Sacramento, CA – A person who drives after using drugs and alcohol can be arrested and charged under California’s DUI statute. If the driver also caused an accident while they were impaired, it is possible that they can be sued by anyone who was hurt in order for the victims to be able to pay for medical treatment and other costs. Civil cases related to accidents are based on the principles of negligence, and these kinds of lawsuits can be brought even if the driver in question was never convicted in criminal court. There are accident lawyers in California who can give detailed advice about how negligence may apply to any lawsuit against a drunk driver. 

Negligence in general

Negligence is a system used in the civil courts to hold people and businesses accountable for damage that they cause to others. The law imposes a duty of care that is relevant to drivers and others who are engaged in activities that can potentially cause harm, such as drunk driving. The standard of care is based on what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation, which means that all relevant laws would be observed. When this duty of care is breached, the plaintiff must also show the other elements of causation and damages to prove that the defendant is actually responsible for their losses. 

California’s negligence laws

California has used a system called comparative negligence since the 1970s. These negligence laws allow fault for an accident to be divided between everyone involved to equal one hundred percent. Even when the jury assigns partial fault to a plaintiff who is bringing a case, they can still receive compensation, although their award will be reduced by an amount that is comparable to their level of fault. This means that people who are hit by drunk drivers but may have also been engaged in some kind of traffic violation that was relevant to the cause of the crash can still collect money if they choose to bring a case. The decision whether to sue under this negligence system is obviously very fact dependent, which is why guidance from a lawyer is so important. 

Damages in negligence lawsuits

The main reason why negligence cases are brought is for the final element, which is damages. California law allows a person to add up their costs for things like healthcare and emergency medical treatment, along with lost wages while they recover as economic damages. The defendant can also be made to pay out non-economic damages for intangible losses related to physical and mental pain and suffering.

Advice from an attorney in Sacramento

USAttorneys.com is a website that gets people connected with local lawyers. Anyone who needs help finding a legal professional can call 800-672-3103

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