home personal injury car accident drunk driving accident

Santa Barbara DUI Victim Attorneys

DUI Accident Lawyers Get Compensation for Santa Barbara Victims

A DUI in California means either driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, or both. Any substance or combination of substances that can impair a person's ability to drive safely to an "appreciable degree" is illegal, whether prescription or illicit, over-the-counter or an "herbal supplement" like kava. And despite the efforts of law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), drunk driving crashes still occur on our streets and highways.

alcoholic beverage and car keys

At NordstrandBlack PC, we hold intoxicated drivers accountable and protect the rights of families and individuals who have been harmed by the poor choices of impaired drivers. Our firm offers more than 35 years of experience in complex personal injury litigation – and we have established an equally long track record of outstanding results. We are passionate about what we do, so let our Santa Barbara car accident attorneys fight for you now.

Call (805) 962-2022 to schedule a FREE consultation today.

What You Should Know About DUI Cases

  • Even if the driver is charged with DUI, that doesn't mean anything to the victim. If the perpetrator is convicted of a DUI, that means nothing in terms of paying your bills. Criminal charges are separate from civil claims, and even if the guilty driver has to pay a fine, it goes to the State, not to you. Any personal injury lawsuit you file for compensation will be separate from the criminal act of driving under the influence (though there are consequences). You are also entitled to partial compensation for out-of-pocket expenses from the DA's victim witness program.
  • Drugged driving is a growing problem in California. Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in January 2019, drugged driving crashes have increased. Although it may be legal to use cannabis, it is still illegal to consume cannabis and drive since THC impairs a person's ability to react and make judgment calls on the road.
  • DUI drivers may be punished with punitive damages. Punitive or "exemplary" damages are additional compensation that a jury may award to a victim if the defendant did something with malice, oppression, or fraud, meaning to cause intentional harm or with extreme recklessness; intoxicated driving falls in the last category.
  • Many drunk drivers carry little or no insurance, but our attorneys can still help accident victims obtain medical care, treatment, and benefits under their own automobile insurance policies. If you're concerned with these issues, talk to us about your rights and other potential sources of recovery today.
  • Establishing fault is essential when seeking compensation after a DUI incident. This typically requires evidence demonstrating the at-fault driver was operating the vehicle under the influence, which directly led to the accident and the injuries you have suffered.
  • Evidence may include police reports, witness statements, breathalyzer or blood test results, and field sobriety test outcomes.

What Is Considered a DUI Accident in California?

In California, a DUI, or driving under the influence, is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, 0.04 percent for commercial vehicle drivers, and 0.01 percent for drivers under 21. A DUI may also include impairment by drugs, whether prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal substances. The law takes into account not only the BAC levels but also symptoms of impairment observed by law enforcement officers.

Alcohol impairment begins with the first drink. Skills that are crucial for safe driving, such as judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, and reaction time, begin to deteriorate as blood alcohol concentration increases. Even a small amount of alcohol may affect a driver's ability to drive safely, such as judging distances or perceiving the speed of other vehicles.

As more alcohol is consumed, muscle coordination worsens, and response time increases significantly, making it difficult for the driver to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions. Alcohol also leads to overconfidence, often causing drivers to take greater risks. These impairments contribute to the likelihood of accidents, which is why DUI laws are in place – to protect everyone on the road from the dangers of impaired driving.

DUI Accident Victims Have Strong Legal Rights in California

Victims of DUI-related incidents in California have legal rights to protect them. This includes the right to file a civil lawsuit against the impaired driver for damages. If a fatality occurs, the victim's family may pursue a wrongful death claim.

DUI accident victims are entitled to be involved in the criminal justice process, such as making an impact statement at sentencing. California law also ensures that victims can seek restitution from the convicted DUI driver as part of the criminal case. DUI victims need to be aware of these rights and should consult with a Santa Barbara DUI accident injury attorney.

Pursuing Compensation After a Santa Barbara DUI Traffic Collison

Local district attorneys aggressively prosecute DUI cases involving injury or death. Also, since these accidents often result in felony charges, all DUI accident victims in California have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. It will strengthen your personal injury case if the driver who injured you has been convicted of DUI, but this is not required.

Economic damages include compensation for tangible losses, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and property damage. These are quantifiable costs that can be documented and verified, making them a critical component of any compensation claim.

Non-economic damages cover the intangible impacts of the DUI incident, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. While these damages are more subjective, they are no less important and deserve fair consideration.

Dealing with insurers can be challenging, as they often attempt to minimize payouts. Insurance adjusters offer quick settlements that may not cover all your damages and future medical needs. It is important not to accept any offers or sign any agreements without consulting with a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to help you receive a fair settlement.

Rehabilitation and Long-Term Medical Treatment

Injuries from DUI accidents vary in severity, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to life-altering conditions like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or even death. These injuries often require both immediate and long-term medical attention, which can be financially overwhelming for victims and their families.

In addition to physical harm, emotional and psychological trauma is common among DUI accident survivors, potentially causing mental health issues like PTSD. These injuries can disrupt every aspect of a person's life, from their ability to work and engage in daily activities to maintaining relationships. California law allows for compensation to cover immediate medical expenses and ongoing rehabilitation costs.

Our Santa Barbara Car Accident Attorneys Give Personal Attention

The victims of Santa Barbara drunk driving accidents not only need legal representation, they absolutely deserve it. As a client of our firm, you will be working with an experienced lawyer from the beginning of your case through its conclusion. Your questions and concerns will not go unanswered. You can have confidence that your case is in the hands of someone who knows exactly what to do.

NordstrandBlack PC would also like to emphasize that we have the experience and resources needed to achieve optimal results — professional relationships with top experts on various subjects, credibility within Southern California's legal communities, and state-of-the-art trial exhibit technologies.

Do I Have a Santa Barbara Car Accident Case?

If you or any member of your family has been injured in an accident that involved an intoxicated driver, call our Santa Barbara drunk driving accident victim lawyers directly or contact our firm online to determine if you have a case. At NordstrandBlack PC, we have dedicated our law practice to getting compensation for people who have been seriously injured by the careless actions of others. We have a perfect 10.0 Avvo rating and an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Call (805) 962-2022 to learn more today. Your consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire us. If we take your case, you pay no legal fees unless we win.

Additional Information