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Every year at this time, people tend to take a step back and relax a bit with friends and loved ones. It’s a joyous time and a time to appreciate what we have. Unfortunately, this festive spirit around the world can lead to bad decisions. Tragically, that’s what police suspect occurred over the weekend. A woman was killed in an alleged San Diego DUI crash. The woman who allegedly caused the accident was apparently driving on the wrong side of a road. This led to a head-on collision that left the other driver dead. It’s a tragedy that’s all too common around the holidays. This terrible accident is also a tragic example of how one bad decision can lead to the ultimate in consequences for otherwise innocent people. Please avoid drinking and driving if you face this same choice both during the holidays and at any other time of year.
NBC in San Diego published a story describing the alleged San Diego DUI crash. According to the station, the accident occurred at 11:48 p.m. on Saturday night. A 34-year-old woman was driving a Toyota Sienna van in an eastbound direction on Camino del Norte in 4S Ranch. She was doing so in a westbound lane near Camino San Bernardo. The driver then collided with a 38-year-old woman who was traveling in the opposite direction in a Toyota Corolla in a head-on fashion. The driver of the Corolla was killed in the accident. The now-suspect driver of the van suffered serious injuries. She was transported to a hospital and arrested on suspicion of DUI causing injury and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
First and foremost, we’d like to express our condolences to the family and friends of the woman who was killed in this alleged San Diego DUI crash. This will be a very difficult situation for them to overcome, particularly at this time of year. Our thoughts are with them. We also hope that the criminal justice system moves forward quickly and efficiently and that the investigation and other aspects of this process lead to a just result.
In addition, this alleged fatal San Diego DUI crash will only add to the statistics regarding drunk driving fatalities in the state. Every year, approximately 3,000 people are killed in California car accidents. Approximately one-third of those people killed die in crashes in which alcohol is recorded as a factor. This mirrors the national ratio as well. More than 30,000 people are killed in car accidents in the United States every year. Approximately 10,000 fatalities can be attributed to crashes where alcohol was at least a relevant factor.
In general, fatal DUI accidents set off several different processes. Obviously, the first involves the criminal justice system. A driver who is suspected of causing a fatal DUI accident will most likely be arrested and charged with a serious crime. In most states, drivers convicted of causing a fatal DUI crash will face prison time. California is no different in this regard. However, each case clearly depends on individual factors regarding the crash and the offending driver.
Aside from the criminal prosecution of the driver in a fatal California DUI accident, the families of the people who are killed by drunk drivers also generally have legal options at their disposal. The most common approach taken by families who suddenly grieve the loss of a loved one is to file a California wrongful death lawsuit. This is often done despite the fact that the suspected drunk driver is being prosecuted. Once again, each situation is different to a degree. Plaintiffs in California wrongful death claims can recover the following types of damages:
There are other types of damages that can be awarded in certain cases. However, as stated above, each case depends on the facts.
Driving after consuming an intoxicant or intoxicants is always a bad decision. Unfortunately, more people tend to make this decision during the holiday season. Ironically, this occurs during National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. It’s not an accident that organizers chose December for this awareness campaign. We posted about this effort recently. As such, we’d like to briefly outline some of the ideas to consider so that you can avoid driving when you shouldn’t:
Of course, the only surefire way to avoid drinking and driving is to simply avoid drinking on nights when you may be out with your vehicle.
Even if you make all the right decisions and you avoid drinking and driving, that doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be involved in a San Diego DUI accident. You can’t control the actions taken and choices made by others. Sadly, there will most likely be people who are injured and killed in car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers during this holiday season and beyond. If this includes you or someone you love, you need to take action to make sure that all of your legal rights are properly protected and enforced.
The criminal justice system serves as a deterrent to an extent. Awareness campaigns have also had a positive impact on the societal problem that is driving while intoxicated. Private citizens need to take steps to help deter people from making this terrible decision. People can do this by filing civil lawsuits against those who cause accidents while driving when they shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a vehicle.
If you face this difficult situation, contact the San Diego car accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.
John Gomez founded the firm alone in 2005. Today, John acts as President and Lead Trial Attorney. He has been voted by his peers as a top ten San Diego litigator in three separate fields: Personal Injury, Insurance and Corporate Litigation. Since 2000, he has recovered over $800 million in settlements and verdicts for his clients with more than 160 separate recoveries of one million dollars or more. A prolific trial lawyer, John has tried to jury verdict more than 60 separate cases.
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