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El Centro Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

It may not seem like much—about 60 arrests and 15 collisions a year—but for a town our size, El Centro has a bad DUI problem. And because of how alcohol impairs drivers, El Centro’s drunk driving accidents can cause far worse damage than other car crashes. Drunk drivers are more likely to speed, less likely to brake as quickly, and not coordinated enough to swerve out of the way of the people in their paths.

If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, an experienced El Centro personal injury attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today to learn more about your legal right to compensation following a drunk driving accident.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we have substantial experience with many types of personal injury claims, including drunk driving accident claims in the El Centro area. While we cannot guarantee the results of any claim, many of our past clients have found that having an attorney on their side substantially increases the compensation they ultimately receive for their injuries. We have helped clients identify additional parties who share liability for their accidents, worked to collect evidence, and taken over negotiations with insurance companies following many types of accidents. We want to hear from you and see what we can do to help.

The Aftermath of Drunk Driving Accidents: Common Injuries

Every year, more than a thousand people in California lose their lives in drunk driving accidents. Thousands more suffer injuries that cause them limitations for the rest of their lives. Despite that, around 1.8 percent of California citizens admit to getting behind the wheel after drinking too much.

California has instituted stringent measures over the past several years to decrease drunk driving and drunk driving accidents, including sobriety checkpoints, stringent laws regarding alcohol use and driving, and alcohol screening and interventions.

Unfortunately, those measures do not eliminate drunk drivers on the roads. Just one drink can substantially impact a driver’s ability to safely control their vehicle, including making it difficult for a driver to see clearly or impairing their decision-making.

The drunk driver’s decision to get behind the wheel, unfortunately, carries serious consequences. Drunk driving accidents often leave the victims with serious injuries, some of which cause lifelong limitations.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Living with traumatic brain injury rarely looks like it does in the movies. Victims usually don’t just have a short-term loss of memories of the past, which typically gets resolved within the span of the movie. While traumatic brain injuries do cause significant memory issues in many victims, it can also cause permanent short-term and long-term memory challenges.

Victims may also struggle with focus or concentration, making it difficult for them to complete familiar tasks. Traumatic brain injuries can also cause sleep disturbances or lead to changes in sensory perception, including tunnel vision or ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Victims may also suffer from challenges regulating their emotions, including having unexpected mood swings or extreme reactions to normal stimuli.

All of these challenges can make it incredibly difficult for victims of traumatic brain injury to return to their normal jobs. Many, especially those who struggle with impulse control, may need lifelong care from a caregiver or aide. Others may simply have lost a cognitive skill that makes it impossible to return to their former professions: they may lose creativity, problem-solving ability, or the ability to manage the emotional turmoil of dealing with customers or office politics as a result of their injuries.

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Some victims recover some of their normal capacity with time. Traumatic brain injury recovery, however, does not come quickly; many victims report that even with a mild traumatic brain injury, they still experience symptoms more than a year after the initial injury.

Spinal Cord Injury

Any auto accident involves a significant amount of force, which can cause serious damage to the spinal cord. Damage becomes more likely if the victim strikes the spinal cord directly in the accident. Drunk drivers, in particular, may fail to reduce their speed even when an accident is imminent. Slowed reflexes may mean that drunk drivers have trouble hitting the brakes or steering away from a potential accident, leading to a more substantial amount of force than necessary on the victim of the accident.

Victims with an incomplete spinal cord injury—an injury that does not go all the way through the spinal cord—may lose some mobility, function, and feeling below the site of the injury, not only in the limbs, but also in organs below the injury. Victims with a complete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, may permanently lose all mobility and a great deal of (or all) sensation below the site of the injury.

A spinal cord injury can transform a victim’s entire life. Many victims cannot return to their previous jobs, especially if they worked in physically-intensive positions. Not only that, victims with spinal cord injuries often accumulate significant, lifelong medical expenses. These expenses include not just the cost of a wheelchair, but the ongoing cost of therapy and treatment for their injuries and the complications and conditions associated with them.

Burns

In a car accident, the force of the accident can rupture a gas tank or expose other flammable liquids in the vehicle to enough heat to cause the vehicle to burst into flames. Burn victims often suffer severe pain, but may also face other significant challenges. Scarring can be a significant blow to many individuals’ self-esteem, especially when they permanently change the victim’s appearance. Scarring near joints can also cause decreased mobility in the injured limbs.

Burn victims also suffer a high rate of complications due to their injuries: normally, the skin provides a protective layer that prevents the introduction of dangerous bacteria into the body. A burn strips that protection away, leaving many victims prone to infection.

Amputations

Amputations can occur at the time of the accident, as a sharp object or blunt force severs a limb completely. Sometimes, however, the victim may require an amputation days or even weeks after the accidents itself. Doctors may determine that a limb sustained too much damage to repair. Tissue may die as a result of decreased blood flow, ultimately leading to the need for amputation.

