The Thanksgiving holiday weekend usually has even more drunk driving fatalities than the Christman holiday. Roughly one in every three motor vehicle fatalities involves a drunk driver. Although the percentage of fatalities caused by drunk drivers has declined somewhat over the past few decades, it still remains stubbornly high. Nationwide, almost 200 people die each year in drunk driving crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Los Angeles Is a Dangerous Place to Drive Over Thanksgiving
The bad news is that one survey found that Los Angeles is the most dangerous city in the country in which to drive on Thanksgiving weekend. According to one website that analyzed NHTSA fatality data, Los Angeles had the most people killed in Thanksgiving weekend DUI accidents in the country. Numerous other California cities also made the list.
The danger actually begins the night before Thanksgiving. This night is known as “Blackout Wednesday” because of people’s propensity to binge drink. Others call the Thanksgiving weekend by the name “Drinksgiving.” Those who drive after binge-drinking present the most danger (even though all drunk drivers place others at risk).
College students have already returned home, and they go out with their friends to drink. Others do not need to worry about waking up for work the next day, so they stay out late. The problem is that people are often driving drunk on one of the busiest travel days of the year when other motorists are on long car trips to reach their families in time to celebrate the holiday. For some reason, a family holiday has also become closely connected with alcohol.
The danger continues throughout the weekend. On Thanksgiving itself, people will drink at family gatherings and get back into their car to go home. On Friday, people begin to travel home at the same time that other people are getting an early start to their Christmas celebrations.
Drivers Do Not Exercise Proper Judgment, Even with Possible Criminal Penalties
The threat of arrest and the danger that drunk driving causes to others are not enough to get these people to change their behavior. Some may not even realize how drunk they are, while others think that they can get away with it. For you, all it takes is being in the wrong place at the
wrong time to have your life, and that of your family forever changed. You may be in the path of a drunk driver and not be able to do anything to avoid the collision.
Every year, the California Highway Patrol promises to ramp up enforcement efforts and put more officers out on the streets to arrest drunk driving. It does not matter how many police officers there are. Irresponsible people will drive drunk and not think of the consequences. In 2020, there were 868 people arrested on California roadways for DUI. For every driver that was stopped and arrested, there are countless more who get away with it. Nobody really knows precisely how many buzzed or drunk drivers there are on the road. No matter how vigilant police are or the marketing campaigns to educate about drunk driving dangers, the combination of heavier than usual traffic and holiday celebrations means more danger for you and your passengers.
You Can Receive Financial Compensation for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Under California law, you can sue the drunk driver for financial compensation in a civil case, which is separate and distinct from the criminal case against the motorist. It does not matter whether the drunk driver is convicted. You can still receive financial compensation if you are able to meet your own standard of proof, which is lower than the one that the prosecutor must meet. Of course, if the driver pleads guilty in the criminal case, it can be used as evidence in your civil case. For that reason, drivers may plead no contest if they reach a deal with the prosecutor.
Even though it may be easier to prove liability in a drunk driving accident, you would still need an attorney for your case. In these claims, the issue is more about getting enough financial compensation. The insurance company would still try to save money at your expense, even when it knows full well that its driver was to blame for the accident. Your lawyer could negotiate a settlement or take your case to court and have the jury decide it.
Your Damages in a Drunk Driving Case
In a drunk driving accident, you are entitled to the following damages:
- Medical bills for the cost of your treatment (including hospital bills, doctor’s visits, and rehabilitation)
- Lost wages for the time missed from work or any reduction in your earning capacity
- Pain and suffering for what you have gone through and will continue to go through after the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment and humiliation
In a drunk driving accident, you may even be able to get punitive damages, although these are very rare in any type of car accident case. You would need to take your case to trial because only a jury can award punitive damages. The prospect of these damages could ultimately persuade the insurance company to be more reasonable in the settlement negotiation, although they will still see how much they can push the envelope. Your lawyer could negotiate the settlement in your case, advising you to reject offers that are too low.
Contact a Southern California Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a Thanksgiving DUI accident or any car accident, the attorneys at the Arshakyan Law Firm can take your case and work for you to receive the highest possible settlement for your injuries. We know how to get tough with insurance companies when they use their normal tricks. We provide you with determined and hard-hitting legal representation. To schedule your free initial consultation, you can send us a message online or call us today at (888) 851-5005. You owe us nothing unless we help you win your case.