Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of traffic crashes. While prevention efforts have reduced drunk driving, people continue to drive after drinking too much every day in the San Jose area.
Drunk driving crashes are entirely preventable, especially in the age of Uber and other rideshare services. Drivers who choose to drive drunk instead of making the responsible decision should be accountable for any harm they cause. Injured victims or families of fatal crash victims deserve full compensation for all of their losses from the accident.
Holding a driver liable for drunk driving should be easy - after all, the driver clearly did something wrong and caused injuries. Unfortunately, getting compensation involves going up against insurance companies, which is never simple. Insurers try to limit their liability whenever possible, even in cases involving drunk driving.
To ensure you get maximum compensation for all your losses, you need representation and guidance from a San Jose drunk driving accident attorney. The law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos seeks justice for victims of drunk drivers, and we can evaluate your legal options.
Reach out to our legal team today if you suffered injuries in the San Jose area.
- Drunk Driving in San Jose
- Legal Representation You Can Trust
- The Dangers of Drunk Driving
- California DUI Laws
- Criminal DUI Charges versus Civil Drunk Driving Accident Claims in San Jose
- Losses From Drunk Driving Crashes
- Why You Need a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in San Jose
- Learn More About Our San Jose Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
- Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP
Drunk Driving in San Jose
California alone has seen more than 9,200 deaths due to drunk drivers over a recent decade and San Jose has many nightlife options that increase the risk of drunk driving in popular areas.
Some areas where you might encounter a drunk driver any night of the week include:
- The Historic District
- San Pedro Square
- South First Area (SoFA)
- Near San Jose State University
- Around the SAP Center
San Jose has plenty of options if someone wants to go to a jazz concert, see a Sharks game, go bowling, or attend an outdoor festival. However, too many people fail to use rideshare or public transportation after drinking, and other innocent people in the area can suffer costly consequences.
You should never have to cover financial costs and experience other losses because of someone else’s unsafe and unlawful conduct. Always allow our drunk driving accident lawyers to assess your best options following your crash.
Legal Representation You Can Trust
We never shy away from difficult cases at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. We regularly help clients with life-altering injuries stemming from complex circumstances, and our attorneys fight for every dollar they need to cover their losses.
We Get Results from Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are not willing to simply pay claimants what they deserve. Instead, they make offers that are far too low, hoping injured claimants will accept them. Insurers know that our attorneys are familiar with their tactics to minimize claims, so they cannot use the same tricks when you have our firm handling your claim.
For example, two cases we handled illustrate the difference between an insurer’s initial offer and the settlements our attorneys will fight for:
- An insurance company offered $20,000 to our client, but we secured a $1 million jury verdict in civil court.
- An insurance company initially offered our client $300,000, and we ultimately negotiated a $4.5 million settlement.
These are only two examples of what the right legal representation can achieve in an injury claim. When you hire our team, you send a message to the insurance adjuster that you will not settle for less than you deserve. Often, adjusters hear this message loud and clear and are more likely to cooperate and resolve the claim rather than go to court. However, if an insurance company continues to make lowball offers, we never hesitate to file a lawsuit and initiate litigation for our clients.
For more information about how our accident attorneys help injured clients, feel free to read through our client testimonials. You should also schedule your free case evaluation with our team, so we can learn more about your situation, and you can ask any questions you have.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is a public safety concern because of the effects alcohol can have on the human mind and body. To drive safely, a person must be alert and ready to react at any given moment. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair these abilities.
When a driver is under the influence, they might struggle with the following and more:
- Judgment - Alcohol impairs brain function, including the ability to make smart decisions and judgments. Drunk drivers might misjudge speed, distance, or time or simply make riskier decisions than they usually might.
- Vision - People need clear vision when driving, and alcohol can quickly result in blurry vision or even double vision. Even one or two drinks can be enough to start affecting vision.
- Focus - Avoiding distractions and remaining focused is critical for safe driving. Alcohol impairs a person’s concentration, and they cannot focus on completing all the tasks of safe driving.
- Reaction time - Alcohol slows down information processing, including processing everything that is happening around a vehicle. Drunk drivers have delayed processing and, therefore, delayed reaction times to avoid a collision.
- Coordination - Driving requires sharp hand-eye coordination, which goes out the window when someone has too much to drink. Some people might stumble to their cars, fumble to get the keys in the ignition, and still decide to drive. If drunk people lack the coordination to complete basic tasks, they should not drive.
Often, you can see that someone might be drunk due to erratic driving. However, a drunk driver can also come out of nowhere and hit your car before you ever see them. The critical point is that if someone should not be driving due to impairment, they should be fully liable for any damage and injuries they cause.
