Drunk Driving Accidents More Than $175 Million Recovered | Over 30 Years of Experience

Los Angeles Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Drunk Driving Accidents in Southern California

man drinking and driving in californiaResearchers from the Berkeley-SafeTREC Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, working in conjunction with the California Office of Traffic Safety, released a report on alcohol-impaired driving in 2022, which yielded many data points of interest and concern.

A few examples:

  • 1,159 California drivers lost their lives to drunk driving in 2020.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities across the country reached a recent high of 11,654 in 2020.
  • The alcohol-impaired driving fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased to 0.4 in 2020, up from just 0.31 in 2019.
  • Only 21,408 drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes could be linked to a verified blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test result. The other 32,482 did not take a BAC test or had their records sealed.

Although all states make it illegal to drive with a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, and Utah lowered this threshold to 0.05 in 2019, drunk driving is still one of the most commonly reported traffic-related crimes in the country.

A Record of Success

Were you or your loved one the victim of a drunk driving accident? If so, Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation is here to help. Attorney Scott J. Corwin has more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law. He and our entire team are dedicated to helping you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Ventura, or Santa Barbara County or anywhere else in California.

Scott J. Corwin has successfully represented more than 3,000 injury victims and obtained recoveries totaling more than $125 million. Our firm continues to advocate tirelessly for victims of car accidents involving drunk drivers.

Call (310) 683-2300 or contact us online now for a FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney in Los Angeles.

how to identify a drunk driver infographic

Three Common Signs of Drunk Driving

Drunk drivers may behave oddly on the road, react slowly to traffic, or drive with noticeable caution. In some cases, drunk drivers are easy to spot; in others, it can be difficult to tell if the person who caused the accident was intoxicated or impaired.

Below, we’ve outlined three of the most common signs of drunk driving, but always be aware of other motorists and their behavior. After an accident, contact the police and have them come out to the scene of the crash. The officer may conduct a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test on the individual suspected of driving under the influence.

Erratic Behavior

Alcohol can impair a person’s ability to make judgment calls. By the time a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent, reasoning and self-control can also be reduced. This often leads to unpredictable behavior, both on and off of the road.

The following irregular actions could be a sign that a driver has been drinking:

  • Making illegal turns
  • Stopping abruptly for no reason
  • Swerving in and out of the lane boundaries
  • Driving into oncoming traffic
  • Following closely behind cars

Even something as simple as turning on the wrong blinker or driving without lights when it is dark could be a sign that someone on the road has been drinking. Of course, not every driver who misuses their turn signals has a high level of alcohol in their system. Instead, everyone on the road should be cautious of the driver who continuously exhibits these potentially dangerous behaviors.

Slow Reactions

drunk driver hanging arm out window with beer bottleAlcohol can also reduce a person’s reaction time and muscle coordination, which is a major cause of accidents. However, these slow reactions might be noticeable before they result in a car crash. For example, if a person takes a while to stop or start at a changing traffic light, it could be because of a high blood alcohol concentration. The further over the legal limit a person is, the greater their loss of muscle control is likely to be, which can make these slow reactions even more pronounced.

Overly Cautious Conduct

Some people may overcompensate when they are impaired behind the wheel. This can lead to overly cautious driving. For example, if a car is going more than 10 miles below the speed limit, it could be because the driver has been drinking. Even when driving this slowly, a drunk driver may swerve noticeably or react poorly to surrounding traffic.

Car accidents are a common occurrence in California, and many of these accidents involve a person who has been drinking. It can be beneficial to talk to a knowledgeable attorney if you have suffered significant property damage or personal injury due to a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver.

California DUI Laws

The legal BAC limit for most drivers is 0.08%. For drivers under 21 years old, it's 0.01%, and for commercial drivers, it's 0.04%. Exceeding these limits can result in a DUI charge. Penalties for a DUI conviction can vary based on factors like prior DUI offenses, BAC level, and whether there was an accident or injury. They can include fines, license suspension, mandatory DUI school, probation, community service, and jail time.

Additionally, driving under the influence is considered negligence per se in California. This means that if a driver violates DUI laws and causes an accident, it's automatically considered evidence of negligence. The intoxicated driver is typically presumed to have breached their duty of care to others on the road.

How Are Drunk Driving Accident Claims Different from DUI Cases?

Like every other state, California has laws prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired, intoxicated, or “under the influence” of alcohol and/or drugs (legal or illicit). Those convicted of violating these laws face harsh criminal and administrative penalties, from jail and/or prison time to driver’s license revocation to thousands of dollars in fines. The purpose of these penalties is twofold: first, to punish the individual for driving under the influence, and second, to deter them and others from driving drunk in the future.

