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Temecula Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

Each year, drunk driving in Temecula leads to approximately 20 injuries or deaths and more than 250 DUI arrests. Whether you live, work, or recreate in Temecula, we are all at risk when we use Temecula roadways due to the careless actions of those who choose to drink and drive.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we believe drunk driving is never excusable, and our Temecula neighbors who suffer injury or the loss of a loved one deserve capable, competent, and passionate representation in the pursuit of justice.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Temecula drunk driving accident, we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your losses. We have helped many other victims of drunk drivers in the past.

Contact our Temecula personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free consultation with one of our compassionate drunk driving accident associates.

Alcohol and Driving in Temecula: A Deadly Mix

A cursory glance through the news is all it takes to understand the impact of drunk driving on the Temecula community.

Recently, a 20-year-old Temecula man convicted of killing a high school student in a drunk driving crash was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison on charges that included gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI resulting in great bodily injury, and several sentence enhancers. The accident occurred when the man, driving a 2015 BMW 328i westbound on Rancho California Road, suddenly accelerated to speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour around a corner on the two-lane road. The posted speed on the road was 40 miles per hour.

Alcohol produces effects on the brain that impair the functions needed to operate a motor vehicle safely. The level of intoxication is determined by measuring the alcohol concentration in a volume of blood. In most states (California included), the limit at which one is considered legally impaired is 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood. While that may be the legal limit to drive, impairment actually begins well before a person reaches that limit. In fact, it begins with the first drink.

Here is a glimpse of the functions that are impacted by alcohol, and at which point they become affected:

  • At 0.02 blood alcohol concentration, which is equivalent to one drink, a person will experience a slight loss of judgment and an altered mood. He or she may begin to have difficulty multitasking and experience a decline in visual functions.
  • At 0.05 BAC, the individual may begin to exhibit exaggerated behavior, difficulty focusing his or her eyes, and decreased alertness. His or her coordination will be reduced, there will be difficulty tracking moving targets, difficulty steering, and a reduced response in emergency driving situations.
  • At 0.08 BAC, the person exhibits poor muscle coordination, which impacts his or her ability to balance, speak, and see. He or she likely will have a hard time exercising good judgment, self-control, and reasoning. There will be pronounced reductions in the ability to concentrate, short-term memory, and the ability to control speed. A reduction in information processing capacity will render the individual unable to detect signals or to visually search.
  • At 0.10 BAC, there will be a clear deterioration of reaction time and control. Speech will be slurred, and there will be further reductions in coordination as well as slowed thinking. Drivers at this level of impairment will experience a reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately.
  • At 0.15 BAC, drivers will experience a substantial loss of the ability to control the vehicle, pay attention to the task of driving, and the necessary visual and auditory processing skills needed for safe driving.

A driver with a BAC of 0.10 or higher is seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than one who has not consumed alcoholic beverages. A driver who has a BAC of 0.15 or greater is 25 times more likely. It should be noted that the amount of alcohol you drink is not the only thing that influences your blood alcohol concentration level.

Other factors that may cause your BAC to rise more quickly or slowly than someone else’s include:

  • Gender. Even if a man and woman both consumed an equal amount of alcohol, the woman’s BAC level is often higher than the man’s.
  • Body size and weight. Even if a smaller person and a larger person consumed an equal amount of alcohol, the smaller person will generally have a higher BAC than the larger person.
  • The type of alcohol you drink. A higher percentage of alcohol per volume will produce a higher BAC than an equally sized drink with a lower alcohol content.
  • How long it took you to consume the drink. Chugging alcohol will increase your BAC faster than sipping it will.
  • How much food you ate before or during the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol on an empty stomach produces a higher BAC.
  • Certain medical conditions can also change the way your body metabolizes alcohol.

The Personal and Societal Costs of Drunk Driving in Temecula

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk driving equates a societal cost of $44 billion a year, including expenses related to lost productivity, workplace losses, legal and court expenses, medical costs, emergency medical services, insurance administration, traffic congestion, and property damage. Temecula residents who have encountered a drunk driver know all too well how much damage a single irresponsible actor can cause.

Drunk driving can also be costly for the perpetrator. Some of the costs he or she will incur include vehicle towing, bail, court fees and fines upon conviction, the cost of random drug and alcohol screens if given probation, the cost of an ignition interlock device, the inability to work due to incarceration, and extraordinary increases in his or her insurance premiums.

Unfortunately, the economic and lifestyle costs are often the most extreme for victims of drunk driving, and can include the costs of medical treatment both for the initial injury as well as:

  • Subsequent complications that arise with serious injuries such as brain and spinal cord injuries,
  • A permanent disability that results in an injured person losing the ability to perform the job tasks they performed before the accident,
  • Complete changes in every part of the person’s life
  • Profound losses experienced by family members due to the death and disability of a loved one.