Our attorneys at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos fully believe in holding drunk drivers accountable for causing devastating and costly injuries. We can help in the aftermath of a drunk driving crash.
California DUI Laws
To curb drunk driving, California has strict laws against driving under the influence (DUI). The law sets out a per se limit for alcohol, meaning that if a driver is over the legal limit, the law presumes them to be intoxicated. A prosecutor only needs to show evidence of their blood alcohol content (BAC) to prove DUI in such cases.
The current legal limits in California are:
- 0.01 percent for drivers under 21
- 0.01 percent for drivers already on DUI probation
- 0.04 percent for people driving commercial vehicles
- 0.04 percent for drivers with a passenger for hire in the car
- 0.08 percent for all other non-commercial drivers over 21
If a driver is over the applicable legal limit, they are legally intoxicated. This means that underage drivers or those on DUI probation should not have any amount of alcohol before driving due to the low limits.
Further, a driver can be impaired while below the legal limit. Alcohol affects people in different ways, depending on many factors. One drink might be enough to impair someone’s driving abilities, even if their BAC is below 0.08 percent. Police officers can arrest people who are under the legal limit, and those drivers should also face legal liability if they cause an accident and injuries.
Criminal DUI Charges versus Civil Drunk Driving Accident Claims in San Jose
After an accident, you should always call 911, so the police arrive at the scene. This is especially important if you believe the other driver was drinking. Never confront a drunk driver, as they might get aggressive. Instead, wait for the police to come and investigate.
If officers determine the other driver is drunk, they can arrest the driver, who will likely face criminal DUI charges. This case takes place in the criminal justice system, which can impose penalties such as probation, fines, or even jail time in some situations.
Many injured accident victims expect a criminal case to benefit them. However, a conviction and criminal penalties primarily aim to punish the drunk driver, not compensate accident victims. While a judge might order the driver to pay restitution to you as part of their sentence, it is likely much less than your overall losses.
Instead, you need to seek full compensation through the civil justice system. A personal injury lawsuit is a separate proceeding from a criminal case, though your lawyer can use evidence from the criminal matter to help your claim. If the driver gets a conviction for DUI, your attorney can use this to prove their drunk driving and liability without additional evidence.
Even if a driver does not get a conviction - or perhaps does not even face charges for some reason - your civil case still has a chance. The legal burden of proof is lower in civil injury lawsuits than in criminal matters, so an injured victim can still prove liability if a prosecutor did not prove DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. There is other evidence besides a criminal conviction that can sufficiently prove liability for an accident and injuries.
The intersection of criminal DUI cases and civil injury lawsuits is complex, and you need a drunk driving lawyer who knows how to navigate the legal process in San Jose courts.
These are the financial expenses or losses you experienced due to your injuries.
Economic losses can include:
- Medical bills
- Estimated expenses of future medical care you will need
- Lost income from missed work
- Future lost earnings if you cannot return to your previous job
- Other out-of-pocket expenses, including medical equipment, home health care, childcare, and more
Your lawyer can help you package your bills, receipts, and other documentation of your economic losses. They can also obtain expert estimates of your future financial losses.
These are intangible losses, so they can be more difficult to accurately value and prove.
These can include:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments
- Permanent disfigurement
Insurance companies regularly undervalue non-economic losses to limit settlement offers. You want our attorneys to appropriately value your intangible losses, so you do not miss out on a penny you deserve.
Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Cases
Drunk drivers make reckless decisions and cause avoidable injuries. Often, courts impose punitive damages on drunk drivers to punish them and deter similar conduct in the future. These damages might apply if a driver was particularly drunk, had a history of drunk driving, or other egregious circumstances. We can determine whether punitive damages might be available to you.
Wrongful Death Damages After Fatal Accidents
Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos works with families who recently lost a close loved one in a fatal drunk driving accident. This is a devastating and tragic loss, and we handle the entire process of a wrongful death claim to allow you and your family to focus on your emotional recovery.
Why You Need a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in San Jose
Contact our firm for legal assistance right after your health stabilizes because:
- We are honest about whether you have a valid claim and what you can expect
- We handle all communications with the insurance companies, so you do not risk an unintentional error
- We hire investigators and experts to support your claim
- We are skilled negotiators who fight for maximum compensation for every client
- Our experienced litigators never hesitate to file a lawsuit when necessary to protect your rights
The best way to learn about our services and our team is to schedule your free consultation with our law firm.
Learn More About Our San Jose Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
When you need help and support following a personal injury in San Jose, look no further than the lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. We are ready to answer your questions and evaluate your legal rights, and our commitment to injury victims is unwavering.