"DURA LEX, SED LEX"

If im in an accident, and want money, will my driver get sewed?

QUESTION: i was in a car accident with my sister, she was drunk and crashed into a light pole, she got a dui, she went to jail that night, my parents took her out with bail bonds... since the accident i had gotten a lawyer, so now she says that she is getting phone calls and letters, that there is a lawsuit against her, i asked my lawyer, he said the only thing that will affect her, is her insurance going up. but she has been talking to the insurance and they say if that law suit goes through, she will have to pay the hospital, ambulance bills, and that i will have to pay my own also! cause the insurance did not know about her being drunk, and now they are going to investigate..

ANSWER: In California, Your sister is liable for your injuries. If the insurance carrier who insures her fails to pay for your medical bills, you have the right to file a lawsuit against her for your recovery. If you have a personal injury attorney working the case, he'll likely go after the insurance company first to get them to pay. If they won't, which they likely will, you'll have the opportunity to sue your sister, but that is your decision. Her insurance company will eventually know about her being drunk. First thing her insurance company will do is order up the police report in the case and it will likely cite she was intoxicated, therefore, they'll find out about the DUI regardless if your attorney tells her or not. If your sister resides in California and she needs an experienced DUI attorney to defend her, call 877-717-2889 for a free consultation. Disclaimer Information on this site is strictly for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice for any individual case or legal situation nor does this site create an attorney client relationship.

 

Penalty codes for car accident that lead to death, and a DUI in California?

QUESTION: I have a relative, that 4 years ago was in a bad car accident. She survived along with her passenger, but the other car with one person unfortunately died instantly. My relative was driving a work vehicle with a co-worker early in the morning on their way to work. She doesn't remember what happened. She doesn't know if the accident was truly her fault, or if the other driver crossed over the 2 lane road. She believes she fell asleep behind the wheel. There is NO alcohol or drugs involved. Just a terrible accident. Her company paid the family and she's tried to live her life, not very well because she knows that somebody died. Four years later, she got a DUI. She got a DUI because of her tags. When she went to court for her DUI, they realized there's an open case from 4 years ago. The accident was in a different city than the DUI, but they are going to try them together in the city where her accident was at. What penalties is she looking at? What can happen to her? She doesn't have a good attorney that she can afford.

ANSWER: Wow - she REALLY needs a good attorney here. First of all, it is completely inappropriate to join these two trials. The latter DUI creates an impression about the first accident that is highly prejudicial, and the trials should be severed. She needs a lawyer to do this. Did they take a blood alcohol at the first accident? I presume so... I wish your friend the best of luck, but she NEEDS an attorney. Ed: What are the charges? The first thing that comes to mind is the statute of limitations for the 4-year-old charge. After that, the trials must be severed. After that, evidence that she had not been drinking in 2006... Ed2: If she can't afford a good lawyer and must go to trial, she might want to consider pleading guilty to the DUI *** before *** the other trial starts. That way no juror will associate the DUI with the death (and any such introduction would be irrelevant to the charges related to the death).

 

My friend lost an eye in an auto accident. Can she sue?

QUESTION: My friend was hit by a drunk driver in California. Her airbag deployed causing her to lose vision in her left eye. If was a low speed accident. The car was an older model. It was a 1997 Toyota. I do not know the exact model. She is a Mexican citizen visiting California legally. She is 26 years old. A really beautiful girl. She hired a lawyer, but the lawyer just took a fee and made sure that the insurance of the person driving the other car paid for my friend's medical bills. But she is still blind in her left eye. Completely. I have recommended that she sue the insurance company and the girl who was driving the other car. The other driver comes from an affluent family. She was intoxicated. My friend did not know what to do. Really, and now she is blind and works in an office here in Mexico. She received no compensation for damages. Nothing. It was in Orange County, California. What can she do?

ANSWER: YES! The at fault driver is responsible for her injuries and a loss of vision could severely effect a person's future earnings, so she is entitled to be put back in the position she was in before the accident. The at fault driver should be held responsible for the medical bills to repair her eye or compensation for her injury and lost future possible earnings. Did she sign a document waiving her rights away already? See a GOOD lawyer before signing anything. whale

 

Can someone sue me for a car accident if they have no license?

