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What You Need to Know About Fresno Drunk Driving Accidents and How We Can Help You

Thousands of people die every year because individuals decide to get behind the wheel while they are drunk, and Fresno is no exception to this alarming statistic. Many people wrongly assume that they are sufficient to drive after a few beers following a night out. However, any amount of alcohol can impact a person’s driving ability and lead to dangerous accidents and devastating injuries. Worse yet, these accidents are entirely preventable.

If you were hurt because another person decided to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you may pursue the compensation you need for your injuries and the losses you endured because of this accident. That is why The May Firm’s Fresno injury attorneys are here and ready to provide you the legal services you require and fight for the justice you deserve.

About The May Firm’s Fresno Attorneys

Founded by Robert May, The May Firm helps people, especially those who can’t help themselves. Today, The May Firm covers a full range of injury and accident claims for our Fresno legal clients, fighting for the damages these clients need.

Since our founding, our firm has won several multi-million dollar cases and has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.

Even though these are just past results and we cannot guarantee success for any particular case, we can ensure that your case is handled with the utmost attention to detail and that your immediate needs are taken care of throughout the legal process.

Community Involvement

At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we organized bicycle and Christmas tree giveaways for individuals in our community. Our goal is to be a positive force for good in the local community and give back in some small measure to those we can serve. We receive satisfaction and joy from serving our clients and will continue to look for ways to be of assistance to the community as a whole. We receive positive energy from the community when we are involved.

We have listed a few of the local organizations we support and look forward to growing our outreach in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways we can be of service or support, please reach out to us. 

Where Compassion Meets Experience

We take pride in working hard for each of our valued clients and will help you recover from your injuries and losses, including lost wages, mental anguish, future earning potential, disability or continued health care needs and lost or damaged property.

Our Fresno injury lawyers stay well-informed and up-to-date on all applicable legal changes, so you can be confident that you will always receive relevant, current legal advice.

If you have suffered a personal injury or are a victim of an accident that is not your at fault for, contact our award winning Fresno attorneys 24/7 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also call our Fresno office at 1-(559)-385-2090. Let us be your personal injury and accident advocate.

“My number one goal is to help others. When you step foot into our firm, you’ll be treated like family, period.”
Robert May, Attorney | Founder

Fresno Drunk Driving Driving Statistics

Almost 30 people in the United States die due to a drunk-driving crash every day. That is about one person every 50 minutes. Sadly, these drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives every year, with approximately 29 percent of all the motor vehicle traffic fatalities resulting from drunk driving.

Unfortunately, drunk driving is not only a problem across our nation. California’s drunk driving statistics indicated that in one recent year:

  • There were 1,069 total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities
  • Approximately 30 percent of all the driving fatalities in the state were the result of alcohol-impaired driving crashes
  • The highest number of alcohol-involved deaths and severe injuries occurred in southern and central California
  • California ranks 25th in the nation for drunk driving fatalities

In bad years, more than 2,700 DUI arrests and 209 drunk driving accidents have taken place in the Fresno area.

What Does Driving Under the Influence Mean?

California can charge someone with driving under the influence (DUI) when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, or if they are a commercial vehicle driver and have a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. However, if an individual is under the age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy if they drive under the influence, no matter how much alcohol they have in their system. 

Who is Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident in Fresno?

Even though the drunk driver may carry a significant portion of the responsibility for a crash, there are, in fact, numerous parties that can be held responsible for a drunk driving accident.

These individuals include:

  • The driver: Those who decide to get behind the wheel while intoxicated are accountable for their own behavior and the harm they cause.
  • The employer: Employers can be held responsible for a drunk driving accident if the drunk driving accident occurred within the scope of their employee’s employment.

Dram Shop Liability

Each state has its own laws relating to alcohol consumption and drunk driving. Many of these states not only hold the drunk driver liable for the harm they caused, but they also hold bartenders, liquor stores, and social hosts responsible for allowing individuals to consume alcohol and causing an accident because of their intoxication.

However, in California, the Civil Code treats liability issues following a drunk driving incident slightly different:

  • Each person is responsible for the consequences of their actions and the injuries that result from these actions. Specifically, the California courts have indicated that alcohol consumption is the proximate cause of injuries an intoxicated person causes. Not the furnishing of alcoholic beverages. As a result, no social host who provides alcohol to an individual may be held legally accountable for damages that someone suffers resulting from an individual’s alcohol consumption.
  • One major exception to the rule is that if a parent, adult, or guardian serves alcohol at their residence to an individual they know or should have known is under the age of 21. They can be held liable for actions that the underage individual takes as a result of consuming alcohol.
  • Another rare exception is that if a business provides alcohol to an “obviously intoxicated minor,” the establishment may face liability for any harm that the intoxicated minor causes. However, the obviousness of the intoxication will come down to whether a reasonable person could tell that the minor was intoxicated.

