Jump To Navigation
Drunk Driving Accidents

Civil Claims for Drunk Driving Accidents

In addition to the criminal charges drunk drivers may face, they also may incur civil penalties for any property damage or personal injury they caused as a result of driving drunk. If you were injured by a drunk driver, call today to learn more about your available legal remedies. An experienced personal injury attorney can explain your options to you.

Common law claims

Under the common law of negligence, victims and their families can bring claims against the drunk driver for damages. To bring a negligence claim, the plaintiff must typically prove:

  • The driver owed a duty to others to operate the car in a safe manner
  • The driver breached the duty
  • The driver's breach caused injury to the plaintiff
  • The plaintiff suffered compensable damages

A drunk driver has the same duty of care as a sober driver. Intoxication is not a defense to failing to act as a reasonable driver would in the same circumstances.

In some jurisdictions, driving drunk alone is considered sufficient to to prove negligence. This means that the very act of driving drunk is enough to prove the driver breached his or her duty to the plaintiff. In these cases, the plaintiff still must prove that the drunk driver's actions are the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries — that is, but for the acts of the drunk driver, the plaintiff would not have been injured.

Statutory claims

Due to the number of people injured and killed every year in drunk driving accidents, state legislatures have passed a number of laws to provide relief to the victims of those accidents. These laws broadly include:

  • Dram shop acts make those who sell alcohol for profit liable for any injuries or damages that result from selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
  • Alcoholic beverage control statutes generally provide that a vendor who sells intoxicating beverages to a minor, intoxicated person or habitual drunk may be liable for any injuries that result.
  • Wrongful death acts provide relief to the families of those killed by drunk drivers. In order for a family member to bring a wrongful death claim, the deceased must have been able to bring the same claim had he or she survived the accident.
  • State tort claims acts these acts apply to state government employees — most often police officers. Only the drunk driver, his or her estate or family may file this type of suit. These claims often concern whether a police officer exercised proper authority or supervision over a drunk driver.
  • Long-arm statutes provide a cause of action for a dram shop violation that occurred in a different state from the resulting accident. For the statute to apply, there must be significant contacts between the vendor of the alcohol and the state where the injury happened. For example, if the bar was ten miles from the state line and regularly advertised in the other state, significant contacts may be found to exist.

Additionally, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) also provides those who were injured by intoxicated military personnel an avenue of relief for their injuries. According to the terms of this federal law, the United States government may be held responsible for the failure to supervise or failure to exercise due care over the actions of military personnel.

Contact a drunk driving accident attorney

To learn more about the potential of your case, call today to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer who can discuss your options for recovery with you.

Copyright © 2012 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Return to Main

New Immediate Representation | Tired of Insurance Hassles | We'll represent you right now | Click Here | Call Now Toll Free 1-800-300-8561

- Free Advice!
- Free Consultations!
- No Out of Pocket Fees!
- Contingency Fees!
- We Get Paid Only if We Win Your Case!

Contact Us
foxyform

Never a fee to speak with an Injury Law Center attorney

Injury Law Center | For Over 25 Years



What Our Clients Say

Client Testimonial:

"I am impressed the way your firm took care of me, and I am pleased with results. "


KW, Satisfied Client, San Jose, California

"Great Settlement, Thank You."
R.H. - Milpitas, CA

"Mr. Bloxham treated me honestly and fairly - Thanks!"
A.T. - Pittsburg, CA

"I was disappointed in a previous attorney. Thanks for handling my sister's case - I appreciate the care that you took with her."
P.O. - Concord, CA

"Good Job, Thank You."
T.E. - Brentwood, CA

"Thanks for fighting for me, Mr. Bloxham. I appreciate your efforts."
B.K. - Concord, CA

"With my serious injuries, I appreciate that you were able to come to my home and get my case started right away - Thanks."
T.K - Walnut Creek, CA

BBB | Better Business Bureau | www.bbb.org

Click here to see our A+ Rating

Injury Law Center Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
  • Injury Law Center - Walnut Creek
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    2099 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite 201
    Walnut Creek, CA 94596

    925-280-4800
    Walnut Creek Law Office

  • Injury Law Center - San Jose
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    2570 N. First Street
    Second Floor
    San Jose, CA 95131

    408-224-3286
    San Jose, CA Law Office

  • Injury Law Center - Fremont-Hayward
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    34716 Alvarado-Niles Road
    Union City, CA 94587

    510-832-1177
    Union City Law Office

  • Injury Law Center - Oakland
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    166 Santa Clara Ave
    Oakland, CA 94610

    510-832-1177
    Oakland Law Office

Disclosure: Photos may not depict cars, places or situations related to clients or cases. Other photos may not depict attorneys or clients of the firm. The photos are intended only as dramatizations. Testimonials or endorsements, or statements regarding the outcome of a case should not be construed as a guarantee or warrantee or prediction regarding the result or outcome of your or anyone’s legal matter. Each case has its own unique facts, and the outcome of each case will differ.

San Jose personal injury attorney Jack Bloxham represents clients in negligence and wrongful death litigation related to motor vehicle accidents of all kinds in the Greater Bay Area of Northern California, including Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Union City, Oakland, San Francisco, Fremont, Hayward, Pittsburg, Richmond, Dublin, Concord, Fairfield, Benicia, Vallejo, Los Gatos, Napa, Pleasanton, Livermore, Antioch, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo.