Orange County takes driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) very seriously. DUI offenders are punished with fines, license suspension/revocation, and even jail time. While the criminal justice system punishes drunk drivers, the civil justice system compensates victims of drunk drivers who sustain injuries as a result of their negligence.
Contact the Orange County drunk driving accident attorneys at the Crockett Law Group if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a driver under the influence. We can help you pursue compensation from the person who is responsible for your injuries. Call our Orange County car accident attorneys at (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free consultation.
We Get Results: $2,750,000 in a DUI Accident.
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What Are Drunk Driving Statistics In Orange County, CA?
First, let’s consider how rampant drunk driving is in the state of California as a whole. According to Responsibility.org, about 1,000 of the approximately 10,000 drunk driving fatalities that occur each year in the United States happen in California. That’s 10 percent of all alcohol-impaired fatalities nationwide!
Close to 30 percent of those deaths are caused by operators under the age of 21. Even more disturbing is the fact that while drunk driving deaths are decreasing nationally, they’re increasing in California.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1.8% of California drivers readily admit to getting behind the wheel after drinking more alcohol than they know they should. This percentage might seem trivial until you consider how large the population of California is. This means that close to 500,000 California drivers knowingly get behind the wheel after drinking too much. When you consider how many of these people are driving at high speeds on the freeway, it’s no wonder that there are so many serious accidents here. And, the actual number is likely even higher because a lot of people aren’t going to admit to government officials that they drive drunk.
Now let’s take a look at Orange County, CA in particular. In 2017, Orange County had 1,955 people who were killed or injured in an alcohol-related accident. Although that might not seem like a lot when you compare it to Los Angeles County (7,271), you also have to consider the fact that LA has 3.17 times as many people as the OC.
California Efforts To Decrease Drunk Driving
Like most of the country, California has criminalized driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher under California Vehicle Code Section 23152. Additionally, there is a “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under the age of 21. In other words, if you’re less than 21 years of age and drive with even just an ounce of alcohol in your system, you may be subject to fines, jail time, and the loss of your license.
Orange County has also allocated many resources towards sobriety checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints are where officers stop vehicles, randomly or for cause, and require drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test if they suspect they’ve been drinking. If it turns out they have, in fact, been drinking and driving, the police may confiscate their driver’s license. Although the DMV will return it later, it’s still a huge inconvenience for an Orange County resident who relies on their vehicle for transportation.
Getting your license back after a conviction is now tougher than ever, too. This is especially true if you refused to take a breathalyzer test or if you’re a repeat offender. California law now requires all convicted drunk drivers, even first time offenders, to use an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID will not allow the vehicle to start if you blow a BAC that is above .02. Some of the newer model IIDs will even force drivers to pull over to the side of the road to randomly check their BAC.
The message seems to be pretty clear here: don’t drink and drive in Orange County, CA, or you’ll face harsh penalties.
What Are Common Injuries From Drunk Driving Accidents?
In addition to being responsible for a large percentage of accident fatalities, drunk drivers are also responsible for some of the more catastrophic injuries we see. I would say that the average DUI case that comes into our office tends to have more severe injuries than any other case.
These are some of the most common injuries we see from people how have been hit by a drunk driver in Orange County, CA:
Many of our clients who are struck by a drunk driver sustain a traumatic brain injury. This is probably because the speed of drunk driving collisions tends to be higher than average. Drunk drivers are also more likely to cause a head-on collision and these are well-known for causing head injuries.
Fractures and Broken Bones
it’s pretty common for someone to break a bone when they’re involved in an accident with a drunk driver due to their speed and the angle at which they hit people.
We have a lot of clients with shoulder injuries like torn rotator cuffs, shoulder impingement syndrome, and biceps tendinitis. This usually happens when a drunk driver runs a red light and T-bones somebody because they’re more likely to slam up against the door in this type of accident.
Chest injuries happen frequently from the airbag deploying, which might result in a fractured sternum, fractured rib, or collapsed lung.
It’s rare that I come across a case where someone was hit by a drunk driver and they didn’t end up with a herniated disc in their neck or herniated disc in their back.
Lacerations and Bruises
Chances are high that a body part of yours is going to strike the interior compartment of your car and result in a bruise, such as a bruised hip from getting pushed up against the door.
What Compensation Can Victims Injured by Drunk Drivers Receive?
People who are injured by drunk drivers tend to receive higher settlements on average than people who are injured by sober drivers. This is the case primarily for two reasons:
Drunk Drivers Cause Worse Accidents
As a whole, drunk drivers tend to cause more property damage and more severe injuries. Drunk drivers simply do things sober people don’t typically do, like drive into oncoming traffic.
California law allows you to pursue punitive damages against a drunk driver who injured you. There are two reasons that punitive damages might be awarded in a DUI accident case. One is to punish the drunk driver for their outrageous behavior.
The other is to send a message to everyone else that this type of outrageous behavior won’t be tolerated. The truth of the matter is that punitive damages are rarely awarded. But, the prospect of there being punitive damages still poses a threat and therefore offers you leverage.
You should know that unlike damages for medical bills and pain and suffering, the drunk driver’s insurance company isn’t responsible for paying punitive damages; the drunk driver is. With that being said, their insurance company still has a duty to protect them from a lawsuit that could result in them having to pay for damages out-of-pocket, so they tend to make higher settlement offers to prevent that from happening.
Get A Free Case Review With Our Orange County Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the top cities where DUI arrests occurred in Orange County are in Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Garden Grove. But keep in mind that “DUI” doesn’t just mean drinking, it can also refer to drugs.
To be clear, you can be charged with DUI for driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. In fact, driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous if not more so. Just consider the fact that 42% of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in California tested positive for drugs according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
As DUI accident lawyers, we regularly represent the interests of victims who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. Crockett Law Group is committed to handling your injury claim from start to finish and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of a drunk driving accident, contact the Crockett Law Group to speak with one of our Orange County personal injury lawyers at (800) 900-9393.