The bottom line is that California will not hold an establishment, bar, or restaurant liable for another person’s alcoholic consumption. However, it may hold businesses or social hosts accountable if they knowingly provided an underage person with alcohol, and that minor went on to injure other individuals as a result of their intoxication.

Working with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help you determine who was at fault for your injuries and whether you can proceed with a claim against each of the liable parties.

Differences Between Civil DUI and Criminal DUI Proceedings

Generally, following a drunk driving car crash, there will be two separate court proceedings. One will involve a criminal case, and if the victim decides they want to sue for their injuries, a civil suit for personal damages. Even though both cases deal with similar issues, the two are not tied to each other. In fact, if the wrongful party is found guilty in a criminal case, it does not guarantee a favorable result in a civil case; likewise, the opposite is true. That is why if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you need to contact an experienced drunk driving accident attorney in Fresno as soon as possible so that they can get you the legal assistance you need and pursue the damages you deserve. 

Damages Following a Fresno Drunk Driving Accident

If you were in a drunk driving crash in Fresno, you recover:

Economic damages: These are verifiable losses that resulted from the accident.

They include:

  • Past, current, and future medical bills. These medical expenses can include emergency medical services, hospital stays, operations, doctor visits, and prescription medications
  • Past, current, and future lost wages if you can’t work following your accident
  • Rehabilitative services including vocational and physical therapy
  • Lost earning capacity
  • At-home care services
  • Household services including cleaning services and child care services
  • Personal property damages
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses

Non-economic damages: These are somewhat subjective losses that are not easily measured.

They include:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of reputation
  • Loss of a limb
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive damages: Unlike compensatory damages that are intended to compensate the victim for the damages they endured, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for their egregious actions and to deter them from committing the same act again in the future. However, to be awarded these punitive damages, you must show that the at-fault driver acted with a conscious disregard of your safety and rights.

Liability for Fresno Drunk Driving Deaths

If a driver causes another person’s death because of their alcohol-impaired driving, under California law, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries such as medical bills incurred before their loved one’s death, lost future income, funeral expenses, property damage, and loss of care and services. 

Common Injuries Resulting From a Fresno Drunk Driving Accident

Unfortunately, alcohol consumption can affect a driver’s coordination, reaction time, and judgment. As a result, drunk drivers make bad decisions and can cause catastrophic injuries.

However, some of the more common types of injuries resulting from a drunk driving accident include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Fractured bones
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Chest and rib trauma
  • Severe lacerations 

Steps to Take Following a Fresno Drunk Driving Accident

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the ordeal can be terrifying and painful. However, even though the scene is often overwhelming. There are specific critical actions you need to take to ensure that not only your health and safety are protected but your legal rights as well. These steps include the following: 

Contact 911

Remember, if you are involved in a car accident, you need to stop, remain at the scene and contact the police. These local officers can provide emergency medical services and assist any drivers or passengers who need help following the accident. In addition, they can investigate the accident scene and take down critical information in their police report. This report can help protect your legal claim if you decide to bring a lawsuit for your damages. 

Gather Evidence

If it is safe for you to do so, try to take as many pictures and videos of the accident scene as you can. These photographs are a great way to show what happened in the accident and the trauma you experienced.

These photos should include:

  • Visible Injuries
  • Damaged vehicles at the scene
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • Skid marks on the road
  • Construction activities that can have contributed to the collision
  • Traffic signs near the accident scene
  • The layout of the roadway or the intersection
  • Any hazards in the roadway 

Get Information From The Other Drivers

If you can, get the name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance information from the other driver. In many cases, if the other driver is significantly intoxicated, this may not be possible. In that case, leave the investigation to the police officers. 

Get Witness Information

You should not assume that the officers will identify all potential witnesses or get their information. That is why if any people saw the accident make sure to get their name and contact information. Their statements can provide you with valuable evidence in terms of helping you prove what happened and who was at fault. 

Contact An Experienced Fresno Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

When you contact The May Firm following your drunk driving accident, our personal injury lawyers can get to work gathering critical evidence to prove liability and damages, while also providing you the support you need to get through this traumatic ordeal. 

