Hakim Injury Law: Fatal-Alcohol

Fatal Alcohol-Related Wreck in Gramercy Park

March 29, 2024

Authorities charged an allegedly drunk woman with murder after she blew through a red light and smashed into a Malibu. She was booked into jail and held on a $2 million bond.

The incident was reported shortly before midnight at the intersection of South Western Avenue and West Century Boulevard. According to police, a 26-year-old Hawthorne woman was traveling southbound Western at a high rate of speed when she ran a red light and her Tesla struck a silver Chevrolet Malibu that was headed eastbound. The force of the impact propelled the Malibu several yards from the impact point and killed the driver almost instantly.

Family members at the scene praised the 28-year-old victim as a wonderful man who was the father of a young child.

Alcohol Impairment and Car Crashes

Legally, intoxication is the complete loss of mental or physical functions due to alcohol or drug use. Impairment, which is illegal in some states but not California, is the substantial loss of mental or physical functions due to alcohol or drug use. Impairment may not be illegal in criminal court but illegal in civil court.

Alcohol and drug use violates the duty of care. This legal responsibility includes being at your best, mentally, physically, and otherwise before you get behind the wheel. Evidence of impairment in a car crash includes:

  • Tortfeasor’s negligent driver’s departure point (i.e. did s/he come from a bar, party, or other places where alcohol was served),
  • Tortfeasor’s physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes and odor of alcohol.
  • Erratic driving before the wreck, and
  • Tortfeasor’s statements about alcohol use.

If an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles proves, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that the tortfeasor was impaired, s/he could be liable for damages.

These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Alcohol Intoxication and Car Crashes

The legal landscape differs in civil court if the tortfeasor is charged with DUI. The negligence per se shortcut usually applies in these cases. Tortfeasors are liable for damages as a matter of law if:

  • They violate safety laws, and
  • Their violations substantially cause injuries.

This shortcut not only makes the case easier to prove at trial. It also accelerates the settlement process. Since insurance companies usually cannot dispute liability (legal responsibility), they cannot ignore this issue.

Negligence per se usually applies even if the tortfeasor “beats” the case in criminal court. For purposes of an accident claim, an arrest is basically the same thing as a conviction.

We should distinguish between a substantial cause and a contributing cause. This difference comes up in negligence per se claims and environmental negligence claims (e.g., wet roads caused a wreck).

For example, several factors like militarism and alliances contributed to the buildup of World War I. However, it was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that substantially caused the war’s outbreak.

How Can A California Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

To a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, the substantial cause is basically all that counts. Impaired or intoxicated motorists often cause serious injuries. If you or a loved one was involved in a fatal car or bus accident, you can consult with an experienced car accident injury lawyers California. Contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim Today! We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

Photo by Midjourney


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