However, these penalties do little—if anything—to help the victims of drunk drivers, those who are injured or lose loved ones in these types of accidents. Often, these victims face considerable physical, emotional, and financial challenges as a result of the accident, including life-altering disabilities, significant trauma, exorbitant medical bills, and months or even years of lost wages. The purpose of filing a drunk driving accident claim is to recover compensation for these and other related losses.

Drunk driving accident claims are civil cases, entirely separate from criminal driving under the influence (DUI) proceedings. Although the outcome of a DUI case does not necessarily affect the outcome of your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, a DUI conviction can serve as valuable evidence in your case. If the driver is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol (or drugs), this can be used to establish their negligence, and therefore their liability for your damages.

Dram Shop Laws in California

In California, establishments like bars, restaurants, or liquor stores are not typically held liable for injuries caused by their patrons who have consumed alcohol, except in specific circumstances. For instance, if an establishment serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or a minor, and that individual causes harm or injury to others, the establishment might be held partially liable for the damages.

Proving liability against an establishment under dram shop laws can be challenging and generally requires demonstrating that the establishment knowingly served alcohol to someone who was already visibly intoxicated or underage.

Additionally, California has laws that hold individuals accountable for providing alcohol to guests or individuals at their private events or residences, known as social host liability laws. Therefore, if a host provides alcohol to a minor who then causes injury or harm to themselves or others, the host can be held legally responsible for the consequences.

When hosting a social event, providing alcohol to adults generally doesn’t incur liability if those adults cause harm to themselves or others after leaving the host’s premises. However, there might be exceptions if the host knowingly serves alcohol to someone who is already visibly intoxicated.

What Is Included in an Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Depending on the specific details of your case, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses, including future care costs
  • Lost income/wages (past and future)
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • In-home assistance and care
  • Miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses

In some cases, it might be possible to pursue punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim for specific losses but rather to punish the defendant for egregious negligence, willful misconduct, or wrongdoing.

Proving Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident

Proving liability in a drunk driving accident in California involves gathering evidence and establishing the elements of negligence. Here are steps to help prove liability:

  • Police Reports: The police report from the accident scene can be crucial. It often contains details about the drivers involved, observations of impairment, any field sobriety tests conducted, and the officer’s opinion regarding intoxication.
  • Witness Statements: Eyewitnesses can provide valuable testimony. Their accounts of the accident, the behavior of the drivers involved, and any observations of intoxication can strengthen the case.
  • Chemical Tests: Results from blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests conducted on the driver at the scene or later can be critical evidence. If the driver’s BAC exceeded the legal limit (0.08%), it significantly supports the claim of impairment.
  • Accident Reconstruction: An expert analysis of the accident scene, including skid marks, vehicle positions, and damage, can help recreate the sequence of events. This reconstruction can provide evidence supporting the claim of the impaired driver’s responsibility.
  • Medical Records: If there were injuries sustained in the accident, medical records detailing the injuries, treatments, and their relation to the accident can be used as evidence.
  • 6. Admissions or Statements: Any admission of guilt or statements made by the impaired driver, either at the accident scene or later, acknowledging their intoxication or responsibility, can serve as evidence.
  • Surveillance Footage or Dashcams: If available, footage from surveillance cameras or dashcams from other vehicles can provide visual evidence of the accident and the behavior of the drivers involved.
  • 8Expert Testimony: Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals, can provide professional opinions supporting the claim of impairment and the consequences of the accident.

In California, establishing liability in a drunk driving accident generally involves proving negligence, which includes demonstrating that the impaired driver breached their duty of care by driving under the influence, directly causing the accident and resulting damages. Collecting strong evidence and having legal representation to navigate the complexities of the legal process are crucial to proving liability in such cases.

Were You Injured by an Irresponsible Driver?

If you suffered catastrophic injuries, or if someone you love died due to an accident caused by a drunk driver, Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation can help. While nothing can undo the devastating experience you have been through, a successful personal injury claim can allow you to recover the compensation you need to heal.

When you choose our law firm, our Los Angeles drunk driving accident lawyer will not only consider your current injuries and damages. Our principal attorney, Scott J. Corwin, will also consider the potential impact of the accident on your employment opportunities, as well as your need for future surgeries or medical care. Our primary objective is to obtain the money and medical assistance you need to move forward with life to the fullest extent possible.

Get the Dedicated Representation You Need

To learn more about your legal rights and options after an alcohol-involved car crash in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Ventura, or Santa Barbara County or anywhere else in Southern California, schedule a free initial consultation with our team. You only pay attorney fees if we win your case. All personal injury and wrongful death cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. That means we only earn a fee if we get you results.

Call Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, toll-free at (310) 683-2300 or contact us online to speak with a drunk driving accident lawyer in Los Angeles.

Car Accident-Related Case results

Over $175 Million Recovered on Behalf of Our Clients
  • Car Accident $1,250,000

    Driver injured in collision with vehicle that crossed over into his lane.

  • Car Accident $1,000,000

    Rear-end collision exacerbates pre-existing back condition.

