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Hit by a Drunk Driver? Average Settlement Amounts & 6 Things You Must Know

If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver in San Bernardino County or Riverside County, California, you may be facing a difficult road to recovery. Drunk driving accidents can result in severe injuries, extensive medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma. It’s crucial to understand your legal rights and the steps you should take to pursue fair compensation for your losses.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the average settlement amounts for drunk driving accident cases and provide essential information to help you navigate the legal process. Here are the 6 things you must know if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver.

1. Seek Medical Treatment Immediately and Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

After a drunk driving accident, your health and well-being should be your top priority. Even if you feel fine, it’s essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent. Prompt medical attention not only ensures that you receive the care you need but also creates a record of your injuries, which can be crucial for your personal injury claim.

Once you begin treatment, follow your doctor’s advice closely. Attend all follow-up appointments, take prescribed medications, and participate in recommended therapy or rehabilitation. Failing to adhere to your treatment plan may not only jeopardize your health but also provide the insurance company with an opportunity to argue that your injuries are not as severe as claimed.

2. Report the Accident to the Police and Obtain a Copy of the Police Report

Calling 911 after a drunk driving accident is crucial. The police will respond to the scene, assess the situation, and create an official report. This report will contain important information, such as the date, time, and location of the accident, the parties involved, witness statements, and the officer’s observations. In some cases, the police may also administer field sobriety tests or arrest the drunk driver.

Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report for your records. This document can serve as valuable evidence in your personal injury claim, helping to establish the drunk driver’s liability and support your case for maximum compensation.

3. Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene

If you are able, collect evidence from the accident scene. This may include:

  • Photos of the damage to the vehicles involved
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Photos of the surrounding area, including skid marks, traffic signs, or road conditions
  • Contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident occur

This evidence can help paint a clear picture of what happened and support your claim for damages. If you are unable to gather evidence due to your injuries, ask a trusted friend or family member to do so on your behalf.

4. Keep Detailed Records of Your Injuries, Medical Treatment, and Expenses

Throughout your recovery process, keep detailed records of all aspects related to your injuries and treatment.

This includes:

  • Medical bills, medical records, and receipts
  • Prescription medication costs
  • Travel expenses for medical appointments
  • Documentation of missed work and lost wages
  • A daily journal detailing your pain, symptoms, and the impact of the injuries on your daily life

Having organized records will make it easier for your attorney to calculate your damages and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

5. Be Cautious When Communicating with Insurance Companies

After a drunk driving accident, you may be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It’s essential to be cautious when communicating with insurance adjusters. Remember, their goal is to minimize the amount they pay out on claims, and they may use tactics to get you to say something that could be used against you.

Avoid providing a recorded statement or signing any documents without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you don’t inadvertently jeopardize your claim.


6. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Navigating the legal process after a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to focus on your recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.

Your attorney will:

  • Thoroughly investigate your case and gather evidence
  • Handle communications with insurance companies and other parties involved
  • Calculate the full extent of your damages, including future medical expenses and lost earning capacity
  • Negotiate aggressively to secure a fair settlement on your behalf
  • Represent you in court, if necessary, to fight for the compensation you deserve
  • Don’t hesitate to seek legal representation after a drunk driving accident. The sooner you involve an attorney, the better protected your rights will be, and the more time your attorney will have to build a strong case on your behalf.

Understanding Drunk Driving Accidents

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

Drunk driving poses a significant threat to public safety. When a person operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, their judgment, reaction time, and coordination are severely impaired. This increases the risk of drunk driving accidents and can lead to devastating consequences for innocent victims.

Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents

In most cases, the drunk driver is considered at fault for the accident. However, establishing liability can be complex, especially if the driver refuses to cooperate or if there are multiple parties involved. An experienced personal injury attorney can help gather evidence, such as police reports and field sobriety tests, to prove the driver’s negligence.


Average Settlement Amounts for Drunk Driving Accidents

Factors Influencing Settlement Amounts

The settlement amount for a drunk driving accident claim can vary significantly depending on several factors, including:

  • The severity of the injuries sustained
  • The extent of property damage
  • The available insurance coverage
  • The strength of the evidence against the drunk driver
  • The jurisdiction where the accident occurred

Typical Settlement Ranges

While each case is unique, the average settlement for a drunk driving accident claim can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In cases involving severe injuries or wrongful death, the settlement amount may even exceed a million dollars. However, it’s essential to remember that these are just general ranges, and the specific circumstances of your case will determine the final settlement amount.

Pursuing Compensation for Your Losses

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the quantifiable financial losses you’ve incurred due to the accident. These may include:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
  • Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more subjective and difficult to quantify. They include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (for spouses)

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the drunk driver for their reckless behavior and deter future misconduct.

The Role of The Law Offices of Edgar Lombera

At The Law Offices of Edgar Lombera, our experienced personal injury lawyer has a proven track record of successfully representing victims of drunk driving accidents in San Bernardino County and Riverside County, California. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll these accidents can take on our clients and their families.

When you work with our firm, you can expect:

  • Personalized attention and compassionate support throughout the legal process
  • Thorough investigation and evidence gathering to build a strong case on your behalf
  • Aggressive negotiation with insurance companies to secure the maximum settlement possible
  • Skilled representation in court, if necessary, to fight for the compensation you deserve

If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver, don’t wait to seek legal assistance. Contact The Law Offices of Edgar Lombera today for a free consultation. Our dedicated team and experienced attorney are ready to help you navigate the legal complexities of your case and pursue the fair compensation you deserve.

Remember, time is of the essence in personal injury cases. Don’t let the negligence of a drunk driver go unaddressed. Take action now to protect your legal rights and secure your future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I’m hit by a drunk driver?

If you’re hit by a drunk driver, your first priority should be to seek medical treatment for any injuries. Call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report and gather evidence from the accident scene, such as photos of the damage and witness contact information. Finally, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

How long do I have to file a claim after a drunk driving accident?

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those involving drunk driving accidents, is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, there are some exceptions, so it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate timeframe.

Will I have to go to court for my drunk driving accident case?

Not necessarily. Many drunk driving accident claims are settled out of court through negotiations with the insurance company. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, your personal injury lawyer may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit to pursue the compensation you deserve. In this case, your attorney will represent you in court proceedings.

What is the average settlement hit by drunk driver?

The average settlement for a drunk driving accident can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the case. Factors such as the severity of injuries, available insurance coverage, and jurisdiction can all impact the final settlement amount. However, generally speaking, settlements for drunk driving accidents can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In cases involving severe injuries or wrongful death, the settlement amount may exceed a million dollars.

What are punitive damages in a drunk driving case?

Punitive damages are additional monetary awards intended to punish a defendant for their reckless or malicious behavior in drunk driving accident cases. In drunk driving accident cases, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages (economic and non-economic) to deter future misconduct by the defendant and send a message that such behavior will not be tolerated. However, not every drunk driving case will result in an award of punitive damages, as they are only awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. Your personal injury attorney can advise you on whether punitive damages may be a possibility in your case.

How is the at fault party determined in a DUI accident?

The at fault party in a DUI accident is determined by the evidence presented, such as police reports, witness statements, and blood alcohol content (BAC) test results. In California, if a driver’s BAC is over 0.08%, they are considered legally intoxicated and can be held liable for any damages or injuries caused while driving under the influence. In some cases, multiple parties may be found at fault, such as a bar or restaurant that overserved the drunk driver. Your personal injury lawyer will investigate all potential avenues of liability to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your losses