Injuries to a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunk driver?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2017 in Questions and Answers | 0 comments

A drunk driver is much more likely to be in a car crash, and those crashes often result in injuries and death to passengers.

Criminal convictions will not fully compensate victims who were injured.

Proving negligence

Negligence per se can occur when a person is guilty of  drunk driving.  In California, for purposes of showing negligence per se, section 669 of the California Evidence Code requires proof of the following three elements:

  • The defendant violated a statute or ordinance
  • That violation was the proximate cause of the claimant’s injury
  • The statute or ordinance (drunk driving) was designed to protect the public from that kind of occurrence

When a drunk driver’s violation of a statute or ordinance proximately causes injury, negligence per se can be established.

Civil courts allow victims to seek damages against drunk drivers. Those damages might consist of:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost earnings
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a normal life
  • Funeral costs in the event of a wrongful death

Punitive damages awarded to passengers

The victim might seek punitive damages from the drunk driver. In California an injured person is allowed to seek punitive damages from a drunk driver. The purpose of those punitive damages is to deter others from drunk driving. Insurance companies do not pay punitive damages awards. The victim would need to collect those damages directly from the drunk driver.

If you need additional info, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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