San Bernardino Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
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San Bernardino Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
San Bernardino’s bevy of restaurants, watering holes, and entertainment venues often pair well with a good drink, but unfortunately, easy access to alcohol also comes at a cost to our community. Drunk drivers are the primary cause of serious traffic-related injury and fatality, and are a constant threat to motorists, drivers, and pedestrians throughout San Bernardino’s roads.
A single drink can impair a driver’s ability to safely control his car. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 percent can decrease visual functions. As BAC increases, decision-making skills and motor control decrease along with it making it difficult for drunk drivers to adequately track what happens around them.
California has instituted various measures over the past several years to spread awareness about the dangers of driving while under the influence. Unfortunately, 1.8 percent of California drivers still admit to driving after consuming too much alcohol. Drunk driving kills more than 1,000 California citizens every year and San Bernardino is no exception.
The compassionate associates at Gomez Trial Attorneys collectively have decades of experience representing San Bernardino residents injured by another’s negligent acts, such as drunk driving. Drunk driving is a serious and constant threat to our community, and one we are eager to permanently eradicate. To that end, we have recovered millions of dollars in damages from drunk drivers who injured our clients, and we want to help you, too.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a San Bernadino drunk driving accident, an attorney can help you better understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys at 619-237-3490 today for a free consultation about your claim.
COMMON SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING INJURIES AND THEIR IMPACT ON VICTIMS’ LIVES
Many of the injuries that accompany a drunk driving accident can significantly impact every corner of a victim’s life. Severe injuries can cause changes in working ability as well as limit the types of leisure activities a victim can enjoy. Many of these accidents also lead to changes in the victim’s relationships with others.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
The violent force associated with many car accidents often propels the victim’s head directly into the windshield, the seat of the car, or the dashboard. When the brain hits the inside of the skull, it results in a traumatic brain injury. Losing consciousness at the scene of the accident can indicate a traumatic brain injury, but it is also possible to suffer a traumatic brain injury without loss of consciousness. Victims with traumatic brain injury may notice impacts across every area of their lives.
Victims may struggle with:
- Sleep disturbances: This can range from struggling to fall asleep to sleeping more often than usual as the brain tries to heal
- Emotional disruption: Mood swings or extreme emotional reaction, even when there is no stimulus for that reaction
- Difficulty with cognitive functions
- Trouble focusing or concentrating on a task
- Memory challenges
- Changes in personality
Many victims with traumatic brain injury struggle to return to work after their injuries. They may be unable to take care of the tasks they once had to deal with, or struggle to manage office dynamics, or assuage difficult customers. Even minor traumatic brain injuries can leave victims suffering from significant impacts more than a year after the initial accident. More severe traumatic brain injuries can cause symptoms that last for the rest of the victim’s life.
SPINAL CORD INJURY
Victims with spinal cord injury typically suffer a range of mobility difficulties that can make it incredibly difficult for them to complete tasks that require manual labor. Incomplete spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord does not sever completely, can leave the victim with decreased mobility, function, and feeling below the site of the injury. In the case of complete spinal cord injury, the victim may not have any mobility below the site of the injury.
Some victims, especially those with incomplete spinal cord injury, can recover some functionality over time. Most, however, will suffer lifelong impacts from their injuries. They may struggle to return to work or to take on commonplace tasks. Victims of high spinal cord injuries may lose mobility in their hands and arms, and movement below the waist, which can create additional challenges.
Victims with spinal cord damage must often go through occupational therapy to learn how to cope with their injuries and live as normal a life as possible; however, those victims will still likely spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair.
The force of a drunk driving accident can sever a victim’s limb completely or cause so much damage that doctors must later remove that limb. In some cases, the tissue may die due to crushing damage. It is possible a doctors may decide to remove the limb for the victim’s overall health, including the likelihood of sepsis or death due to necrotic tissue.
Amputees often face substantial challenges as they relearn how to perform daily tasks, including dressing, bathing, and handling normal work responsibilities. Many amputees choose to use prosthetic devices to compensate for the missing limb, which can increase mobility and make it easier for the victim to take care of many common tasks. Prosthetic devices, however, require regular replacement, which means an ongoing expense in the victim’s life.
In a drunk driving accident, the gas tank may get punctured causing hazardous chemicals or flammable materials at the scene to catch fire from the engine or the extreme heat coming from the vehicle following the accident. Even victims who exit the vehicle quickly may end up with substantial burns. Burn victims may suffer substantial pain throughout their recoveries. Burn victims may also deal with substantial scarring, difficulty with mobility around joints with burns, and a high risk of complications, including infections.
