What If I Have Been Injured by a Drunk Driver?
A drunk driver has shattered your life. If you were injured by a drunk driver, do not give a statement to the driver’s insurance company but seek legal representation promptly.
The Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Ellis Injury Law will work hard to hold the drunk driver accountable for your injuries. We can help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Criminal vs. civil matters
Driving under the influence is a crime. However, that is a separate matter from a civil personal injury lawsuit. If the driver is arrested and charged, you do not have to wait until a conviction before filing a civil lawsuit. You do not even have to wait until a criminal trial starts.
It does not matter if the driver is not convicted. You may still file the lawsuit. The burden of proof in a civil case is much lower than in a criminal case. In the latter, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, while in the former it is the preponderance of the evidence.
What to do if hit by a drunk driver
As with any car accident, call 911 and report it immediately. Based on the nature of the crash, you may suspect the driver was drunk, but it is often hard to know whether someone was under the influence.
If you are physically able to do so, take photos or videos of the accident scene. Include the vehicles involved, road conditions, and any skid marks or other evidence. Record injuries suffered from the impact.
With most auto accidents, you should obtain the other driver’s license number, insurance information, and contact information. However, if someone is obviously drunk, do not try to engage with them. Their reaction may prove violent. When the police arrive, the officers will get the necessary information and may arrest the driver.
Write down or record your memories of the crash right away, while still fresh in your mind. If you think the driver was drinking, state why. Beyond their behavior, they could smell of alcohol or just look inebriated. If there are witnesses to the crash, collect their names and contact information and ask them to record what they saw or write down their statements.
Always go to the emergency room immediately after an accident. Do not assume you are not seriously injured if suffering only minor pain or that you were unhurt if you feel just “shook up.” The hormones coursing through the body after a car accident can temporarily mask pain. For your own well-being, as well as your insurance claim, do not put off seeking medical attention.
Damages, or compensation, for the victim of a drunk driving accident, may include:
- Medical expenses, current, and future
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
A car accident lawyer knows that the drunk driver is not necessarily the only person responsible for the accident. Liability may also extend to include bar or restaurant owners who served an obviously intoxicated patron, or private party hosts who may have allowed a drunken guest to continue imbibing.
We will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the accident and any factors contributing to it, including third-party liability.
Contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries caused by a drunk driver, you need the services of the experienced car accident attorneys at Ellis Injury Law. We offer free, confidential consultations. Arrange an appointment by calling or texting 24/7 or submitting our online form.
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident. Because valuable evidence is often lost, it is critical to obtain legal advice as soon as possible.
Our dedicated attorneys have recovered more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements. You do not pay a fee unless you receive compensation, as we work on a contingency basis.