accident claim begins at the scene of the collision. The moments after the impact can be disorienting and chaotic, particularly for those who suffered an injury. First, assess yourself and others for injuries and call for an ambulance if anyone requires immediate medical attention. As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, gather contact and insurance information from the other parties involved in the accident, as well as the names and contact information of those who may serve as witnesses. It’s important to contact local law enforcement as well so the responding officer can visit the scene and compile a police report. A police report serves as an objective account of the accident, which is especially critical if you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision. The officer may suspect that the other driver is intoxicated and order a breathalyzer or chemical test, the results of which may be used to support your claim later on. Even if you do not believe your injuries are severe enough to justify a trip to the hospital, be sure to visit a doctor for an evaluation within the next day or two. Your medical records can help you demonstrate the impact of the accident on your health and finances, increasing your chances of obtaining the compensation you need to support your recovery.

What Costs Can the Compensation Cover?

Auto accidents can upend your life in several ways. Suddenly, you face a lengthy physical recovery, which may require surgery, multiple visits to the doctor, time in a rehabilitation facility, physical therapy appointments, medication, and more. The cost of these therapies and treatments can be devastating, and the financial anxiety you may develop can cause additional stress (which, in turn, can slow and interfere with your recovery). Your attorney can help you build a strong auto accident claim that demonstrates the financial toll the other driver’s reckless behavior has had on your life. You can seek compensation to cover the medical costs, physical therapy bills, and other expenses associated with your physical injuries and the recovery process. Additionally, you may recover compensation to make up for any lost wages you suffered because of your inability to work during your recovery period. Many auto accident victims are also eligible to receive compensation to account for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the accident. For example, symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional struggles can negatively affect your ability to concentrate or attend work, so California allows you to pursue economic damages to compensate for these losses. Your attorney will work with you to determine the worth of your claim.

Reach Out to a Skilled Temecula Car Accident Lawyer Today

Suffering an auto accident injury can be incredibly traumatic and stressful. If you have been harmed by a drunk driver in Temecula or Murrieta, you have the right to pursue compensation to help you get your life back on track. As isolated as you may feel during this chaotic and overwhelming time, you are never alone. Enlisting the guidance of a dedicated and caring auto accident attorney is the best way for you to feel supported and empowered to pursue the compensation you’re owed. Your attorney will answer your questions, address your concerns, and guide you through every step of the claims process.

If a drunk driver crashed into you and you suffered an injury, you have the right to seek compensation to help cover the medical costs and other expenses stemming from the accident. Call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to discuss your options with an experienced and trusted Temecula auto accident attorney.

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