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Riverside Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

San Diego car accident lawyersThe birthplace of California’s famous citrus industry, Riverside is also home to the University of California, Riverside. Given the city’s status as a historic college town, drunk driving is unsurprisingly a major problem, but it’s not just college students. Adults also make the unsafe decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Given the city’s Metrolink access and local bus routes operated by the Riverside Transit Agency, there’s no excuse for drunk driving in Riverside.

Drunk driving can lead to devastating results and, unfortunately, these accidents are not uncommon. In addition to the physical and emotional recovery needed after suffering from an accident caused by a drunk driver, these cases can involve complex legal proceedings. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, Riverside Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers have fought for clients who have been injured in drunk driving accidents.

If you suffered injuries in a Riverside drunk driving accident, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 for a free consultation about your accident and your right to compensation.

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

Across California, 1.8 percent of drivers confess to getting behind the wheel in spite of having too much to drink. Those poor decisions not only lead to more than 1,000 deaths across the state every year, but they also contribute to countless severe, life-altering injuries.

In Riverside, as many as 700 drivers racked up DUI arrests and we’ve seen almost 300 alcohol-related crashes in a single year. In just one year, 30 of those Riverside alcohol-related crashes involved people younger than 21, and 100 between age 21 and 34.

A drunk driving accident often involves the same basic errors or challenges that cause other types of car accidents. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents often lead to more severe injuries.

Driving drunk:

  • Causes a decline in visual functions. Drunk drivers may struggle to keep an eye on approaching vehicles or traffic patterns around them. Some drunk drivers struggle with tunnel vision or cannot bring their vision into focus. This may lead to a delayed perception of potential hazards on the road. In some cases, drunk drivers might not even notice the presence of another vehicle until they strike them.
  • Decreases motor control. Drunk drivers often lack the motor control needed to control a vehicle successfully. They may swerve on the road, start and stop abruptly, or struggle to steer the car successfully around turns or hazards.
  • Decreases decision-making capacity. Driving involves making countless small decisions. In an accident scenario, the driver must make fast, effective decisions to help protect himself and his passengers. Unfortunately, driving drunk also means decreased decision-making ability. Drunk drivers may react inappropriately or fail to react at all.
  • Increases the risk of dangerous behaviors. Drunk driving also inhibits smart processing skills. Drunk drivers have an increased likelihood of speeding or ignoring the rules of the road.
  • Impedes reactions. A sober driver can often react quickly to a potential accident, often allowing that driver to avoid the accident entirely or at least decrease its severity. Unfortunately, driving drunk can substantially impede reactions, leading to drivers who cannot respond appropriately to threats they face on the road.

As a result of the impact of drunk driving, accident victims often face more severe injuries than they would in a crash with a driver who did not choose to drink and drive.

Riverside Drunk Driving Accidents: The Aftermath

Drunk driving accidents can leave victims with injuries that cause significant pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. Often, these injuries cause lifelong medical expenses and even limitations on the jobs and leisure activities the victim can handle.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Victims who suffer from traumatic brain injuries may notice substantial changes to every area of their lives following the accident. In addition to the memory issues commonly portrayed in works of fiction about traumatic brain injury, the victim may display signs of emotional disturbance: trouble regulating emotions, mood swings, and extreme emotional reactions. Short-term memory, as well as long-term memory, may suffer as a result of the accident. Victims may display substantial personality changes, depending on which part of the brain suffered an injury in the accident.

Many victims with traumatic brain injury lose the focus and concentration necessary to function in their jobs, either short or long-term. They may struggle to maintain relationships with people, especially if their emotional control suffered as a result of the accident. While some victims regain normal function with time, even victims of minor traumatic brain injury may show symptoms more than a year after the initial accident.

Spinal Cord Injury

Complete injuries to the spinal cord often cause complete paralysis below the site of the injury. Victims may also lose organ function and sensation below the site of the injury. Even victims of incomplete spinal cord injuries, which do not sever the spinal cord completely, may end up with decreased function, loss of some or all sensation, and mobility challenges below the site of the injury. Many spinal cord injury victims will spend their lives in a wheelchair. Victims with high spinal cord injuries may lose function in the hands and arms as well as function in the legs, further complicating the victim’s life.

Many victims with spinal cord injury cannot complete the jobs they held before the accident, especially if they work in a very physical profession. They may need substantial physical and occupational therapy to regain some function and improve independence as much as possible. Spinal cord injury victims may also have to give up or reevaluate many of the activities they have enjoyed before their injuries.

Amputation

Amputees, or victims who lose a limb in a drunk driving accident, must often relearn how to perform common tasks, including self-care tasks. Extensive occupational therapy can help a victim learn to cope with a missing limb, including using a prosthesis to help compensate. Prosthetic devices, however, often prove extremely expensive. Not only that, prosthetics require regular replacement: many victims have to replace their devices every three to five years, depending on the frequency and intensity of use. Some amputees cannot use prosthetics due to the extent of their injuries.

