Paul Pelosi Charged With DUI Following Wreck In Napa
According to the California Highway Patrol, the 82-year-old husband of House speaker Nancy Pelosi was driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck a Jeep on State Highway 29.
Investigators say that Pelosi, who was eastbound on Walnut Lane, tried to cross the highway. He apparently didn’t see a northbound Jeep, and he hit that vehicle. Pelosi, who showed signs of intoxication, was arrested at the scene.
A spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, who was giving a commencement speech in Rhode Island at the time, said she had no comment.
Liability in Alcohol-Related Wrecks
Normally, jurors hate drunk drivers. Therefore, these cases are very difficult to defend, even if a legal defense might apply. So, a San Jose car accident lawyer can usually obtain substantial compensation in these cases. Victims and survivors need and deserve this compensation.
However, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Even though jurors are eager to punish drunk drivers, victim/plaintiffs must still establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
If emergency responders cited the tortfeasor (negligent driver) for DUI, or a similar drinking and driving infraction, the tortfeasor could be responsible for damages as a matter of law. The negligence per se rule applies if:
- The tortfeasor violated a safety law, and
- That violation substantially caused injury.
The negligence per se doctrine applies even if the tortfeasor “beats” the DUI in criminal court. In civil cases, civil juries determine all the relevant facts, including guilt or innocence of a criminal charge.
Legally, there’s a difference between intoxication and impairment, although these two conditions affect the body and brain in about the same way. Most people are intoxicated, the legal standard for DUI, after three or four drinks. Impairment, on the other hand, begins after the first drink.
If the tortfeasor was impaired but not intoxicated, the ordinary negligence doctrine applies. Evidence of impairment usually includes physical symptoms, like:
- Unsteady balance,
- Slurred speech,
- Bloodshot eyes, and
- Odor of alcohol.
This evidence doesn’t conclusively prove impairment. Many of these physical symptoms only prove alcohol consumption. Additionally, events like car crashes are disorienting in many ways.
However, in a civil case, a San Jose car accident lawyer doesn’t have to conclusively prove anything. The burden of proof is only more likely than not.
We mentioned the available compensation in a car wreck claim above. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Medical bills are usually the largest component of economic damages in a car wreck claim. The average injury-related hospital bill is over $50,000. Property damage is usually a close second. Most newer vehicles cost more than $25,000. Other out-of-pocket losses include lost wages and medical transportation expenses.
Victims need this compensation because, in most cases, group health insurance companies don’t cover injury-related costs. So, victims and survivors could be financially responsible for such charges.
It’s impossible to put a price tag on noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. So, most attorneys multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, depending on the facts of the case and a few other variables. Money doesn’t erase the emotional distress these victims feel, but quite frankly, it helps.
Contact a Dedicated Santa Clara County Attorney
Car crash claims are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Campbell, contact the Solution Now Law Firm. We have offices in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland.