Long Beach Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are traumatic enough, but it’s even more aggravating when a drunk driver is the cause. As a victim, you have the right to hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions. However, pursuing a claim can be complicated, which is why you should speak with an attorney right away. If you need assistance pursuing a personal injury claim, please get in touch with a Long Beach drunk driving accident lawyer.
At Beliz Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients pursue compensation for their injuries after a drunk driving accident. Seeking legal representation is crucial; otherwise, you might miss out on the full compensation you deserve. When you hire our firm, attorney Michael Beliz will be there every step of the way. If you’re searching online for a DUI accident attorney in Long Beach, Beliz Law Firm stands ready to help.
Case Spotlight$100,000 Settlement amount
Case type: Rear End Accident Case
The Beliz Law obtained a policy limit settlement of $100,000 for a 51-year-old female. The incident occurred on Katella Avenue in the city of Anaheim. A truck driver was approaching stopped traffic and applied the brake pedal. Unfortunately, the driver’s foot slipped off the brake and pressed the accelerator. This caused the driver’s 4-ton truck to jump ahead and crash into the vehicle where the client was sitting as a passenger. The crash was so forceful that eventually, it caused three more vehicles to crash.
The client felt immediate pain to her right arm. Due to the severity of the accident and the pain, an ambulance took the client to the hospital at the University of California, Irvine. Doctors diagnosed the client with a right wrist fracture. The arm was splinted and the client was discharged with instructions to see the client’s primary care physicians. For months, the client presented to physical therapy, however the client’s wrist continued to have issues with pain, grip strength, and movement. Eventually, the client presented to an orthopedic surgeon that recommended surgery. Approximately a year after the accident, the client had surgery on her right wrist.
After signing the client, The Beliz Law Firm investigated the crash details and contacted the truck driver’s insurance company. The Beliz Law Firm presented the facts of the case and the client’s injuries to the other party’s insurance company. Because of the severity of the injuries, The Beliz Law Firm demanded and obtained the other driver’s automobile insurance limits.
How Civil and Criminal Cases Differ for DUI-Related Accidents
DUI accidents involve two separate legal actions—a civil lawsuit and a criminal case. These are separate and distinct actions with different purposes. For example, you can still bring a civil lawsuit if the defendant faces criminal charges related to the accident.
What To Know About Criminal DUI Cases in Long Beach
When a driver is arrested for driving under the influence, they will face criminal charges. The government initiates the criminal case and aims to penalize the driver for breaking the law. A criminal DUI case can lead to many consequences, including fines, probation, mandatory alcohol education programs, a suspended license, or even imprisonment. The court might order the other party to pay the victim restitution. However, restitution payments are not the same as filing a civil suit.
Civil DUI Accident Cases
The injured victim in a DUI accident has the right to pursue compensation for their physical injuries, vehicle damage, lost time from work, and more. A civil suit differs from a criminal case as the plaintiff is seeking financial compensation for their injuries, not jail time or civil fines. Injured victims initiate a civil case, not the government. The primary objective of a civil case is to provide relief to the victim, helping them recover and rebuild after the traumatic event.
Even if the offender is found not guilty in the criminal case or accepts a plea deal, it does not impact your right to pursue a civil claim. Conversely, a guilty verdict in a criminal case can bolster your civil lawsuit, but it’s not a requirement. Let our Long Beach DUI accident attorney guide you through the complexities of a civil suit.
Suing a Drunk Driver in California
If you sustained injuries because of a drunk driver in California, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation that you deserve for your damages. However, you should only do so with the help of an experienced Long Beach drunk diving accident lawyer who can help determine your legal options. Attempting to navigate the legal system on your own may put your rights in jeopardy.
Furthermore, it’s important to act quickly, because evidence grows stale, memories fade, and there is a statute of limitations for filing your claim. (A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after sustaining injury or loss.)