Amputation involves the removal of a limb, often due to substantial injury to that limb in an accident. Victims may lose arms or legs to a car accident. After the amputation, victims may need follow-up surgeries to revise the stump and increase comfort in their prosthesis. Prosthetic devices can help restore some normal function, including making it possible for a leg amputee to walk again; however, those devices cannot provide the same function as a biological limb.

Amputees may need substantial physical and occupational therapy to learn how to function with their prosthetics or with the limitations that come with a missing limb. Prosthetic devices also require regular replacement: an amputee can expect to need to replace the original prosthetic within a year, as the shape of the stump changes, while future prosthetics may require replacement approximately every three to five years.

El Centro Drunk Driving Accidents: Seeking Compensation

If you or a loved one has been an El Centro drunk driving accident, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can offer vital guidance concerning the compensation you deserve and how to seek it after an accident.

Who Bears Liability for Your Injuries?

Most often in a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver bears liability for the accident. The drunk driver bears liability for their poor decisions, including the decision to get behind the wheel after consuming substantial quantities of alcohol.

That driver may, however, share liability with other parties, including:

  • Their employer. As many as 9.4 percent of truck drivers drink daily. Many of those drivers drink while operating their trucks. An employer who knows about an employee’s drinking behavior but continues to employ that individual as a driver may share liability for any injuries caused by that employee’s drinking and driving habits. The employer may also share liability if the company does not properly maintain the vehicle, if the company requires the driver to get behind the wheel while drunk, or if the company requires the driver to exceed the federally restricted number of hours they can spend behind the wheel each day.
  • The vehicle manufacturer. Drunk drivers’ slowed reflexes can make it difficult for them to respond to mechanical failures or problems with the vehicle. A drunk driver may have extra trouble, for example, responding appropriately to a tire blowout or managing an engine malfunction. While a drunk driver may have more trouble maintaining control of the vehicle following a malfunction, the manufacturer still may bear liability for selling a substandard product.
  • A mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle. Like vehicle manufacturers, mechanics must ensure that a driver whose vehicle the mechanic repaired or maintained can operate the vehicle safely. If a mechanic certifies a vehicle as roadworthy but the vehicle has problems that lead to an accident, the mechanic may share liability for the accident. The mechanic may also share liability in the case of faulty repairs or failure to notice a problem while working on the vehicle.

Identifying all the parties that contributed to your accident can make a big difference in the compensation you ultimately receive. You can file a personal injury claim against each party that contributes to an accident. Consult an attorney to learn more about who may have contributed to your accident and how it may impact the compensation you can seek.

How Much Compensation Can You Expect After an El Centro Drunk Driving Accident?

No attorney can fully predict the amount of compensation you will receive after a drunk driving accident. Several factors, including what exactly caused your accident and the extent of the insurance policies that cover any liable parties, can affect your compensation. California drivers who carry minimum liability insurance, for example, may have policies that will pay out just $15,000 in protection for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. Other policies, including policies that cover commercial drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers, and auto manufacturers, may provide higher levels of compensation.

Following an auto accident in El Centro, most victims claim:

  • Medical expenses. Serious injuries from a drunk driving accident can leave you with serious medical bills to go along with them. Ambulance transport from the scene of an accident alone can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Victims with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or other serious injuries can require long-term hospitalization and substantial physical therapy while recovering from their injuries. All of these costs can add up, especially if you require long-term care or if you need in-home assistance after your return home. If you suffer spinal cord damage or amputation, you may also include the cost of modifications to your home, such as widened doorways and wheelchair ramps, to the medical expenses you claim.
  • Lost income. Not only do you have substantial bills to worry about, but your income may disappear just when you need it most. Some employers will make modifications to help their employees get back to work as soon as possible after a serious accident. Others will not. Many employers cannot make modifications to help you return to work, especially if your injuries prevent you from performing your normal job duties. You may have to miss work not only for the initial recovery period, but also during ongoing treatment or procedures. Talk to a lawyer about how to incorporate those lost wages into your claim.
  • Pain and suffering. Your injuries may cause substantial emotional anguish alongside considerable physical pain. Many victims feel a sense of social isolation due to their injuries. Others struggle with the loss of independence that often comes with severe injuries. Talk to an attorney to learn more about how to factor pain and suffering, including the loss of enjoyment in normal activities, into your accident claim.

An attorney can help you calculate what damages you should seek after an El Centro drunk driving accident. Keep in mind that if the insurance company offers you a settlement immediately after the accident, while it may look attractive, it may not provide the compensation you really deserve for your injuries and your expenses. Consult Gomez Trial Attorneys before accepting a settlement offer.

Call Our Experienced El Centro Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

If you suffered serious injuries in an El Centro drunk driving accident, an attorney can help. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 for your free consultation and learn more about your legal rights following a drunk driving accident.

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“I know firsthand that Gomez Trial Attorneys is a professional and compassionate law firm. The entire office is a family and they treat their clients like family as well – these people truly care. Not only that, but they strive to make a positive difference in the community through their outreach efforts. Highly recommend.


 
Gomez Trial Attorneys
2299 West Adams Avenue, Suite 102
El Centro, CA 92243
(760)-259-2166

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