Who Is Most Likely to Drink and Drive in Temecula?

Anyone, in any age group, can cause an accident as a result of alcohol impairment. However, statistics indicate that certain people, in certain places and times, are more likely than others to drink and drive.

These statistics include:

  • Male drunk drivers outnumber female drunk drivers at a ratio of 4:1.
  • Males in the 21- to 24-year-old age demographic have the highest likelihood of anyone to be involved in an alcohol-related fatal collision. This group is followed by males aged 25-34.
  • Those who are least likely to drink and drive are males and females over the age of 65.
  • Those involved in alcohol-related fatal drunk driving collisions are four times more likely to have previous DUI convictions than drivers involved in fatal accidents who were not alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash.
  • 56 percent of drunk driving accidents occur in urban areas.
  • 69 percent of drunk driving accidents occur during the nighttime hours.
  • 87 percent of drunk driving accidents occur on non-interstate roadways.

During the last 10 years in Temecula, hundreds of drivers received DUIs every year—during the last decade, the highest was 387, and the lowest was 195. During a bad year, we’ve seen as many as nine intoxicated drivers under 21 getting into wrecks, and as many as 47 total alcohol-involved crashes.

What Are We Doing About the Issue

While there are several states with higher rates of drunk drivers than California, this state has taken a strong stance against drunk driving by enacting stricter laws. Among which is the legal impairment limit for drivers under the age of 21: 0.01 BAC. What this means is that virtually any drinking and driving by those who are underage will be considered impaired.

One of the many reasons for setting the legal limit so low for young drivers is that they are already at high risk of being involved in a fatal accident simply because they are still relatively inexperienced drivers, and necessary skills for safe driving are still developing.

California also requires sober driving by instituting sobriety checkpoints, which you may often encounter around Temecula. While several states have banned sobriety checkpoints as a tool to curb drunk driving, the practice is permitted here. While a driver is legally able to avoid the checkpoint by turning around or onto another road before reaching it, drivers who are stopped must provide their name, license, and registration. If suspected of drunk driving, a driver can refuse to submit to a field sobriety test but—due to implied consent laws—cannot refuse to submit to a chemical test if requested without facing a license suspension.

Additionally, California has also begun a pilot program that requires those who have been convicted of DUI and have had past DUI convictions or who have been involved in drunk driving injury crashes to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. These devices require the individual to take a breathalyzer test before starting their vehicles.

If the test detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start. Depending on any previous convictions, the individual must keep the device installed anywhere from one to four years. First time DUI offenders in California face a four-month suspension of their driver’s license unless they agree to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for four months.

Your Right to Compensation for Your Injuries

While strict regulations and enforcement can reduce the number of drunk driving accidents occurring in the state, what about help for those who have been injured by a drunk driver in Temecula? California’s personal injury laws provide accident victims with a process of obtaining compensation for damages caused by the accident through a Temecula drunk driving accident lawsuit.

The damages you can recover through this type of action include:

  • Medical expenses, including emergency treatment at the scene or in the emergency department; transport to the hospital by ambulance or air, diagnostic testing, physician services, surgical services, prescription medications, hospitalization, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Those suffering permanent disability can also claim expenses such as crutches, wheelchairs, and modifications to the home or vehicle to accommodate the disability.
  • Lost income due to being too injured to work or needing to miss work to attend injury-related doctor’s appointments.
  • Loss of future earning capacity, if you can no longer perform the job-related tasks that you performed before the accident.
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
  • Non-economic damages, including physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disability, and loss of the enjoyment of life. Your spouse may also claim non-economic damages related to loss of consortium, which is the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that is sometimes suffered by those whose loved ones have experienced a serious injury such as a brain or spinal cord injury.
Attorney John Gomez

John Gomez, Temecula Personal Injury Lawyer.

To obtain a successful outcome to your Temecula drunk driving accident claim, you must prove the following elements in your case:

  • The drunk driver owed you the duty of care to drive his or her motor vehicle safely and legally.
  • The driver’s intoxication led to the breach in this owed duty of care.
  • The breach resulted in the accident that caused your injuries, expenses, and life impacts.

Your attorney can look carefully at the details of your case to determine if there are any additional sources of liability and insurance resources that can be accessed to fairly compensate you.

Did You Suffer Injuries in a Temecula Drunk Driving Accident?

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver in or around Temecula, the experienced drunk driving accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys can guide you through your legal options. You can work toward recovering compensation for your injuries and help us keep Temecula safe by holding drunk drivers accountable.

For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call us at (619) 237-3490.

Gomez Trial Attorneys
27720 Jefferson Avenue
Temecula, CA 92590

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