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September 6, 2023

Average California Drunk Driving Accident Settlement

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: The average drunk driving accident settlement in California typically ranges from approximately $50,000 to $100,000. The reason this average varies so much is because of how serious the nature of these injuries can be.

Settlements involving minor injuries will likely settle between $20,000-$50,000. Settlements involving major injuries can exceed $1,000,000.

Common Drunk Driving Accident Settlement Amounts

Severity of Accident Average California DUI Accident Settlement
Minor Approximately: $20,000-$50,000
Moderate Approximately: $50,000-$100,000
Severe Approximately: $100,000-$1,000,000+

Example CA Drunk Driving Accident Cases

Below are some recent drunk driver car accident settlements achieved by lawyer members of LawLinq:

  • $100,000 settlement for a pedestrian knocked down by drunk driver in parking lot
  • 301,000 settlement for a rear end car crash resulting in back and neck injuries from a drunk driver
  • $915,000 settlement for a client hit by a drunk driver resulting in a headache and neck pain

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California Drunk Driving Accident Settlement Estimator

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California Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Below is a quick look at some of California’s biggest counties and drunk driving accidents resulting in injuries for 2022.

County Accidents with Injuries
Los Angeles 4295
San Diego 1877
Orange 1393
Riverside 1265
San Bernardino 1246

Source: TIMS Berkely

What Makes a Drunk Driving Accident Case Viable?

Drunk driving accident cases can be highly viable due to the clear negligence involved. When individuals operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol, they violate laws and endanger lives.

This reckless behavior often results in severe injuries or fatalities, generating strong legal grounds for victims or their families to pursue compensation.

Evidence like blood alcohol levels, eyewitness testimonies, and police reports can establish liability, making it easier to prove negligence in court.

Additionally, public sentiment strongly condemns drunk driving, favoring plaintiffs and potentially leading to larger settlements. Overall, the inherent danger and societal disapproval make drunk driving accident cases highly viable for legal action.

What Do Settlement Checks Cover?

Settlement checks in drunk driving accidents in California, as in many other states, typically cover various types of damages and losses incurred by the victims.

These settlements can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, the severity of injuries, and the insurance policies involved. Some common components that settlement checks may cover in drunk driving accidents in California include:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes past and future medical bills related to injuries sustained in the accident, such as hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy.
  • Property Damage: If your vehicle or personal property was damaged in the accident, the settlement may cover the cost of repairs or replacement.
  • Lost Wages: If the accident resulted in time off work due to injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for lost income. This can also include future earning potential if your injuries prevent you from working at your previous capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages, such as physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life, may be factored into the settlement. Calculating these damages can be subjective and may depend on the severity of your injuries.
  • Loss of Consortium: If the accident has negatively affected your relationship with a spouse or partner, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship and support.
  • Punitive Damages: In some cases, if the drunk driver’s behavior was particularly reckless or egregious, the court may award punitive damages to punish the driver and deter future misconduct.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: If the accident resulted in a fatality, the settlement may cover the costs associated with the victim’s funeral and burial.
  • Legal Fees: In many cases, the legal fees incurred by the victim when pursuing a personal injury claim are included in the settlement.

It’s important to note that the specifics of a settlement can vary widely depending on the unique circumstances of the case, the insurance policies involved, and the negotiation skills of the parties involved.

In California, insurance coverage limits can also play a significant role in determining the amount of the settlement.

Victims should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure that they receive fair compensation for their damages.

3 of the Best Ways to Maximize Your DUI Accident Settlement

Maximizing a DUI accident settlement involves careful strategy and legal expertise. Here are the top three ways someone can enhance their chances of obtaining a favorable settlement:

Hire an Experienced DUI Accident Attorney

Engage a skilled attorney who specializes in DUI accident cases. They have the knowledge, experience, and negotiation skills to assess the full value of your claim and advocate on your behalf effectively.

Gather Strong Evidence

Collect comprehensive evidence to support your claim. This includes police reports, medical records, eyewitness testimonies, photographs of the accident scene, and any documentation related to property damage or lost wages. Strong evidence can strengthen your case and increase the likelihood of a higher settlement.

Seek Prompt Medical Treatment

After a DUI accident, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries appear minor initially. Delaying or neglecting medical care can weaken your claim and provide an opportunity for the opposing party to argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident.

Additionally, prompt medical treatment creates a clear and documented link between the accident and your injuries, strengthening your case. Follow all prescribed treatment plans and attend all necessary follow-up appointments to demonstrate your commitment to your recovery, which can be a persuasive factor during settlement negotiations.

3 Common Mistakes When Filing a DUI Accident Claims

Delaying Medical Attention

One of the most significant mistakes is failing to seek immediate medical attention after a DUI accident. Some individuals underestimate their injuries, thinking they are minor, and delay seeing a doctor.

This delay can jeopardize their health and their claim. Insurance companies may argue that the injuries were not severe or directly related to the accident due to the gap in treatment. It’s crucial to prioritize your health and document injuries promptly.

Not Collecting Sufficient Evidence

Insufficient evidence can weaken a DUI accident claim. Failing to gather crucial evidence such as police reports, witness statements, photos of the accident scene, and medical records can hinder your ability to prove liability and the extent of your damages. It’s essential to preserve all evidence and work with an attorney who knows how to build a strong case.

Talking to Insurance Adjusters Without an Attorney

Many people make the mistake of speaking with insurance adjusters from the at-fault party’s insurance company without legal representation. Adjusters often aim to minimize settlements and may use statements against claimants.

Consulting with an experienced DUI accident attorney before engaging with insurance companies can help you avoid inadvertently harming your case and ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Avoiding these common mistakes can significantly improve your chances of a successful DUI accident claim. Seek legal guidance, prioritize medical care, and gather robust evidence to strengthen your case and maximize your potential settlement.

When is it Easy to File a Claim?

Filing a drunk driving accident claim with a lawyer is often easier because attorneys bring expertise to navigate the complex legal process. They gather crucial evidence, such as blood alcohol tests and witness statements, ensuring a strong case.

Lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies, negotiating settlements, and filing lawsuits if necessary. Their knowledge of CA laws and regulations streamlines the process and maximizes potential compensation.

Also, legal representation alleviates the emotional burden for victims, allowing them to focus on recovery. Attorneys simplify legal complexities, improve the chances of success, and alleviate stress associated with pursuing a claim.

Get Connected with a Top Rated DUI Accident Lawyer

Recently in a drunk driving accident and looking to speak with an attorney? Contact LawLinq ASAP to get connected with some of the best DUI accident lawyers in the state for free. Don’t let your medical bills and other expenses pile up.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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