Injured Passenger Receives $12M in Damages Award for Injuries Suffered in Southern California Drunk Driving Accident

green beerAlcohol and automobiles shouldn’t mix. When they do, bad things, including serious injuries, can happen. When those things do happen, sometimes vehicle accidents and injuries are involved. In those circumstances, it is important to have capable California car accident attorneys on your side to represent your interests and make sure you get everything the law says you deserve in your drunk driving accident case. In one such case (Case No. BC548489, Cal. Super. Ct. March 22, 2017), one man injured in a drunk driving case recently received $12 million from a Los Angeles County jury.

Lance was an employee of a property management company. On St. Patrick’s Day, he took out one of his clients (a board member of a homeowners association that his management firm represented) for drinks. After drinking, the men got back into a car, with Lance driving. While traveling down the Ventura Freeway, Lance struck another vehicle. The resulting crash caused serious injuries to the HOA board member. In fact, doctors nearly had to amputate the passenger’s right arm, which ultimately required 30 surgeries to treat, according to the passenger.

The passenger sued for his injuries. He didn’t just sue Lance, though; he also sued the management company for which Lance worked. In any injury case, it is important to identify all of the plausible avenues for obtaining recovery for your damages and advancing all of them in your litigation in order to give yourself a strong chance of success.

In this plaintiff’s situation, he was able to proceed against Lance’s employer under two different theories of liability. First, the plaintiff argued that the management company was liable under the theory of vicarious liability. Under that theory, the plaintiff had to prove that Lance was acting within the scope of his employment when he crashed and injured the HOA board member. Second, the plaintiff argued that the employer was liable because it was directly negligent in its hiring, supervision, and retention of Lance. The plaintiff based this argument upon Lance’s alleged history of drunk driving. The plaintiff’s case included proof that Lance had racked up a previous DUI while working for the management company, but the employer had failed to take proper action.

The defendant argued that it wasn’t liable because Lance wasn’t acting within the scope of his employment. He and his passenger were just two men out drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. Additionally, the defense argued that the plaintiff was negligent in causing his harm. The defense contended that the plaintiff had a blood-alcohol content in excess of .10 and that this intoxication impaired him.

The jury was persuaded by the plaintiff’s case and issued a ruling finding the management company liable. The jury assessed damages to be in excess of $15 million, including $11.5 million in non-economic damages. Since the jury found the plaintiff to be 20% at fault, the final award to the plaintiff was just over $12 million.

For advice and advocacy in your injury case, talk to the experienced San Mateo drunk driving accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye & Fitting. Our attorneys have been helping injured people pursue their rights and obtain proper compensation for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

California Man Injured in Low-Speed Crash Wins $1M Verdict in ‘Eggshell Plaintiff’ Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Dec. 20, 2016

California Pedestrians Recover $3M From Drunk Driver’s Insurer for Its Failure to Settle Civil Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Aug. 5, 2016