In California, accident victims have two years from the date of the injury (or wrongful death) to file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Statistics on Drunk Driving Across the Country
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37 people die every day in DUI-related accidents nationwide. That equates to one fatality every 39 minutes. These preventable deaths totaled 13,384 in 2021, which represented a 14% increase from the year before. NHTSA statistics show that 31% of all traffic accident fatalities involve a drunk driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
Negligence and Drunk Driving
The decision to drink and drive puts countless lives at risk. Drivers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves and others when getting behind the wheel. When someone opts to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle, they fail to uphold that duty of care.
The repercussions of drunk driving accidents can be profound. Victims may face severe injuries that can drastically change their lives. The recovery process is often long, requiring one or more surgeries, extensive therapy, and specialized lifelong care. Beyond physical pain, accident victims may find their entire lifestyles have changed. Activities they once loved might become impossible, careers might be derailed, and relationships can be strained or forever changed.
Seeking legal assistance from a Long Beach drunk driving accident attorney can be instrumental in a civil lawsuit. Attorney Michael Beliz will advocate for you throughout the entire case, no matter whether it settles early on or goes to trial.
While many cases might be resolved through negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance, it’s essential to recognize that there are limitations. California’s minimum liability coverage is only $15,000 for individual injuries and $30,000 for accidents involving multiple victims. These limits are low, meaning a severe injury can easily exceed available coverage. You might need to file a lawsuit against the driver to recover additional compensation.
Can Restaurants, Bars, and Social Hosts Be Liable in a DUI Crash?
Some states have “dram shop” laws that can hold bars, restaurants, and even social hosts accountable if someone drives drunk and causes an accident. However, California law shields restaurants, bars, and social hosts. California Civil Code section 1714 outlines the fact that providing alcohol is not the root cause of a DUI accident. Instead, the person’s act of consuming the alcohol is. That distinction is crucial because it largely protects establishments like bars and restaurants and social hosts from legal repercussions if they serve alcohol to adults.
However, there are some notable exceptions you should be aware of. The first exception involves social host liability for underage drinkers. Adults, including parents or guardians, assume legal responsibility when they “knowingly furnish” alcohol to individuals they are aware are younger than 21 years old. These individuals could be held accountable for an intoxicated minor who gets behind the wheel.
“Knowingly furnish” is more than directly handing over a drink. For example, an adult might be liable if they host a party, knowing some attendees are underage, and openly allow them to access alcohol. On the flip side, parents who strictly instruct their child against consuming alcohol but the child disobeys likely wouldn’t be liable as they didn’t “knowingly furnish” the alcohol.
Another exception involves the California Business & Professions Code sections. These provisions focus on businesses licensed to serve alcohol, such as bars, liquor stores, and restaurants. These establishments can face legal consequences if they serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated minors. For example, if a visibly drunk underage individual is served alcohol at a bar and later causes a car accident, the establishment might be held accountable.
When you hire an experienced Long Beach DUI accident attorney, we will help you understand whether any of these situations apply to your claim and how to proceed.
Contact a DUI Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
If you or a loved one has been affected by a DUI-related accident, it’s crucial to understand your rights and all potential options to seek compensation. While navigating the court system can be daunting, you don’t have to go at it alone. A Long Beach drunk driving accident lawyer at Beliz Law Firm can help.
Taking action and pursuing a personal injury claim after a drunk driving accident is essential. These individuals need to be held accountable for their actions, and others need to be deterred from engaging in similar illegal and dangerous behaviors. Not only can you obtain compensation to help cover your damages, but you can also help make our roads safer by holding negligent parties accountable.Don’t let the aftermath of a traumatic event overwhelm you. Reach out to a skilled and compassionate Long Beach DUI accident lawyer at Beliz Law Firm, who can guide you every step of the way. With over a decade of experience, we know how to help you get justice in a drunk driving accident. Contact our office today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.
What Else Should You Look For Long Beach Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer?
When you’re looking for the best legal representation for your personal injury case, you want to find someone you can trust.