The location of a broken bone and its severity can help determine how much those breaks will impact the victim both throughout the recovery process and for the rest of the victim’s life. Severe breaks can cause permanent mobility limitations in the affected areas. A victim with breaks in the hands and arms—particularly common for the driver —may struggle to complete work tasks, including typing or filing paperwork.
Victims with breaks in the legs and torso may struggle to complete extremely physical tasks. In addition to its immediate limitations, broken bones can also cause ongoing pain and suffering throughout the rest of the victim’s life even after they have healed. A victim with severe breaks may require surgery and physical therapy to make a full recovery, which significantly increases medical costs.
DO YOU NEED COMPENSATION AFTER A SAN BERNADINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT? WE CAN HELP.
Following a drunk driving accident in San Bernardino, an attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Your compensation does not depend on the driver’s drunk driving conviction: if the other party caused the accident, you deserve compensation. An attorney, however, can help collect evidence that proves the other driver at fault and offer valuable advice that can help you determine when to accept a settlement offer and when to continue pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Often, the drunk driver’s insurance company will contact you shortly after the accident to make a settlement offer. At that time, you may have no idea what your recovery will look like, either in terms of how much your medical bills will cost or what your recovery will ultimately look like. Consult an attorney before accepting any settlement offer.
HOW MUCH COMPENSATION SHOULD YOU EXPECT FOR YOUR SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT?
No attorney can tell you exactly how much compensation you will receive after a drunk driving accident. An experienced attorney, however, can help evaluate the factors that led up to your accident, your medical expenses, and your financial losses related to the accident to help give you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect.
Relevant factors we’ve encountered in past San Bernardino cases include:
Medical expenses. Even surgery for a broken bone can cost as much as $35,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery and the facility you receive treatment. More severe injuries can substantially add to the medical costs related to your accident.
Your San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim can include all medical expenses related to the accident, including:
- The cost of ambulance transport and emergency treatment
- A stay in a rehab facility, if needed to ensure your recovery
- Skilled nursing help at home, if required
- The cost of surgeries and procedures to help repair your injuries
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy to help you cope with the implications of your injuries
- Modifications you must make to your home, including wheelchair ramps or modifications to your bathroom, to help compensate for your injuries
Lost wages. Serious injuries can make it very difficult for you to return to work. Some employers will help make modifications that allow you to work from home or return to work as soon as possible. In some positions, however, your injuries can prevent you from working altogether until you progress further in your recovery. Not only that, some severe injuries may make it impossible to return to your previous profession. You can make a claim for lost wages during your recovery as part of your San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim. Talk to an attorney to learn more about how to calculate lost wages and lost earning potential related to your injuries.
Pain and suffering. In addition to your tangible expenses from the accident, pain and suffering are also included as part of your San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim. An experienced drunk driving accident attorney can help you calculate the financial cost of your suffering, including loss of enjoyment of activities and a sense of social isolation during your recovery as well as the weight of the physical pain you face due to your injuries.
WHO BEARS LIABILITY FOR A SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT?
The drunk driver usually bears primary liability for a drunk driving accident. Even without a drunk driving conviction, the driver usually offers several key pieces of evidence that display liability. Witness statements, the damage patterns on the vehicle, as well as video footage, can help provide clear evidence that may establish fault in the accident. In some cases, however, there can be additional parties that may share liability for the accident.
Talk to an experienced San Bernardino drunk driving accident attorney to determine whether any of these factors apply to your claim, since identifying other parties could ultimately increase the compensation you receive for your injuries.
- The driver’s employer. Did you have a drunk driving accident with a commercial driver, specifically a truck driver? The driver’s employer may share liability for the accident, especially if the employee has a history of driving drunk or if the employer required the driver to get behind the wheel despite knowing that driver had a BAC over the legal limit. The driver’s employer may also bear liability for forcing a commercial driver to continue operating a vehicle outside the federal maximum number of hours he can legally drive, or if he failed to properly maintain the vehicle.
- The vehicle manufacturer. Did a mechanical failure lead to your drunk driving accident? A tire blowout, for example, could cause an accident regardless of the driver’s level of inebriation. While a drunk driver may have more trouble controlling the vehicle after a blowout, the manufacturer of a tire that blew out in spite of proper use could share liability for the accident. Likewise, if the vehicle malfunctions in a way that leads to or causes the accident, the vehicle manufacturer could share liability.
