Drunk driving accidents are among the most devastating crashes that occur in Orange County. They often result in catastrophic injuries and even fatal injuries. Alcohol-related crashes are completely avoidable. The drunk driver made an irresponsible decision to consume alcohol, then get behind the wheel. When people are harmed as a result, the drunk driver should be held financially accountable.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver in Orange County, you deserve justice. You may have significant medical bills and be unable to work while you are recovering. A drunk driving accident lawyer in Orange County will fight for the full compensation you need to rebuild your life and move forward.
As a former insurance defense attorney, our attorney Ash Watkins understands the tactics insurance companies use to get injured victims to accept less than the fair compensation they deserve. And with more than 20 years of legal experience, our attorney Sam Mirejovsky has built a reputation as one of the nation’s leading Orange County personal injury lawyers.
Sam & Ash Injury Law has a track record of success, having recovered more than $400 million in compensation for our firm’s clients. We are prepared to go the distance to protect your rights. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. If you have been harmed by a drunk driver, an Orange County drunk driving accident attorney at Sam & Ash Injury Law can seek accountability on your behalf. We will do What’s Right for you.
Drunk Driving Statistics in Newport Beach, CA
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 82 individuals were injured or killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in Newport Beach in a recent year. Three individuals were injured or killed by an intoxicated driver under the age of 21. Another 20 individuals suffered injuries or fatalities in accidents involving an intoxicated driver between the ages of 21 and 34.
What Are the Common Injuries Suffered by Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents?
Intoxicated drivers often engage in dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, running red lights, and weaving between lanes in traffic.
Alcohol intoxication impairs a driver’s perception of traffic hazards and slows the driver’s reactions. Some drunk drivers fall asleep behind the wheel and drift into an oncoming lane of traffic. Intoxication makes it less likely that the intoxicated driver will recognize a potential hazard and take evasive action in time to avoid the crash. A drunk driver is less likely to brake before a collision.
Due to the driver’s impaired perception and reflexes, drunk driving accidents often occur at higher speeds. The force of impact of a drunk driving accident can lead to serious or fatal injuries, such as:
- Soft tissue injuries, including strains, sprains, and tears of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as nerve damage
- Spinal injuries, including herniated disc injuries or
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Severe bone fractures
- Crush injuries of the limbs or of the torso
- Traumatic amputations
- Burns from vehicle fires sparked by the accident
California DUI Penalties
Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a serious offense in California. Drunk drivers may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts and face criminal prosecution. The severity of a sentence for a DUI conviction can increase if the driver caused an accident that led to injuries or death.
A first-time DUI conviction is graded as a misdemeanor in California, carrying penalties including:
- Fines ranging from $390 to $1000, plus court costs and penalties
- Driver’s license suspensions ranging from six months to one year
- Jail sentence of 48 hours to six months, although most first-time DUI offenders are sentenced to three to five years’ probation in lieu of a jail sentence
A second DUI conviction within ten years is also charged as a misdemeanor offense, carrying the same potential fines as a first-time conviction. However, the driver’s license suspension and incarceration penalties become much stiffer upon a second conviction, including:
- Two-year driver’s license suspension, plus a requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed for at least 12 months
- Jail term of 96 hours to one year, although offenders may request to serve their sentence on house arrest or in a work program (an offender may receive a three-to-five-year probation sentence in lieu of jail, conditioned on completing an 18- or 30-month DUI education program)
A third DUI conviction has increased license suspension and incarceration penalties compared to a second conviction:
- Three-year driver’s license suspension and a requirement to install an IID for at least two years
- Mandatory jail sentence of 120 days (or 30 days if probation is granted) to one year
- Probation term of three to five years, normally conditioned on completion of a 30-month DUI education course
A DUI may be charged as a felony offense if the drunk driving accident has certain aggravating factors.
- If a drunk driver injured someone in an alcohol-related accident, the driver may be charged with either a misdemeanor DUI charge or a felony carrying a possible sentence of 16 months to four years in prison
- If a drunk driver killed someone in a motor vehicle accident, the drunk driver may be charged with negligent vehicular manslaughter, grossly negligent vehicular manslaughter, or even second-degree murder (conviction carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison)
- A driver is convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction or has one or more prior felony DUI convictions, which results in a sentence of 16 months to four years of imprisonment
The criminal prosecution of a drunk driver may be entirely justified based on the driver’s irresponsible decision to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel. But a criminal conviction is unlikely to provide a DUI accident victim with the compensation needed to pay medical bills, replace lost income from missed work due to injuries, and cover other expenses.
Legal Options for Drunk Driving Victims
A victim injured in an Orange County accident caused by a drunk driver may have a legal right to file a separate civil lawsuit and seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses. You may need to exercise your right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation.
An Orange County car accident lawyer at Sam & Ash Injury Law can handle all aspects of investigating your accident and preparing a claim to hold the drunk driver financially accountable.
The skilled Orange County drunk driving accident attorneys from our personal injury law firm can assist you by:
- Investigating the accident and gathering evidence to support your case, including accident scene photos, eyewitness statements, and police accident reports
- Documenting your injuries and losses to calculate the full compensation you may seek
- Identifying all potentially liable parties, including the employer of the drunk driver if the accident occurred in the course and scope of the driver’s employment
- Filing your injury claim with the insurance company representing the drunk driver and seeking a settlement that pays fair and full compensation
- Taking your case to court when necessary to pursue justice for your injuries and losses caused by the drunk driver
What To Do if You’ve Been Injured by a Drunk Driver
When you have been injured by a drunk driver in a motor vehicle accident, you should take the following steps to help protect your rights to demand compensation and justice:
- If safe for you to do so, document the accident scene by taking photos of the damage to the vehicles in the crash, skid marks on the road, traffic signals and controls at the scene, lighting and traffic conditions, and any visible injuries you have suffered
- Go directly to the hospital for emergency treatment or see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident to get checked for any injuries you may have suffered
- Follow any treatment recommendations that your doctor provides
- Keep all bills and invoices for the expenses you incur as a result of the accident and your injuries, including medical invoices and repair bills for your vehicle
- Document your recovery from your injuries by keeping a journal to note the pain and reduced quality of life you experience due to your injuries and treatment
Speak to the best Orange County drunk driving accident lawyers at Sam & Ash Injury Law as soon as possible after the accident to learn more about what our law firm can do to build a strong case on your behalf.
Contact Our Orange County Drunk Driving Accidents Lawyers Today
If you have been seriously hurt in a drunk driving crash, the caring attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law want to help. Contact our firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. Speak with an Orange County drunk driving accident lawyer today. We want to discuss the details of your case with you and help you understand your legal options for demanding accountability and justice.