QUESTION: I was involved in a car accident last week. I went through an intersection on green (he says he had green), and I clipped the back of his car as he was turning. The other driver had been drinking, and has no valid license. He tried to intimidate me, so I did not call the police until after I got home. (He called a half dozen of his friends to the scene, and when I tried to use the phone he got upset.) The insurance company said that it's a "his word vs. your word" situation, and that his insurance company will not pay out. Which is fine, I understand that there is no way to make sure what I am saying is the truth or if I am just remembering wrong. My question is this: He has been calling me (4 times in 2 days) saying, "you know what you did, why did you call the cops" or "why did you tell them I had the red" or "I'm going to sue you because you lied". I recalled everything to the insurance company to the best of my memory, but what could happen if he decides to sue me. I talked to someone at the insurance company, and she said that he was upset because I had told his insurance that he had no license and stated he was drunk, but can he sue me in this situation? I mostly just want the calls to stop, and things to just move on so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

ANSWER: Your insurance company is supposed to handle this, including communication with the other driver; that's why you pay those premiums. He doesn't want you to file a claim against him, since an unlicensed driver involved in an accident faces pretty severe charges--it's a felony in some states. You could contact a personal injury attorney (what my friend calls "sleazy lawyer"). They specialize in going after people for settlements. The trade off is that they take a huge amount of the settlement, but if you just want it to go away, I'd recommend that route. If you're being threatened, contact the police.

 

Who is at fault in car accident?

QUESTION: This weekend I was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver. I was stopped in the intersection at a green light waiting for traffic to clear to make a left turn. The light started to change; once yellow, the car opposite me at intersection started to slow, far enough back that I was confident in making the turn. Just as I start to go, he accelerates into the intersection. I slam on the brakes but he hits me, pushing my car back about ten feet (clearly he did not brake at all). The damage to both vehicles is front driver side, meaning he is the one who made the impact. He was cited for DUI and says the light was green. The insurance company says I am 85% at fault because I was making a left turn. But the light was not green, and I was already in the intersection. Am I really at fault? Is it possible to contest this once they've already made a decision? If not, is it worth it to sue him even with no witnesses? Thank you! ):

ANSWER: First off, how does your insurance know you are at fault unless the police report has already been filed? Usually that takes at least a week to happen. I don't know how it works in your state, but in California, you can add a written statement to the police report to supplement your verbal statement. By the way, it is VERY important that you get a copy of your police report to see if there are any inaccuracies or mistakes in it. Another thing you will want to do is take pictures of your car (and the other car if you can) - take a LOT of them from every side and even inside because you might need them if the other driver decides to sue YOU!! (I know, crazy but it happens.) Also go out to where the accident happened and take a BUNCH of photographs of the area and any evidence that you can still see. Do it while the marks are still fresh because they disappear very fast. It is very curious that the police report has you at fault despite the other driver being DUI. I would look into this because this is very unusual. Yes, you can contest the insurance company's decision. In fact you can sue them if you can prove that your claim is legitimate and they refused to settle. Something else you need to do is go out to the intersection with a stopwatch and time how long the yellow light lasts. Take several measurements and take an average. There is a formula for the time that the yellow should last that depends upon the posted speed limit. You can find out what that number is if you search for the MUTCD on the web and look at the chapter on traffic signals. And your ins. company is lying to you when they say you are at fault because you were turning left. That is a total C R O C K and it has nothing to do with fault. Why isn't he at fault since he ran the red light??? I think you might be getting screwed by your insurance adjuster. You have the right to complete your turn once you are legally established in the intersection. That is in the vehicle code of every state. Look it up. If it turns out that the drunk decides to sue you, GET AN ATTORNEY RIGHT AWAY. you will be happy that you took the photos and timed the signal and give that data to your lawyer. You will probably be able to counter-sue him for being the drunk, and if the timing of the light is substandard, you can get some compensation from the city or county or whoever controls the signal.

 

How to handle medical bills after a death?

QUESTION: a friend of mine (19) recently became widowed. her husband was 21. they had no medical insurance, no life insurance plans, and now have gotten the medical bills... 57,000. he was in an accident involving a drunk driver and was in the hospital for hours before he died... the funeral costs were about 7,000. she has set up a fund-raiser account through a bank in her name, but donations are scarce... basically im just wondering if anyone has been through anything similar. is there any way to reduce bills, are there grants out there, who can she talk to in a community to help her raise this astronomical amount? she lives in california, will soon be moving to the bay area, so any site-specific help would be great too. ive advised her to ask for an itemized bill from the hospital, to dispute costs that are just ridiculous. other than that, i dont know what to do.. thank you in advance to all answers... and all those who read all this. it probably sounds like spam at first.. thanks!

ANSWER: If another driver was responsible for the accident, she should verify whether there is any potential for payment by that person's auto insurance company. She may need to get an attorney and take the other driver and/or his insurance company to court. (You didn't specify whether the drunk driver was another person, or whether your friend's husband was the one behind the wheel. I'm answering under the assumption that someone other than your friend or her husband was responsible for the accident, and therefore should have some financial liability for the medical bills.) The $57K amount may not be as far off as you think, if there were multiple trauma surgeons taking extraordinary measures to try to save his life. It couldn't hurt to have someone review an itemized bill, of course...just in case. Sorry for your friend's loss.

