San Bernardino Drunk Driving Lawyers
Traffic has steadily increased on highways in the San Bernardino region, including Interstate 10. Heavy traffic is also present in the downtown area regularly. However, with increased traffic comes the increased—and unfortunate—possibility of drunk driving accidents.
Victims may suffer permanent and sometimes deadly injuries when a drunk driving accident happens. These severe injuries are common because drunk driving crashes frequently occur at high speeds and with significant force.
If you or a loved one recently suffered severe injuries in a drunk driving accident, you should take prompt legal action as soon as possible. Failing to take swift action following your accident may jeopardize your ability to recover the monetary compensation you need for your accident-related injuries.
The experienced San Bernardino drunk driving attorneys at Bentley & More LLP understand the seriousness of drunk driving accidents and the injuries and losses that often result. Our team can meet with you to discuss your accident, qualify your case, and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve. We have a strong track record of successfully settling and litigating car accident claims in San Bernardino and recovering fair financial compensation for our severely injured clients.
Because we primarily represent victims of catastrophic drunk driving accidents, other attorneys will often refer these complicated cases to us.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a San Bernardino drunk driving lawyer, please contact us today to learn more.
Types of Drunk Driving Accidents in San Bernardino
When drivers fall under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are more likely to engage in negligent or aggressive driving maneuvers that cause serious accidents.
In fact, intoxicated drivers are more likely to:
- Engage in road rage
- Disregard California traffic laws
- Fail to use their turn signals
- Fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians at the appropriate times
- Tailgate other vehicles
- Aggressively weave in and out of heavy traffic
When drunk drivers execute these risky maneuvers, they may cause several different types of accidents, including overturn accidents, rear-end crashes, head-on crashes, T-bone or broadside collisions, and sideswipe accidents.
If you sustained injuries in a San Bernardino drunk driving accident, our legal team can assist you with settling or litigating your case in court. We can also represent you at all legal proceedings in your case—including a discovery deposition, jury trial, or binding arbitration hearing—and work to maximize the monetary recovery you ultimately receive for your injuries.
Possible Injuries in Drunk Driving Crashes
Drunk driving accidents frequently happen at high speeds. Consequently, the injuries and other losses that accident victims suffer are often severe and sometimes permanent. The injuries that accident victims sustain typically depend upon the speeds of the involved vehicles, the accident victim’s bodily movements in the vehicle, whether or not a part of the accident victim’s body strikes something in the vehicle, and the type of accident that occurs.
Some of the most common drunk driving accident injuries include:
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue tears, requiring surgery
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Full or partial paralysis
Before doing anything else after a drunk driving accident, you should receive the medical attention you need, either at an urgent care facility or hospital emergency room. A medical provider at one of those locations is best equipped to diagnose your medical condition and render emergency medical treatment if necessary.
While you attend medical visits and focus on recovering from your injuries fully, the experienced San Bernardino drunk driving attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can begin working for you. Our legal team can start gathering your medical records and other important documentation to use as potential evidence at trial. We can also get the ball rolling on settlement negotiations in your case as quickly as possible.
Filing a Claim With the Drunk Driver’s Insurance Company
In most drunk driving accident cases, accident victims will deal with the drunk driver’s insurance company. The process of filing a drunk driving accident claim typically begins when an accident victim’s lawyer gathers police documentation, eyewitness reports, medical records, medical bills, photographs, and income loss documentation.
Your lawyer can then submit these documents to the responsible driver’s insurance company for consideration. If the insurance company accepts fault for the accident—which frequently occurs in drunk driving cases where the evidence of alcohol intoxication is clear—settlement negotiations between the parties may begin.
Settlement negotiations often take many weeks or even months. Consequently, you should have a skilled lawyer at Bentley & More LLP representing you throughout your case. Otherwise, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely take advantage of you and try to offer you far less money than your case is actually worth. Insurance companies are only interested in safeguarding their bottom line. As a result, they will usually undervalue car accident claims significantly.
Our legal team can negotiate with the insurance company at every step on your behalf. If we need to threaten the insurance company with litigation—or file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf—we can take those steps.
