Spring often means an increase in parties (St. Patty’s Day, anyone?), sporting events, and other occasions where alcohol is present. This can also mean that more people leave these parties and drive while under the influence or intoxicated, which is against the law and one of the biggest contributors to car accidents in the San Fernando Valley.
Blood Alcohol Level in California
Most drivers in California do not realize that the legal limits for alcohol are very low. Indeed, it is against the law to drive with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or more. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a 200-pound male driver may exceed the limit with just three drinks in an hour, and a 160-pound female driver may exceed the limit by consuming just two drinks in an hour. If the driver is under 21 years of age, California prohibits driving with a blood-alcohol content of .01% or more.
California also prohibits carrying open containers of alcohol or consuming any alcohol in the car. The law specifically prohibits keeping an opened alcoholic drink in the glove compartment. Drivers under 21 are not allowed to carry liquor, beer, or wine, unless a parent or other adult specified by law is present and the container is sealed and unopened.
Drunk Driving and Auto Accidents
Each year, thousands of Californians are seriously injured in alcohol or drug-related car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a San Fernando Valley drunk driving accident, know that you have legal rights. A victim of a drunk driving accident may press criminal charges as well as file a civil lawsuit against the driver. A criminal conviction may help bolster the civil case, but it is not necessary to recover damages.
Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help you decide who you want to sue in a drunk driving case. A competent attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts of the accident. The attorney will discuss preserving any and all evidence that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident and will work to establish liability in order to hold the other driver accountable.
Besides bringing claims against the driver, your attorney might also advise suing the host of the party where the driver drank before getting in the car, if that is what happened. Party hosts who serve alcohol can be liable if a guest causes a drunk driving accident, especially if the host knew the guest was clearly inebriated and provided alcohol anyway. This is known as social host liability. Alternatively, your attorney might also advise suing the bar or restaurant where the driver drank before getting in the car. Bar owners have a responsibility to instruct employees to stop serving alcohol to patrons that appear to be intoxicated.
Your auto accident attorney will advise you also on what types of claims to bring for your injuries. These may include lost wages, if you are unable to work while you are recovering from your injuries, payment for past and future medical bills, and compensation for pain and suffering.
For more information on how to file a lawsuit against a drunk driver in San Fernando Valley, contact attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.