When a drunk driver hits you, it is a trying experience, especially if there are serious injuries.
As you recover from injuries, it is natural to think about recovering compensation from the drunk driver who hit you.
You have to consider medical bills, rehabilitation costs, missed work, and more. But how much can you expect to recover?
The truth is, each drunk driving accident claim is different. Car accident lawyer Michael Beliz can help you understand what your case is worth.
Consultations are always free – reach out today.
Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Claim in California
After an injury in a car accident, the driver at fault for the accident may be liable for your injuries. In some cases, the person that caused the accident was driving under the influence. If that happens to you, there is a good chance the other driver owes you compensation. An accident involving a drunk driver can often yield a higher settlement or judgment than a case in which the driver at fault was not impaired. However, the value of any personal injury or wrongful death claim depends on the case.
Is There a Normal Drunk Driving Personal Injury Settlement?
There is no “normal” settlement for car accident injuries caused by a drunk driver. In California, some personal injury awards are more than a million dollars. Other cases settle for under $10,000. The compensation owed in your personal injury case depends on many factors. They include the severity and permanence of your injuries, the economic loss you suffered, and the degree of comparative fault. The defendant’s insurance coverage and ability to pay will also play a large role in the value of a settlement.
How Do We Calculate Damages in Personal Injury Cases
There are two kinds of damages in personal injury cases: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages compensate an injured person for his loss. We categorize these into economic (special) and non-economic (general) damages.
- Special damages are those that have a specific dollar amount. These include current and future medical bills and expenses, lost wages or earning capacity, property damages, and anything else that cost the injured person money.
- General damages do not have a tangible economic cost but still deserve compensation. Non-economic damages compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. There is no formula to use to calculate the amount of general damages. Your injuries and your story determine damages.
Punitive damages (also called exemplary damages) punish the defendant for extreme neglect or bad behavior. To award punitive damages, California law requires the defendant must have “willfully and deliberately failed” to avoid the known consequences of his negligence. Not every drunk driving personal injury case will include punitive damages. In some cases, however, juries have awarded millions of dollars in punitive damages to the families of those killed by an intoxicated driver.
Call a Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one is in a car accident, and you suspect the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speak with an attorney right away. A personal injury lawyer will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Beliz Law Firm in Long Beach California to schedule a free, no-obligation case review. Call us anytime at (562) 452-3772.