 

What can I do after a car accident?

QUESTION: Hey, guys. I just got out of a really bad car accident recently. It happened on October 29th, 2007 @ 12:01AM. Here's what happened: I was driving down highway 101 Northbound in San Jose, CA. My girlfriend's birthday is on the 29th and I had a present for her in the trunk. She's been babbling about how she had a bad day and she wanted to see what I got her. So, it can make her feel better. I told her to wait till it's 12. Okay, so it hits 12. I'm on the highway and I pull over to the right hand shoulder of the highway. I put the car in park, turned off the car, and then turned on the emergency lights. I get out of my car and headed to my trunk. I opened the trunk and grabbed the present. I noticed the tag was still on so I tried pulling it off. As I tried pulling it off, BAAAAAMMMM. A white '01-'04 Chevy Silverado hit me and my car. His outside rearview mirrors hit me while his car smashed the left brake light into the car's cabin. He was going about freeway speed. This happened so fast that I didn't know I was hurt. I was screaming and yelling. My girlfriend was in the car with her seatbelt on still. The Chevy was about 15 yards from my car. It was totally banged up. I ran after the Chevy. I cursed a few words at him. Saying, "What the ****** is wrong with you?!" He opened his door... I saw three Mexican males in their late 30's or early 40's. And a dog. THEY WERE TOTALLY DRUNK. He stepped out of his vehicle all stumbling. At this time, a few people pulled over but one actually got out of his vehicle to help. He called 911. I ran back to my car to check if my girlfriend was okay. She was crying and I felt so bad. Her neck was hurting from the whiplash that she got. As I was comforting her, the Mexican male got back in his vehicle and attempted to drive off. His vehicle's airbag was deployed and his front right tire was blown. I couldn't believe all this was happening. I have to admit, I was crying myself. I was so shocked that this happened to me. So, the three Mexicans drove off to the exit. (They actually made it off the highway!) Two California Highway Patrols rolled up. I told one patrol to pursue a white Chevy Silverado with a blown front right tire. And so he did. The other patrol got out of his car and calmed me down. He told me that the paramedics are coming. I explained to him everything that happened. Paramedics showed up and they put me and my girlfriend in the ambulance. We headed straight to the ER. I was cut really bad in my right wrist where you can see my flesh. My left shoulder felt like it was broken. My girlfriend was in the stretcher and she was crying. We finally reached the ER like in about one minute. Then, we were kinda calm but still in shock. They patched me up and did some X-Rays with my girl. CHP showed up to the ER. They told me they caught the driver. One officer told me he was laying right next to me! But I didn't know because of the curtains. They gave him the alcohol test. HE WAS THREE TIMES OVER THE LEGAL LIMIT. He is being charged for hit & run and DUI and some other stuff. The other two guys weren't found. I am assuming the driver dropped them off somewhere. In the end, it was the scariest moment of my life. If it hadn't been the tags on the present, I wouldn't be alive right now. Anyways, what are your suggestions on what I should do. Because I am really confused. My friends are telling me I can get lots of $$$ out of this. But, right now, I don't really care about that. All I care about that me and my girl are okay. And, that's it. But, yeah. I know I've said it before. IT WAS THE SCARIEST MOMENT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I've literally had nightmares ever since it happened. I am more grateful about my life now. This incident goes to show, LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE YOUR GONNA DIE TOMORROW.... I am literally crying typing all of this. I was so close to dying. I know I shouldn't be saying that but I was so scared.

ANSWER: I'm sorry for your accident. I was hit by a drunk driver once too but I was so much in shock that I didn't even call the cops on his ***. I feel bad about that to this day but I was just too much in shock and I had no where to turn for help. I'm worried that your lawyer is "handling all this". You should NEVER let a lawyer handle everything without your complete supervision of all the decisions he or she is making on your behalf. I'm sorry to say this, but too many of them are simply untrustworthy. Did this lawyer come to you while you were in the hospital? Is he what they call an "ambulance chaser"? If he is then be worried about him. Lawyers can help you, but they can make your problems BIGGER and more miserable too. Talk to your insurance company. Talk to them first. Farmers Ins. will probably eventually call you to offer you and your GF a settlement. This may take a while and frankly, most good doctors and good insurance people will advise you to wait a YEAR to settle so you can see how your injuries heal. Once you settle, you can't go back and ask for more money, so they want you to wait a year to make sure you have healed completely. My advice----talk to your insurance company as well as your lawyer and call a couple of other personal injury lawyers to get their opinion about how much you may be able to get. Never go with the advice of only one attorney. 9 times out of 10 the driver's insurance company doesn't want to go to court and fight it out with you so they will offer you a settlement. Your lawyer will get at least 33% of this amount, maybe more.