In many cases, the mere threat of a lawsuit will cause the insurance company to sit up and take notice. If your case must proceed through the court system, we can assist you throughout the litigation process and prepare you for depositions, jury trials, and other legal proceedings.
What if the Drunk Driver Didn’t Have Insurance Coverage?
Even though all California drivers are supposed to carry motor vehicle insurance coverage, sadly, that does not always happen. When a drunk driver does not have insurance coverage at all, or if they do not have sufficient insurance coverage, you have several legal options available.
If the drunk driver who hit your vehicle did not have insurance coverage—or if they fled the accident scene—you can file a first-party claim with your own insurance company. This type of claim is called an uninsured motorist claim.
At other times, drunk drivers may have some insurance coverage, but the extent of your medical bills, lost income, and other losses may exceed the limits of their insurance coverage. In those instances, you can exhaust the responsible driver’s insurance policy limits and then turn to your own insurance company for additional compensation. These first-party claims are called underinsured motorist claims.
Both uninsured and underinsured motorist claims proceed in a similar way to third-party claims that accident victims file against an at-fault driver’s insurer. The elements of proof in these cases are essentially the same, and you will need to satisfy those legal elements to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident where the responsible driver did not have adequate insurance, fled the accident scene, or had limited insurance coverage, we can help you determine if you are eligible to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. If you are, we can set the claim up on your behalf and pursue the full amount of monetary recovery you need to become whole again.
How Do you Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Case in Court?
To prove your eligibility for monetary recovery in a drunk driving case, you must establish various legal elements of proof. First, you must show that the other driver owed you a duty of care they subsequently violated.
In drunk driving accident cases where the evidence is clear, this element of proof is fairly easy to establish. Obviously, a driver breaches their legal duty of care when they drive while intoxicated. After all, it is virtually impossible for a drunk or impaired driver to drive safely, reasonably, or carefully.
Next, you must establish that the drunk driver caused your accident and that, as a result, you suffered at least one physical injury.
If you can prove these legal elements in court, you will be eligible for monetary compensation, depending upon the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the cost of your medical treatment and other related factors.
Recovering the Money Damages You Need
Every drunk driving accident scenario is different, and different accident victims may suffer different injuries. The monetary recovery you receive for your accident will likely depend upon the severity of your injuries and the cost of your medical treatment. Generally speaking, the more serious an accident victim’s injuries, the higher the monetary recovery they may receive in their case.
The purpose of monetary damages in drunk driving cases is to make an accident victim whole again, to the greatest extent possible.
Some types of monetary compensation you can receive include:
- Payment of related medical expenses, both past and anticipated,
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional anguish and mental distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Lifetime care costs
Victims of drunk driving accidents can also make a legal claim for punitive damages in some instances. The main purpose of a punitive damage award is to punish the responsible driver for their extreme recklessness or carelessness. A punitive damage award also sends a message to other drivers, encouraging them to refrain from operating their vehicles while intoxicated.
The experienced San Bernardino drunk driving attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can help you develop realistic expectations for your case and determine which of these damages you may be eligible to recover.
Contact Our Experienced San Bernardino Drunk Driving Lawyers Today
If you suffered injuries in a car or truck accident because of another driver’s intoxication, you should take prompt legal action. Failing to file a timely claim or lawsuit in your case may prevent you from recovering the monetary damages you deserve. Reach out to a San Bernardino personal injury lawyer.
Under the personal injury statute of limitations in California, car and truck accident victims in most cases must file a lawsuit within two years of their accident. If they fail to do so, the statute of limitations expires, and they will no longer be eligible to receive compensation for their injuries. While there might be exceptions to the two-year limit, these situations are rare and you should never assume they apply in your case without getting a legal evaluation. Seeking a consultation sooner is always beneficial.
At Bentley & More LLP, our experienced legal team can help you file a lawsuit well within the statutory timeframe, preventing the statute from running and safeguarding your right to monetary recovery. We can then assist you with every step of the settlement negotiation and litigation processes, working to maximize your compensation every step of the way.
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Bentley & More LLP – San Bernardino Office
Phone: (949) 617-0938