Oceanside Drunk Driving Accidents
With a population of about 170,000 people, Oceanside is the third-largest city in San Diego County. It has a total area of 42 square miles. South of Oceanside is County Road S21 or Coast Highway 101. I-5 also passes through Oceanside. Drunk driving accidents are all too common on freeways and other major roads in the area. In some cases, a drunk driver will be convicted of a DUI and punished. However, this does not necessarily lead to any sort of redress for you as a victim of a drunk driver. If you were injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries by filing a separate personal injury lawsuit. It is important to retain an experienced Oceanside drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. At the Rubinstein Law Firm, we provide tenacious, experienced legal representation.Claims Arising from Drunk Driving Accidents
The criminal proceedings in a DUI case are separate from civil proceedings. The burden of proof is much higher in a criminal case; while the burden of proof in personal injury cases is "preponderance of the evidence," in criminal cases it is "beyond a reasonable doubt." Prosecutors will bring criminal charges when they think that they have enough evidence to meet this high burden of proof. However, even if a drunk driver who caused your car accident is not charged or convicted of drunk driving, you may still be able to recover damages in a civil lawsuit because of its lower burden of proof.
In most personal injury lawsuits, you will need to establish negligence. In the context of a DUI crash, a drunk driving accident attorney in Oceanside would present evidence to show that the other driver was intoxicated and that this resulted in the crash and your injuries. For example, a drunk driver who is unable to stay in a single lane may bump another car or hit the median and collide with another car. A jury is likely to see this as a breach of the duty to use reasonable care.
Assuming that the drunk driver was arrested for or charged with drunk driving, you may be able to establish your case by proving negligence per se. You will need to show that the driver violated a statute, regulation, or ordinance, the violation legally caused your injuries or a loved one's death, and the death or injury was caused by conduct that the law was designed to prevent. A benefit of alleging negligence per se is that it usually shifts the focus of the case from liability to damages.
If your Oceanside drunk driving accident attorney can establish liability, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages as compensation. Economic damages are tangible losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, medical equipment, and alterations to a home. Noneconomic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. The amount and types of damages depend on the nature of the injuries. A spinal cord injury or brain injury will be compensated differently than broken bones.
Usually you can only recover compensatory damages after a car accident. However, you may be able to recover punitive damages after a drunk driving accident. You will need to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with oppression, fraud, or malice to recover punitive damages under California Civil Code § 3294. Case law has applied punitive damages to drunk drivers. Courts have reasoned that people who willfully consume alcohol to the point of drunkenness, while knowing that they must later operate a motor vehicle, are showing a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant and deter future similar misconduct.Hire a Knowledgeable Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Oceanside
Drunk driving can result in serious injuries or fatalities to innocent, unsuspecting victims. People who are dealing with the tragic consequences of these crashes should seek guidance and advocacy from Attorney Zev Rubinstein. For a free consultation to discuss an Oceanside car accident, call 760.804.2790 or contact us through our online form.