Newport Beach Drunk Driving Lawyers
Major area roadways—including California State Routes 1 and 55—see heavy traffic most days. Traffic is equally heavy on the weekends when tourists and locals alike are heading to area beaches. However, with more traffic comes the unfortunate possibility of drunk driving accidents.
Statistically, drunk driving continues to be a problem throughout the United States.
Drunk driving crashes frequently happen at high speeds, and the injuries that accident victims suffer are often devastating and sometimes deadly.
If you recently suffered injuries in an area drunk driving accident, the experienced Newport Beach drunk driving attorneys at Bentley & More LLP are ready to help. Our compassionate legal team understands the injuries, losses, and complications frequently arising from drunk driving accidents and injuries. We can help you file a personal injury claim—or a lawsuit in the court system—seeking the monetary damages you need for your injuries.
Our experienced legal team has recovered millions of dollars for our clients, some of whom were victims of drunk driving accidents. Our team handles many catastrophic car accident cases, and we have the resources and experience to help clients with life-changing injuries. We regularly accept referrals from other firms that involve severe injuries and high dollar amounts.
Let us help you pursue a claim or lawsuit to maximize your monetary recovery. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a Newport Beach drunk driving lawyer, please call us or contact us online to learn more.
How Alcohol Affects a Driver’s Brain and Mindset
Alcohol can significantly affect a driver’s ability to drive safely and carefully. First of all, alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it slows down a driver’s central nervous system. Consequently, a drunk driver is less likely to have the ability to process information at the same speed—or with the same clarity—as a sober driver.
Alcohol intoxication also comes with various physical symptoms. For example, intoxicated drivers may experience dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision while behind the wheel. As a result, a drunk driver may not even see another vehicle or pedestrian nearby.
Alcohol also causes serious mental symptoms, including delayed reflexes and an inability to concentrate. As a result, an impaired driver may have difficulty stopping their vehicle in time to avoid crashing with another car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian.
Drivers in California are legally intoxicated if breathalyzer evidence shows their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be at least 0.08 percent when they’re behind the wheel. However, the BAC cutoff for many drivers is far lower. For example, commercial truck drivers and other operators of commercial vehicles are legally intoxicated with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. A zero-tolerance policy—or a 0.01 percent BAC cutoff—applies to drivers under 21 years old.
If a police officer arrests a driver for DUI, they may or may not sustain a conviction. Convicted DUI offenders usually incur criminal penalties, including monetary fines, probation, or even jail time. However, if the drunk driver caused an accident that left another driver or passenger injured, the drunk driver or their insurance company may have to pay civil damages to the accident victim as part of a personal injury settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award.
The experienced Newport Beach drunk driving accident attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can meet with you to discuss your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. We can then help you start your case by gathering the necessary documents and promptly presenting a claim to the drunk driver’s insurance company.
What Are Types of Drunk Driving Accidents?
Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are significantly more likely than sober drivers to cause a traffic accident.
Some of the most common reckless maneuvers that drunk drivers commit that lead to severe accidents include:
- Road rage
- Falling asleep at the wheel or fatigued driving
- Erratic driving maneuvers
- Tailgating other vehicles
- Failing to use turn signals
- Aggressively weaving in and out of heavy traffic
- Swerving in a travel lane
When people drive while under the influence, they may cause rear-end crashes, T-bone or broadside collisions, sideswipe accidents, rollover accidents, or head-on collisions, depending upon the speeds of the vehicles and the area where the crash happens.
If a drunk driver negligently caused your traffic accident, and as a result, you suffered severe injuries, the experienced Newport Beach drunk driving accident attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can help you handle every part of the claims-filing and litigation processes in your case. We will help you file a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company and promptly pursue settlement compensation on your behalf. If that compensation is not forthcoming, we can litigate your case to an efficient resolution in the California State Court System.
Proof in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
Even though a drunk driver causes a car accident, it is the accident victim who has the sole legal burden of proof in any personal injury claim or lawsuit that they file. In fact, the drunk driver—the defendant in the case—does not need to prove anything.
