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Seeking justice for DUI accident victims

Khashan Law > Client Education  > Seeking justice for DUI accident victims

On 27th March 2021, a man was killed in a suspected DUI crash. The victim was driving south on Monterey Road in his Chevrolet truck when he was rear-ended by a man suspected of driving under the influence (DUI).

The suspect was driving a 2016 Hyundai Sonata at a high speed when he hit the truck from the rear. He ran off after the accident leaving the victim to die. The San Jose Police Department was called to the accident around 1.10 a.m. where they found the victim dead.

The suspect was tracked to a residence in the 1800 block of Senter Road, where he was arrested in the early morning hours and booked into the Santa Clara County jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter, felony driving under the influence, and fleeing the scene of an accident.

The southbound Monterey Road between Palm and Live Oak avenues was closed for several hours due to the DUI crash. This was the eighth traffic fatality in San Jose since the beginning of the year.

Unfortunately, intoxicated driving or driving under influence (DUI) is one of the key public safety problems in California. As per a study by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) every 53 minutes, someone is killed by a drunk driver in the country.

It also stated that on average, a person is seriously injured by a drunk driver every 90 minutes. Though it is not irresponsible to drink and celebrate with friends and family, it is definitely irresponsible to drive after drinking.

Most people believe that driving after a few drinks is not drunk driving. However, the truth is that driving a vehicle under the influence whatever may be the amount of alcohol can be dangerous and lead to serious or fatal accidents.

While driving under influence, drivers not only put their own lives in danger but also the lives of the others who are on the road with them. A drunk driving accident can dramatically change the lives of the victims and their family members.

The state of California has strict laws against drunk driving or DUI.

DUI is Negligent Driving

California is a fault state, which means to hold someone legally responsible for injuries sustained in an accident, the victim has to establish that the other party was responsible and liable for the crash. Liability is determined on the basis of ‘negligence.’

Negligence means irresponsible or careless behavior that causes injuries to someone else. With respect to car accidents speeding, unsafe lane changes, distracted driving, driving under influence, etc. are all considered negligence.

Driving under influence is defined as negligent driving and it is one of the worst. Drivers under influence have no control over their senses and are known to commit several negligent acts like speeding, violating traffic laws, distracted driving due to no focus, etc.

One may believe that it is easy to hold a drunk driver legally liable by filing a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, in reality, the defendants and their insurance companies are known to defend DUI accident claims by undervaluing the victim’s damages or trying to push some blame on the victim for the accident.

DUI crash claims need to be built on a strong foundation of convincing, dependable, and well-presented evidence. Professional DUI accident lawyers can help the victims and their families to put together a strong and effective legal claim against the guilty parties.

Relevant evidence in DUI accident cases can be collected from different places. Some pieces of evidence that are frequently used to prove liability in DUI accident claims are:

  • Police investigation reports
  • Police arrest records
  • A Conviction for drunk driving in criminal court
  • Photographs of the scene after an accident
  • Testimonies recorded by the witnesses

California is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, hence the defendants or the insurance companies try to blame some reasons for the crash on the injured victim. If they are able to blame some part on the victim, they have to pay lesser compensation to the victim.

DUI accident victims should fight back against any unfair distribution of fault. By collecting and presenting evidence proving the complete responsibility of the driver for the accident, the victims or their families can protect their legal rights and financial interests.

Difference between a Criminal Case and Civil Case in case of DUI accident

After a DUI accident, the intoxicated driver will be pressed with serious criminal charges by the police.  As per California state law, a DUI accident causing injury to another person can be charged as a felony offense.

Though the criminal justice system is essential, any criminal case filed against a driver would be completely different from a civil personal injury case filed by the victim or family members. In simple words, if injured victims or their families want compensation for the losses suffered, they cannot get the same in the criminal court.

The victim has to file a separate personal injury claim in civil court to fight for the losses and damages suffered. Even if the criminal case leads to a drunk driving conviction, the victim will not be awarded financial compensation. The compensation needs to be recovered through a personal injury claim.

A professional DUI car accident lawyer can pursue a personal injury claim on their behalf in civil court. The lawyer can present any information which is proven in the criminal case, including a DUI conviction as evidence for the civil case.

If you or you or your family has been a victim of a drunk driving accident, contact us today at Khashan Law. We at Khashan Law have experienced DUI accident lawyers who can represent you and aggressively fight for your rights by pursuing a personal injury claim in the court of law.

The sooner you contact us the sooner we can help you secure your compensation from the liable parties.

Our team of sympathetic and compassionate lawyers will discuss with you your case and represent you to get you the compensation you deserve.