Keep Track of Your Documents and Records

To collect maximum compensation for your injuries, you have to provide a strong case with reliable evidence. That is why keeping records, bills, and receipts following your accident is so vital. These documents can provide your attorney the proof they need to show the harm you had to endure because of the drunk driving collision.

Remember, it is easier to obtain this crucial paperwork as you are going through your different medical treatments. Otherwise, if you wait too long to collect them, you risk evidence and records disappearing or the process of collecting these documents taking too long.

Finally, you also need to keep a journal or a notebook of the accident. This writing needs to include information about what happened before and after the collision, your recovery, and your ongoing medical care. Writing all of these thoughts down will not only help you remember the crash, but it can document the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of this accident. 

Fresno Drunk Driving Accident FAQs

Dealing with a drunk driving accident is extremely stressful. Not only is your life filled with endless worries about your health and how you will pay your medical bills, but you are also worried about what the future holds for you and your family. Even more taxing is once you are filing a drunk driving legal claim. You quickly realize that many moving parts in your case can leave you unsure and overwhelmed.

That is why The May Firm wants to help take some mystery out of these complicated questions by providing you answers to the following frequently asked questions regarding drunk driving accidents. With this information, we hope you can get the clarification you need, understand what steps you need to take next in your legal proceedings, and how our law firm can help get you through this challenging ordeal.

If you or a loved one was injured in a drunk driving accident. You need legal help that you can trust. Contact The May Firm today or call us at (559) 385-2090 to have our lawyers pursue the justice you deserve. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If a Fresno drunk driving accidents injures you or a loved one, it’s only natural to have questions. Below, we provide answers to the most frequently asked questions we’ve received.

Following a motor vehicle accident, at least one insurance company will likely be calling. Unfortunately, what many people get wrong is assuming that the insurance company wants to help them. Insurance companies are a business, and like other businesses, they want to make a profit. By denying your claim or providing you less money than you deserve, they accomplish this goal. That is why when the insurance adjuster contacts you, they will try to do anything to get you to admit fault or make statements that can hinder your case.

For these reasons, if an insurance adjuster is calling, you need to provide them with only the basic information regarding the accident and let them know that future communication will be through your attorney. Once you retain an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer, they can handle these discussions for you, ensuring you and your case are treated fairly.

Yes. Even if you believe that your injuries are minor, you still need to get examined by a doctor. Critical injuries can often take a few days to show symptoms, such as head or brain injuries. As a result, it is imperative to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.

These doctors can make sure you do not have any of these serious hidden injuries while also providing you the treatments you need. Additionally, they can write down their findings in their medical report. This report is critical if you decide to bring a claim, especially if the other side is trying to argue that you received your injuries in a subsequent event.

Yes. If you were a passenger in a drunk driving accident, you can likely file a lawsuit against the reckless or negligent driver who caused the accident and your injuries. Your options for recovering compensation depend on the circumstances of your case.

However, you may file a claim against one of the following parties:

  • Your driver: If the driver you were with was responsible for the car accident. You can proceed with legal actions against them.
  • Other drivers: If there was another driver driving under the influence and their intoxicated driving resulted in your injuries. You can go after them for your damages.
  • Your auto insurance: If it is applicable, you can file a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage or your med pay.

Speaking with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney can help you determine your legal options and help you proceed with filing a claim for your injuries.

Unfortunately, no lawyer can give you an exact timeline for when your claim will settle. An experienced drunk driving attorney can give you a general idea of how long it may take based on their experience and your specific issues.

But typically, many factors can affect the length of time it can take to settle your claim, including:

  • Your medical improvements: Before you proceed with settlement negotiations, you may want to wait until you reach a point where you see maximum medical improvements. Waiting for this point can help you determine the full amount of your medical expenses, future lost wages, and ongoing medical treatment costs. Once you know these figures, your attorney can fight for maximum compensation.
  • Disputes with the insurance company: If the drunk driver’s insurance company is unwilling to work with you during the settlement negotiations, this can delay your settlement timeline.
  • The severity of your injuries: If your injuries are severe or you have become disabled. The value of your claim will typically be much higher. In these instances, the insurance company may try to take up more time investigating your case and trying harder to reduce or deny your settlement.

If you cannot come to an agreement with the defendant or the insurance company, your case may need to proceed to trial. As a result, drunk driving accident cases can take as long as a few months to over a year to resolve.

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of your injury. If you do not file a lawsuit within this allotted time, you cannot recover damages for your injuries. In California, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, if you are bringing a claim against a governmental entity, you only have six months to file a notice. Working with The May Firm can help determine whether you have a viable claim and determine precisely how much time you have to file.

