I was hit by a suspected drunk driver at a night crosswalk in Los Angeles. What are my legal rights and obligations?
Last week, on a Friday night in Los Angeles, I was riding my motorcycle, minding my own business. As I approached a crosswalk, I saw a car speeding towards me. Before I could react, the car hit me. From what witnesses told me, they believed the driver had been drinking. There were empty liquor bottles in the car. I suffered a broken leg and my motorcycle is damaged. I'm now worried about medical bills, lost wages, and other unexpected costs.
I've never been in such a situation, and I'm unsure of the next steps. Which type of lawyer should I be looking to hire? How can I compare lawyers in my area to ensure they have the right experience for cases like mine? And what might the potential costs be for hiring a legal professional in Los Angeles?
First, I'm sorry to hear about your accident. Situations like these can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with injuries and damages. In the state of California, being hit by a driver under the influence, especially at a crosswalk, places you in a good position to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. The fact that the accident happened at night doesn't lessen the responsibility of the driver if they are charged with a DUI.
Relevant Laws and Resources
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152: Prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- California Vehicle Code Section 21950: Obligates drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- California's Department of Motor Vehicles: This is the primary source for understanding traffic and vehicle-related laws in California. You might want to start your research here.
Potential Legal Solutions
Considering the details you provided, the best course of action would be:
- Seek immediate medical attention and ensure all your injuries are documented.
- Hire a personal injury lawyer or a DUI & DWI lawyer experienced in such cases in Los Angeles.
- Collect evidence, including any available surveillance footage, witness statements, and police reports.
- Consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. Given the suspected DUI, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.
Expected Legal Fees in Los Angeles
|Legal Service||Average Price|
|Initial Consultation||$150 - $400|
|Case Assessment & Strategy Development||$500 - $1,200|
|Representation in Court||$2,000 - $10,000|
|Out-of-Court Settlement Negotiation||$1,000 - $4,500|
|Post-Trial Proceedings & Appeals||$3,000 - $12,000|
Note: Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Prices may vary depending on the complexity of your case.
Seeking More Details
Before diving deep into legal proceedings, it's essential to gather more information.
Could you provide more clarity on whether there was a police report filed, any witnesses at the scene, or if there are any surveillance cameras nearby?
Ensure you protect your rights. Reach out to a legal professional for comprehensive guidance.
Questions for Consideration:
Were there any visible traffic signals or signs near the crosswalk?
- This can greatly impact the liability factor of the driver.
Did you obtain contact details from any witnesses?
- Witness statements can significantly strengthen your case.
Were you wearing any protective gear or reflective clothing?
- While this doesn't shift blame, it can influence the perception of your precautions.
Q1: If the driver is charged with DUI, does that automatically mean they are at fault?
In most cases, a DUI charge can heavily sway the liability towards the driver, especially if the victim was following traffic rules.
Q2: Can I seek compensation even if my injuries are minor?
Yes, even minor injuries can have long-term implications. You can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses.
Q3: What if the driver doesn't have insurance?
California has uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you have this type of insurance, it may cover your damages.
Q4: Can I settle the matter out of court?
Yes, many cases are settled out of court. A lawyer can help negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Q5: How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury. It's crucial to act promptly.