A big concern for someone hit by a drunk driver is the settlement. There is no average settlement for a drunk driving accident. Each person’s situation is unique and their settlement depends on the individual facts of their case.
Did the Driver Have Insurance?
The biggest factor in a hit by drunk driver settlement is the driver’s insurance policy. If they have insurance, the accident victim will first try to settle with their automobile insurance company.
However, the victim can only recover compensation up to the limits of the drunk driver’s policy. If the driver did not have car insurance, the victim can file a claim against their own insurance company under their uninsured motorist policy.
If the victim cannot recover the full amount of their expenses this way, the next option is to file a personal injury claim.
How Do You Estimate Your Damages?
Your personal injury attorney will know best how to estimate the damages you can recover. In California, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are related to actual expenses, such as:
- Past and future medical bills;
- Past and future lost wages; and
- Costs to repair the vehicle or property damages.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are more difficult to figure out. They are compensation for intangible harm such as:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Mental anguish.
Economic damages are tangible and can be determined by simply adding up receipts and invoices. However, an expert might be necessary to determine the amount of future costs.
Non-economic damages are less tangible and have no receipts or invoices from which to extract a dollar amount. The judge or jury generally determines non-economic damages.
In California, punitive damages are also possible in a settlement for a drunk driving accident. Punitive damages are appropriate in cases of especially egregious or willfully negligent conduct. And like other intangible damages, punitive damage award amounts are determined by a judge or jury.
What If I Am Partially at Fault for the Accident?
California follows the law of pure comparative negligence. Under this rule, an injured party’s damages are offset by the percentage of their fault. What does that mean?
The jury determines each party’s percentage of fault for the accident depending on the facts of the matter. The total amount of the plaintiff’s damages are then reduced by that percentage.
For example, in a case where the plaintiff’s total damages are $100,000 and the jury finds that the plaintiff was 20% responsible for the accident, the plaintiff could only recover $80,000.
Call the Wells Call Injury Lawyers for Help with Your Accident Case
Wells Call Injury Lawyers are committed to helping accident victims protect their rights. We are here to help you figure out the next steps, and will take on the burden of dealing with the legal matters so you can focus on recovering.
You can view some of our past case results on our website, as well as testimonials that are written in our clients’ own words. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with one of our expert personal injury attorneys.