Americans just love to have fun on the weekends. And that fun usually involves lots of alcohol. Given America’s unconditional love for booze, it’s not surprising that over 1.4 million drivers across the nation get arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs every year.
Fact: Every day, almost 30 people in our country die in a car accident that involves an alcohol-impaired motorist.
Los Angeles accounts for one of the highest numbers of DUI arrests and fatalities in California. So it stands to reason that if you have never been in a DUI car crashes, chances are, you will be. That’s why our Los Angeles car accident attorney at Compass Law Group, LLP has prepared a step-by-step guide of how to file a car accident claim to hold the alcohol-impaired driver accountable for your injuries and damages.
How to file a DUI claim in Los Angeles?
The first step you should take after you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver is to seek medical attention and make sure all parties involved in the crash have received proper medical care.
The second step is to call the cops to get a police report. But the police report, which will be important in filing a personal injury claim with your insurance company or pursuing legal action later on, is not the only thing that matters after the police arrive at the scene.
It’s vital to call the cops so that the intoxicated driver is charged with DUI or arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if you’re absolutely certain that the driver reeks of alcohol at the time of the crash, you will have trouble proving that the motorist was operating his/her vehicle while drunk unless the police clarifies in the police report that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration exceeded the allowable limits.
What if the driver wasn’t arrested for DUI?
If the at-fault driver wasn’t arrested or charged for DUI, you will have to prove his/her negligence in order to file a personal injury claim. In that case, you will need to seek legal advice of a car accident attorney, since you will have to provide evidence that:
The at-fault driver had a duty to you and other motorists and pedestrians to drive responsibly (which means not driving drunk).
That duty was breached when the driver decided to operate his/her vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The driver’s DUI was the actual cause of your injuries and damages in the car accident.
On the other hand, if the driver was arrested or charged with DUI, you’re entitled to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages on the basis of “negligence per se.”
Yes, you need an attorney in a DUI car accident
In any case, it’s vital to speak to a Los Angeles car accident lawyer in order to maximize your chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries and damages either through a settlement or verdict.
Stay away from insurance companies and don’t answer their calls before you consult a skilled attorney, as negotiating with your insurer unprepared may destroy your chances of collecting damages in a personal injury claim.
Whether you were injured or your car was damaged, it’s vital to let a professional establish the full value of your claim before negotiating a settlement with insurance companies. Contact our lawyers at Compass Law Group, LLP for a free case evaluation.