Accident victims must first show that the other driver owed them a legal duty of care. In a drunk driving accident scenario, proving this element is relatively easy since all drivers have a duty to drive safely and carefully under the circumstances. Part of this duty of care is refraining from operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Next, an accident victim must show that the other driver was intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs while behind the wheel. In cases where breathalyzer evidence or field sobriety test results indisputably show that a driver was under the influence while driving, the drunk driver’s insurance company may stipulate (or concede) to the duty and breach elements of a personal injury claim. Therefore, the accident victim will not be responsible for proving these elements.
However, in every drunk driving accident case that goes to court, the accident victim must still demonstrate the causation and damage elements of their claim. Specifically, the accident victim must show that the drunk driver’s intoxication was both the actual and foreseeable cause of the car crash. Finally, they must demonstrate that as a direct result of their drunk driving accident, they suffered at least one physical injury.
Accident victims often fight an uphill battle when proving the legal elements of their case. Insurance companies and their representatives are never on your side, and they will do everything they can to derail your case, deny liability, or limit the monetary compensation that you ultimately recover.
Insurance companies are only interested in their bottom line; they are not interested in paying out significant financial compensation to accident victims—even victims of drunk driving crashes.
The experienced Newport Beach drunk driving lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can retain an expert on your behalf to help you prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit. Potential experts in your case may include an accident reconstructionist who can determine precisely how the accident occurred and a medical expert who can causally relate your injuries to the drunk driving accident.
Our legal team can also negotiate with insurance company representatives, ensuring you recover the fair compensation you need through settlement or litigation.
Recovering Monetary Damages for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Insurance companies make recovering monetary damages in drunk driving accident cases extremely difficult. Therefore, you should have knowledgeable legal counsel on board in your case, fighting for your legal interests at every turn. The experienced Newport Beach drunk driving attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can aggressively represent your interests during settlement negotiations—or in court—to help you maximize the monetary damages you deserve.
Monetary damages in drunk driving accident cases vary depending upon the circumstances.
Some factors that influence the monetary damages an accident victim recovers include:
- The speeds of the vehicles
- The extent of responsible driver’s intoxication
- The injuries the accident victim suffered
- The accident location
- The insurance company adjuster with whom the accident victim and their lawyer are dealing
- The extent of the accident victim’s medical treatment
- Whether the accident victim suffered a permanent injury
- The total cost of the accident victim’s medical treatment
- Whether the accident victim may need additional medical treatment in the future
Victims of drunk driving crashes may first pursue economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their out-of-pocket expenses, like lost income and related medical expenses. If a medical provider determines that the victim will need to undergo additional treatment in the future, they can seek anticipated medical costs as part of their final damage award.
In addition to economic damages, drunk driving accident victims can pursue non-economic recovery. These damages compensate accident victims for their intangible losses.
Those losses may include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Permanent disfigurement
- Lifetime care costs
We ensure to account for all of your economic and non-economic losses when pursuing compensation from a drunk driver. Insurance companies regularly try to minimize non-economic damages, but we know this compensation is just as important as reimbursement for your economic losses.
Speak With a Drunk Driving Lawyer in Newport Beach Today
If you or someone you care about sustained injuries in a recent drunk driving accident, you should seek the legal help you need as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to retain an experienced attorney to represent you, the more you jeopardize your chances of recovering any monetary damages at all. Reach out to a Newport Beach personal injury lawyer.
In California, the statute of limitation for personal injury cases, including drunk driving accident claims, is two years from the accident date. Accident victims who do not file their personal injury lawsuit within two years may inadvertently waive their right to recover any monetary damages at all for their injuries. Since this statute of limitations is extremely unforgiving and has extremely limited exceptions, it is vitally important that you speak with a drunk driving lawyer as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Bentley & More LLP are ready to help you handle every aspect of your case, from settlement up through litigation. If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and will not offer you a fair settlement award, we welcome the opportunity to file suit, litigate your case in the court system, and, if necessary, pursue a favorable jury verdict or binding arbitration award on your behalf. We can do all this for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
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I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with the firm to help serve their clients.”
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Bentley & More LLP – Newport Beach Office
4931 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone: (949) 617-0938