Was almost hit by a drunk motorcyclist in Los Angeles and there's property damage involved. What rights do I have?
While I was walking down Main Street in Los Angeles last Friday night, a motorcyclist swerved onto the sidewalk. I jumped out of the way, but the motorcyclist hit a lamp post. He tried to speed off but fell down a few meters away. Several witnesses, including a bartender from the nearby pub, said the guy was drinking heavily before getting on his bike. The bike has damages, and so does the lamp post.
As a pedestrian, I'm not sure about my rights here. Can he be charged with DUI even if he didn't hit me? If the city fines him for the property damage, can I also sue for emotional distress or something similar? What kind of lawyer should I look for? I've heard legal fees can be high - how much can I expect to spend?
From your description, it sounds like you were placed in a dangerous situation due to the negligence of a potentially intoxicated motorcyclist. In California, pedestrians have specific rights, especially when involved in incidents with motor vehicles.
Relevant Legal Provisions:
- California Vehicle Code §23152: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
- California Vehicle Code §21950: Rights and Duties of Pedestrians at Crosswalks
- California State Official Website
Potential Legal Solutions:
Given your situation, it might be possible to press charges against the motorcyclist for endangering a pedestrian, even if you were not physically harmed. The damage to public property (the lamp post) might also make the motorcyclist liable. For your emotional distress, consulting with a personal injury lawyer could provide clarity. It may also be beneficial to compare lawyers in your area to find someone who fits your needs and budget.
Legal Fees in Los Angeles:
|Legal Service||Average Cost|
|Consultation||$150 - $300/hr|
|Filing a lawsuit||$500 - $1,000|
|Full representation||$2,000 - $10,000+|
|Emotional distress claim||$1,500 - $5,000|
Note: Costs vary widely based on the complexity of the case and the lawyer's experience. Many lawyers in personal injury cases work on a contingency fee basis, which means they take a percentage of any compensation you receive.
To give a more precise answer, we'd need more details. For instance:
- Were there any police on the scene?
- Did you obtain witness statements?
- Were there any security cameras that might have recorded the incident?
Relevant Questions for You:
- Were you physically harmed, even if it was minor?
- The extent of any injury can impact potential claims.
- Did you see the motorcyclist consume alcohol or appear intoxicated before the incident?
- Direct observation strengthens DUI claims.
- Do you have insurance that might cover any therapy or counseling you might need due to the trauma?
- This might affect any compensation you seek.
Q1: Can a motorcyclist be charged with DUI if they didn't cause an injury?
Yes, in California, a person can be charged with a DUI if they're found operating a vehicle (including motorcycles) under the influence, regardless of whether they caused an injury or accident.
Q2: How do I prove emotional distress?
Proving emotional distress usually requires documentation, like therapy records or testimony from a mental health professional about the distress you're experiencing.
Q3: Can I sue for damages to my property if the city is also fining the motorcyclist?
Yes, you can pursue a separate civil claim for damages to your property, even if the city imposes a fine for the damage to public property.
Q4: What if the motorcyclist doesn't have insurance?
If the motorcyclist doesn't have insurance, you can still sue them personally. However, collecting the judgment can be more challenging if they don't have the financial means to pay.
Q5: How do I find a good lawyer for my case?
You can find the right lawyer for your case by researching and comparing lawyers in your area, reading reviews, and scheduling consultations.