Burns

Severe accidents can cause the vehicles to burst into flames. Even a single spark can cause the gas tank to catch fire. In some cases, even the heat from the engine or radiator can prove adequate to ignite flames after an accident. Victims may suffer severe burns, especially if they cannot escape the car quickly. Burn victims often experience substantial scarring alongside extreme pain and suffering. Some scarring can cause mobility difficulties, especially if it occurs near a joint. Victims may also struggle with the psychological ramifications of appearance changes due to scarring, even if plastic surgery can help smooth some of the scars away.

Burn victims face a high risk of complications during the recovery process, which can substantially increase medical expenses as well as pain and suffering during the recovery process.

Broken Bones

Victims with broken bones from an accident, especially if they suffer multiple broken bones, can face not only severe pain and suffering, but also substantial mobility limitations. Broken bones in the hands or arms can make it difficult for the victim to complete paperwork or operate a computer successfully, while broken bones in the legs or torso can make it very difficult for the victim to engage in any manual labor task. Severely broken bones can require surgical treatment and a long recovery, including physical therapy to help restore strength and flexibility.

A Riverside Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Help You Understand Your Rights

You have the right to compensation when a drunk driver’s negligence causes you to suffer serious injuries in an accident. An attorney can help. Not only can an attorney collect vital evidence concerning the drunk driving accident, but an attorney can also help give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve after your accident.

Keep in mind that the insurance companies that cover drunk drivers often want to limit their financial liability as much as possible following an accident. You may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company soon after the accident. Unfortunately, especially if you suffered severe injuries, that settlement offer might not reflect the full compensation you deserve. Consult an attorney to learn more about your legal rights after a drunk driving accident.

Who Bears Liability for a Drunk Driving Accident in Riverside?

Ultimately, the driver of a vehicle bears liability for the decisions made inside that vehicle, including the decision to drive drunk. Drunk drivers often bear primary liability for accidents caused due to their inebriation. You can seek compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident even if the driver does not receive a drunk driving conviction from the police. The civil claim to compensation for your injuries does not require a criminal case against a drunk driver. A drunk driving conviction, however, can help provide vital evidence about who caused your accident.

Other entities can also share liability in a drunk driving accident. Most notably, a driver on the clock at the time of the accident may share liability with his employer. Employers should not require their employees to drive while inebriated, nor should they take any action that makes them feel pressured into getting behind the wheel while still drunk.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, if mechanical failure caused or contributed to the accident or to your injuries, you may claim compensation against a vehicle manufacturer, the manufacturer of component parts of the vehicle that led to the accident, or a mechanic that recently worked on the vehicle.

Determining Compensation After a Riverside Drunk Driving Accident

An attorney cannot guarantee the compensation you will receive after a drunk driving accident.

How much compensation you receive will depend on several factors.

  • Who caused the accident? Drunk drivers in California may carry only minimum liability insurance to offer compensation following an accident, which means a maximum of just $15,000 in compensation for injured victims (or $30,000 to all the victims injured in the accident). Commercial drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, on the other hand, often carry substantially higher-value insurance policies, which can, in turn, increase the compensation you receive for your injuries. Identifying multiple parties that contributed to your accident, including an auto manufacturer or mechanic, can also help increase the compensation you receive, since you can file a drunk driving accident claim against each liable party.
  • How high are your medical bills? Medical bills form the basis of many drunk driving accident claims. Depending on your injuries, you may have medical bills that mount quickly: bills not only for emergency treatment, but for ongoing medical treatment, hospitalization, follow-up appointments with the doctors and specialists handling your case, and physical, psychological, and occupational therapy as you move toward a full recovery. Some victims, especially those with spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injury, may require a long-term stay in a rehabilitation facility to increase the odds of recovery as much as possible. Talk to an experienced attorney to learn more about the medical expenses that can factor into your drunk driving accident claim, including expenses like home renovations needed to allow independence or make your home habitable for you after your accident.
  • How much time did you miss at work? Your injuries not only mean substantial medical bills, but they can also make it incredibly difficult for you to return to work and earn the money you need to pay for both those bills and your normal expenses. Some employers, especially if you work in a very physical job, will require you to make a full recovery before you return to work. Others may offer the support you need to return to work despite your injuries, but you may still need time to recover before you can go back in a full-time capacity. Sometimes, your injuries can even prevent you from returning to your former profession at all: if you work in construction, for example, you might not go back out on a job site in a wheelchair, with limited mobility in your hands and arms, after a spinal cord injury.

In addition to tangible financial expenses associated with your claim, an attorney can help you understand how to include pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional anguish, as part of your claim. You should consider not only the physical pain you face as a result of your injuries, but also how those limitations impact other areas of your life: your relationships, your leisure activities, your independence, and your future, for example.

Contact a Riverside Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today

John Gomez, Riverside Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If you suffered serious injuries in a Riverside drunk driving accident, do not wait to get in touch with an attorney and learn more about your legal rights, including your right to compensation. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 to receive a free consultation about your accident and get a better idea of how much compensation you might expect.

 

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