I WAS HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER IN SAN BERNARDINO—WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
YOUR QUESTIONS, OUR ANSWERS
When you leave your house and go out for a pleasant drive, run errands, or head to work, you expect to make it to your destination and back home again without incident. These are things we do every day. And most days, we return home safely.
Unfortunately, not everyone is so fortunate. Every day, 29 people in the United States die in a car accident involving a drunk driver. That’s one person every 50 minutes. While not every drunk driving accident results in a death, this shows just how frequently these accidents occur.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident where the other driver was drunk, California law may entitle you to compensation. To find out for sure, you need to speak with an experienced San Bernardino drunk driving car accident lawyer. Using the services of the right lawyer can make a difference in your ability to recover maximum compensation for your tragic injuries.
HOW DO I GET COMPENSATION FOR MY SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT INJURIES?
To get compensation from the drunk driver who caused your injuries, you first need to file a San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim. That is how you allege that someone else caused your accident and injuries and is liable for your medical expenses and other financial losses.
From a legal perspective, you need to show that the other driver:
- Owed you a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner and not while under the influence of alcohol.
- Breached that duty of care by driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Caused an accident with you because they were drunk and you suffered injuries.
This might seem simple enough. You know the other driver was drunk and you know you have suffered serious injuries. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple to prove each of these elements in court, and each requires gathering and presenting specific and detailed evidence. That’s why a San Bernardino lawyer you trust should file your San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim.
You must not delay, either. You only have two years from the date of your injury to file a drunk driving accident claim in California.
This might seem like a long time but think of everything you might face during this time:
- Extended hospital stays.
- Multiple medical procedures.
- Time out of work.
- Multiple doctor’s visits.
- Prescription medication costs.
- Stress and worry about your bills.
- Rehabilitation in a facility or your home.
Reach out to our drunk driving accident injury lawyers in San Bernardino as soon as possible after your accident. While you focus on your physical well being, your chosen legal representative can work hard to go after every dollar you deserve.
HOW MUCH COMPENSATION CAN I GET FOR MY SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT INJURIES?
The most frequently asked question from victims is this one. And there’s no straight answer because each accident is different. But some similarities exist.
For example, your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning potential;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of life enjoyment;
- Present and future medical bills; and
- Rehabilitation costs.
If you choose to hire a drunk driving car accident attorney in San Bernardino, they can help you understand the full value of your claim. Using your doctor’s prognosis for your recovery and conducting calculations of your earning potential, they can help you create an accurate estimate of your future financial needs. This gives your attorney an excellent picture of what you will need to recover to be financially secure.
If your injuries keep you out of work for a long time, your family could end up feeling the financial burden of your lost income. They may need to work more or take on extra jobs to cover the losses. But that should not be their burden, either. Let an experienced drunk driving car accident injury lawyer in San Bernardino help you go after every dollar you deserve.
WHAT IF THE DRIVER IS CRIMINALLY CHARGED?
Many drivers who cause an accident when under the influence of alcohol or drugs will receive a criminal charge. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the criminal charge the drunk driver faces could vary.
Many drunk driving accident victims make the mistake of thinking the criminal case will help them recover compensation for their losses. Unfortunately, that is not correct. The criminal case may result in jail time for the offender and, at best, a small sum of money paid to you as restitution.
That amount of money will not even come close to covering all of the medical expenses you face, let alone any additional financial losses you might endure. While a criminal conviction could help your civil claim, the drunk driving accident claims process is where you will have the best chance of recovering every dollar you deserve.
If you do not file a San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim, you could end up paying out-of-pocket for your medical expenses. Two-thirds of all bankruptcy filings result from medical expenses. Do not let yourself become a statistic. By working with a skilled San Bernardino drunk driving car accident lawyer, you give yourself the best chance of making a complete physical and financial recovery.
While your lawyer focuses on your financial wellbeing, you can place all of your effort and energy into your physical recovery. Letting go of this burden and placing it on the shoulders of your chosen legal team, you give yourself a better chance at making a quick recovery.
HOW CAN I HELP MY SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT CASE?
While your lawyer shoulders the majority of the work, there are things you can do to help your chances of recovering the damages you need to get better.
We list several important items below:
- Keep your medical records. Your doctor will surely have your medical records but if you also have a copy, that can help speed up the San Bernardino drunk driving accident claims process. You want to request a copy of your medical records so your legal team can quickly review them and start their calculation of the value of your claim. Your medical records will also help to show how much you suffered on your road to recovery.
