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Pursuing a civil claim after a drunk driving accident

In a post earlier this week, we told you that Halloween is one of the deadliest nights of the year for drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. In fact, while about 30 percent of fatal car accidents involve alcohol on any given day, that proportion shoots up to 50 percent on Halloween.

Since Halloween falls on a Friday this year, drunk driving is especially of concern. In response, many law enforcement agencies throughout California are planning DUI enforcement initiatives over the weekend. Unfortunately, though, police probably won’t be able to stop all drunk drivers before something tragic occurs.

Since it is illegal for drivers to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of California, an impaired driver who causes a serious accident can be held criminally responsible for his or her actions. But while criminal actions punish the driver they do not provide the victim or the victim’s family with any compensation for the damages they sustained.  

A serious or fatal drunk driving accident can tear apart the lives of everyone involved, especially the lives of the victim and the victim’s family. In order to begin putting their lives back together, the victim and/or the victim’s loved ones are often able to pursue damages from the driver responsible in a personal injury lawsuit.

In many states, bars, restaurants or liquor stores can also be held responsible for over-serving patrons who go on to cause drunk driving accidents under dram shop laws. However, California does not have a dram shop liability law on the books. In some instances, though, California establishments can be held responsible for over-serving minors.

Talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer after a serious drunk driving accident can help accident victims and/or their families determine who might be civilly liable for damages.

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