 

Why does a victim receive the money from punitive damages?

QUESTION: What I understand If some one kills my family, I do not get to throw the switch. If you steal $200 from me and I get $100 in fees from bounced checks, I cam only sue for my losses, $300. I even understand if you hit me with your car I get my hospital bills paid as well as something for pain and suffering, If a company deliberately screws me over they must be punished, and nothing hurt a company like big losses of money What I do not understand Why does a victim receive the money from punitive damages, why is a at work accident my big pay day? Why canu2019t the money go to victims assistance, or health care, or whatever. Just not to the lawyers. If there was no big money to tempt baseless lawsuits, would lawyers even bother to sue?

ANSWER: In California, punitive damages are rarely awarded by juries. And defendants balk at including any discussion of punitive damage pretrial settlement negotiations. Frankly, punitive damages isn't the "leverage" or "temptation" for attorneys, at least in California. In California, in order to get punitive you need to show Malice, Oppression, or fraud. Civil Code u00a7 3294. Not easy in a typical San Francisco personal injury car accident case. You would need a drunk driver type situation. While very debatable, Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) on Punitive damages 3492 states the following explanation for punitive damages; u201cYou must now decide the amount, if any, that you should award[name of plaintiff] in punitive damages. The purposes of punitive damages are to punish a wrongdoer for the conduct that harmed the plaintiff and to discourage similar conduct in the future. There is no fixed formula for determining the amount of punitive damages, and you are not required to award any punitive damages. If you decide to award punitive damages, you should consider all of the following factors in determining the amountu201d Furthermore, recent US Supreme Court case law limits the ration of punitive damages to compensatory damages. See STATE FARM MUT. AUTOMOBILE INS. CO.V. CAMPBELL (01-1289) 538 U.S. 408 (2003) Some of the points you are making seem to suggest you would be in favor of a no-fault type compensation system.

 

Got smashed and drove home , next thing I know I'm waking up in my car on side of road with 2 cops standing there. She took me home no DUI?

QUESTION: Don't remember if keys were in ignition or not but would that really even make a difference ? I was in drivers seat so drove there obviously and could of drove away whenever . they seen I was drunk but didn't even ask for license that I remember just to step out. No tests. She said it was my lucky day ? How is it I didn't get a DUI ???

ANSWER: In California, all the District Attorney has to prove is a reasonable inference of driving. Facts that would support such a conclusion would include but are not limited to warm hood, admitting driving, admitting coming from another location, admitting drinking before at scene. To Argue with the above "Nick Gillotti" answer, lets say you get in to a solo car accident and take your keys out of the ignition and begin to walk home. Lets say you get home, go to sleep hoping to deal with it all tomorrow. Cops come knocking. Do you think you can't be charge with a DUI? - Because I've got several cases that say differently. This is an example of a reasonable inference of driving. In addition, the cops may still site you for a DUI via mail. In California, they have up to one year from the day of the occurrence to prosecute you for a Misd. DUI.

 

How can I find out if the other party in a car accident had auto insurance?

QUESTION: My 19 year old daughter was hit by a drunk driver on Christmas night. Both her and the drunk had to be cut out of the vehicles and transported immediately for medical attention. My daughter had her insurance information in the glove box, yet on the police report, the insurance section for both her and the drunk read "unknown". Presumably due to the nature of the accident, no one really checked in the glove boxes. My daughter's insurance company is not helping due to the fact that she only had liability insurance and they've told us that only full coverage patrons may request additional information on the other driver. We have obtained an attorney and they are going through the process, which feels like it's taking forever. It's been almost 3 weeks and no one has tried to contact us at all. I think my worst fears are going to be confirmed that this gal is uninsured. Is there any way I can get insurance information using the VIN and/or license plate number?

ANSWER: contact the police dept. involved and see if they can help. if they give ya a hard time contct the chief and ask him why they're not doing their job. if this dont work, contact the mayor or go to the news outlets, radio, tv, newspaper. and when its all done change companies. I'm in NY and the state has funds for people that are hit by uninsured motorists. you may also want to keep up with the other drivers court case, to make sure he does his time. small claims is the easiest court to go to, but it has monetary limits. depending on you and ya daughters sitch. you may want to check his assets and go after them.