  • Car Accident $1,000,000

    Driver injured in nighttime collision with overturned big rig on highway.

  • Car Accident Injury $850,000

    Eight-year-old boy struck and killed by vehicle while crossing busy thoroughfare.

  • Brain Injury $780,000 Settlement

    Stopped vehicle rear-ended by pickup.

  • Car Accident $410,000 Settlement

    Driver injured when broadsided by left-turning vehicle.

  • Car Accident $350,000 Settlement

    Consecutive accidents injure motorist’s lower back.

  • Car Accident $331,705 Settlement

    Driver suffers lumbar sprains following rear-end collision.

  • Car Accident $310,000 Settlement

    Driver injured in collision when vehicle enters his lane.

  • Car Accident $303,750 Settlement

    Driver suffers injuries in rear-ender.

  • Car Accident $300,000 Settlement

    Driver and two passengers injured in rear-end collision.

  • Car Accident $300,000 Settlement

    Driver rear-ended after stopping for traffic.

  • Car Accident $280,000 Settlement

    Driver rear-ended on I-5 while on the job.

  • Car Accident $260,000 Settlement

    Passenger injured when struck by vehicle.

  • Car Accident $260,000 Settlement

    Driver injured in collision with vehicle exiting alley.

  • Car Accident $255,000 Settlement

    Driver rear-ended while stopped in traffic.

  • Car Accident $250,000 Settlement

    Aspiring model injured in vehicle collision.

  • Car Accident $250,000 Settlement

    Driver sustains injuries in rear-ender after slowing to enter driveway.

  • Car Accident $250,000 Settlement

    Driver sustains injuries in collision with left-turning vehicle.

  • Car Accident $250,000 Settlement

    Driver’s pre-existing back injury aggravated in rear-end collision.

  • Car Accident $250,000 Settlement

    Driver allegedly runs red light, causing collision

What Sets Us Apart

Quality Legal Representation Your Case Needs
  • Fast, Favorable Resolutions

    At Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, we understand the importance of securing a favorable outcome in your case, fast. More than 95 percent of our clients’ cases settle within 5 to 9 months, and our clients are very satisfied with the results (see our client reviews!). We only file lawsuits when absolutely necessary, such as in cases where the defendant disputes liability or refuses to pay for the full extent of our client’s damages.

  • Renowned Reputation

    With more than 30 years in practice and over $175 million recovered for his clients, Scott is known for his aggressive approach to litigation. Some of his accolades include:

    • Inclusion in the Southern California Super Lawyers® list since 2007, a distinction reserved for only the top 5 percent of all personal injury lawyers in the region
    • Named a “Top 100 Super Lawyer”
    • Named a Top 25 Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association since 2010
    • Maintains a 10.0 Superb rating on Avvo

  • Personal Attention

    At Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, we believe in developing strong attorney-client relationships built on honesty, trust, and communication. As a client, you will always receive direct, personal attention from Scott; your case will never be passed off to an associate or paralegal. Instead, you can always rely on dedicated representation from a highly experienced and award-winning attorney who is ready to fight for you.

  • Zero Upfront Fees

    Our firm offers all personal injury and wrongful death legal services on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay any upfront or out-of-pocket fees or expenses. Instead, we only get paid if and when we recover compensation for you. In the unlikely event that we do not win your case, you do not pay a dime. We also offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose in reaching out to our team today. Contact our firm 24/7 and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

Client Reviews

Here What People Have to Say About Scott
  • Needed help with a 4-car collision. He took care of everything on his end.

    - Earon Bagunu
  • I am not one to write reviews but after an unfortunate car accident, I am so glad I called Scott Corwin.

    - Catherine Lenke
  • A month ago, I was involved in a car crash and broke my right wrist. The process with this attorney was pretty fast. Scott was able to help me and also Julie was always super nice and very professional. I’m very glad everything was easy and fast.

    - Sabrina Guna
  • Scott got the personal injury settlement amount I expected to get (actually a few percent more). He was quiet and efficient, not a time-waster. Perfect fit for a working person.

    - Carl Hoppe
  • Thanks again Scott and Staff for your great work. My family and I are fortunate to have you all by our side in times of need.

    - Maria Mejia
Client Testimonials


Our Awards & Recognitions In The Legal Community

  • NTLA Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers
    NTLA Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers
  • NTLA Top 25 Brain Injury Trial Lawyers
    NTLA Top 25 Brain Injury Trial Lawyers
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers
    Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
    Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Super Lawers
    Super Lawers
  • Avvo 10.0
    Avvo 10.0
  • American Association for Justice
    American Association for Justice
  • Litigator Awards
    Litigator Awards
  • Consumer Lawyer of Los Angeles
    Consumer Lawyer of Los Angeles
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
    Consumer Attorneys of California
  • BBB A+
    BBB A+
  • Brian Injury Association
    Brian Injury Association

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