- Take pictures and videos. Not only should you take pictures at the accident scene and keep them, you should also take pictures and videos during your recovery process. You can show how your injuries are healing with daily images. You can show with video how your injuries impact your daily life and how you need assistance for certain routine activities. These images and videos can help your San Bernardino drunk driving accident attorney help you maximize your recovery.
- Hang onto witness contact information. Immediately after your accident, the police will come to the scene and create a report. They will speak with you, the other driver, and any witnesses. Not all witnesses, however, will stick around for the police to arrive. If a witness has to leave the scene, make sure you get their contact information so that your lawyer can speak with them later. Witnesses often provide a different perspective and details about the seconds leading up to your accident that can help prove that the other driver was negligent.
- Keep a journal. Along with daily pictures, keeping a daily journal can help show how the accident hurt your life. Over time, your memories will fade and you will not recall the daily struggles you faced in your recovery. By recording this information in a journal, your lawyer might use it to help show your suffering, the hurdles you faced during your recovery, the pain you suffered, and the time it took away from your life. All of this combined can help paint a picture of why you deserve compensation from the drunk driver.
Finally, to give yourself the best chance of recovering every dollar you deserve, hire a seasoned San Bernardino drunk driving accident lawyer from Gomez Trial Attorneys. Your ability to recover compensation for your injuries could depend on the skill of the legal representation you choose, so make sure you work with someone you trust to represent your best interests.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M OFFERED A QUICK SETTLEMENT FOR MY SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Quick settlements are a tool used by insurance companies to make you go away for as little money as possible. That may sound harsh, but remember that the insurance company representing the drunk driver does not share your interests. Their goal is to be profitable, and they cannot do that if they pay the full value of every San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim.
Your goal is to maximize your compensation so you do not have to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses you did not cause. Your lawyer will share your interests and will fight to protect your rights during settlement negotiations. Many drunk driving accident victims mistakenly believe they can get a larger settlement by not hiring a lawyer. Unfortunately, what usually happens is they get taken advantage of by the insurance company.
You may think the insurance company has made a good offer but if you have not done a proper calculation of your future financial needs, you could end up in financial hardship in the future. When you sign the settlement offer, you will waive all of your rights to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this accident. So months or years later, when you realize the settlement funds have run out but you still have bills to pay, it will be too late.
To avoid this tragic situation, work with a knowledgeable San Bernardino drunk driving accident lawyer. Your lawyer has your best interests at heart and will work hard to negotiate a settlement that covers your financial needs.
While no amount of money will take away your suffering and undo the accident, getting compensation to cover your bills will make your life just a little easier and lessen the financial burden on your family. You owe it to them and to yourself to work with a lawyer who can help you work to maximize your recovery.
WHY DO I NEED A SAN BERNARDINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT LAWYER?
The lawyer you choose to represent you in your San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim can make a difference in your ability to recover enough money to cover all of your accident-related expenses. There is a great deal of responsibility you are placing on your legal team and that’s why you need to choose wisely.
Your lawyer may investigate your accident, review police and medical records, speak with experts, interview accident witnesses, negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company, and represent your best interests at trial. While most San Bernardino drunk driving accident claims settle out of court, sometimes insurance companies refuse to settle for a reasonable amount or they think they can get a better verdict in front of a jury.
We certainly understand that our clients need compensation to help cover their expenses, but we also want to make sure they recover what they need. So if that happens, we are fully prepared to take our clients’ cases to trial. You want to ensure your legal team has trial experience because an experienced lawyer will begin preparing for trial immediately, even knowing that it might settle beforehand.
This ability to be prepared for all scenarios comes with experience and not all law firms have the experience you deserve. When looking for a lawyer to represent you in your San Bernardino drunk driving accident claim, choose a legal team with proven drunk driving car accident claims experience and someone you trust to help you get back on your feet.
DID YOU SUFFER SERIOUS INJURIES IN A SAN BERNADINO DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT?
If you suffered serious injuries in a San Bernardino drunk driving accident, a San Bernardino drunk driving accident attorney can offer many advantages. Not only can an experienced legal team provide the compassionate, comprehensive advice you need to understand the compensation you deserve and make decisions about your claim, but a San Bernardino attorney can also collect evidence and establish all liable parties in your accident.
Many past clients have found that working with an attorney substantially increased the compensation they ultimately received. Join us in our mission to stamp out drunk driving in the San Bernardino community.
Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today at (619) 237-3490 to learn more about what we can do to help you.
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