In general, do not wait to file a claim. Over time memories of the accident can fade, witnesses can no longer testify, and critical evidence can disappear.

Following a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, determining how much compensation you can receive depends on the circumstances of your case.

Some factors that go into determining these damages include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether the injuries are permanent
  • How long it will take for you to recover
  • The amount of lost income
  • The amount of medical bills
  • The types of medical treatments required
  • The treatments you will need
  • The need for services or assistance that you didn’t require before the accident (such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, or child care services)
  • Your ability to work now and in the future
  • The reliability of your witnesses
  • The credibility of your evidence
  • The amount of insurance available

Working with a drunk driving accident attorney can help you figure out which of these factors can impact your claim and then proceed with preparing the best case in response.

In California, a conviction for DUI is sufficient to show that the defendant was negligent per se. This negligence “per se” law indicates that the defendant is presumed negligent if they violated a law or statute and, as a result of this violation, caused an injury. Consequently, even if the liable party avoids jail time for their DUI, they are still negligent.

However, even if you can show negligence per se, it does not mean your case is over. In these instances, the defendant does have a right to introduce specific evidence showing that their impairment did not cause the accident or that your injuries did not result from the accident. That is why it is essential to work with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney who knows what evidence you need to show that the defendant’s intoxication resulted in your accident and your damages.

The main question in a drunk driving accident case is whether the defendant was negligent. According to California law, there needs to be a clear line of causation that connects the driver’s negligence and actions to the accident and injuries you sustained.

That is why if you are bringing a drunk driving accident claim, you need to prove:

  • The liable driver owed you a duty of care. All motorists owe a duty to follow the laws of the road and make sure their vehicles do not impede the safety of others.
  • The liable driver breached this duty. If the responsible party was driving while intoxicated, your drunk driving accident lawyer can argue that this intoxication constitutes a breach of their duty to not impede your safety.
  • This breach resulted in your injuries. Next, your attorney needs to show that the liable driver’s intoxication was the main factor for the accident and your injuries.
  • There were damages as a result. Finally, your drunk driving accident lawyer needs to prove you suffered actual damages to your body and your property due to this drunk driving accident.

Typically, if you have been injured by a drunk driver, under California’s laws, this is a breach of duty. However, to make sure you collect damages based on this breach. You need to show that there is a clear line of causation from the liable driver’s impairment to your final injuries. When you retain an experienced drunk driving accident attorney, they can get to work gathering the necessary evidence you need to prove this causation and your damages.

Drunk driving accidents are often complicated, tedious, and stressful. Victims involved in this accident are already going through so much. They should not have to deal with these complex legal proceedings on their own. However, with the help of a dedicated drunk driving accident attorney, they do not have to go through this process alone.

Following a drunk driving accident, The May Firm can help:

  • Answer questions and concerns: Our attorneys can go over your case, provide you with the answers you need and the legal options you have.
  • Investigate the accident: Our attorneys can promptly get to work investigating the accident, gathering vital evidence, and interviewing relevant witnesses that can help us figure out what happened and who was at fault for your accident.
  • Handle the negotiations: Our attorneys can handle all the discussions and negotiations with the other side. This can ensure that your case is treated with respect and that we fight for a settlement amount fair to you.
  • Bring in the experts: Our attorneys can bring in the experts, including doctors, accident reconstructionists, economists, and engineers, to help prove what happened and the damages you endured due to the drunk driving accident.

Take your case to trial, if necessary: If the other side is unwilling to negotiate, our attorneys can take your case to trial. Fighting for maximum damages on your behalf.

Call Us for a Free Consultation

Contact us to get started. It is important to have the proper legal representation on your side if you’re involved in a motorcycle crash. Often wrongful blame is placed on the rider in a multi-vehicle collision due to the increased risk that comes with riding a motorcycle. Insurance companies are reluctant to side with the motorcyclist and oftentimes will attempt to place the full or partial blame on them. Don’t accept that blame and the legal repercussions that come with it.

Call (866) 619-6679 to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers. We’ll help determine the viability of your case based on your testimony and help you determine the best way to proceed. Working on a contingency fee means our lawyers are only compensated when your case or settlement is won, and our extensive experience and case history allow us to settle most claims out of court, giving you a faster resolution to your case and allowing you to focus on your recovery process. We factor in every possible expense when building your settlement: Medical bills, wage loss, property damage, and emotional suffering are all considered. Our goal is to help you put your life back in order to the best of our ability.

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