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Woman Injured in Los Angeles County DUI Accident

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A 65-year-old woman in San Gabriel is in serious condition after she was struck the morning of February 20, 2009 by a man who police say was driving under the influence. According to this news report in the Pasadena Star News, the crash occurred on Valley Boulevard near Prospect Avenue. The woman, whose name was not released, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her daughter.

The daughter apparently parked her car on Valley Boulevard legally while her mother got out to mail a letter. As she mailed the letter and was returning to the vehicle, the suspected drunk driver Robert Garcia, rear-ended the daughter’s car, jumped the curb and struck the mother. The injured victim was taken to an area hospital and the daughter was treated for minor injuries. Robert Garcia has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of narcotics.

I’m relieved that this victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries in this accident that was obviously caused by a negligent and irresponsible driver. I wish her the very best for a quick and complete recovery.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – be it recreational or prescription drugs – is a violation of California law. California Vehicle Code section 23152 (a) states: “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” California Highway Patrol 2006 statistics show that out of 748 total auto accident deaths in Los Angeles County, 276 were caused by an impaired driver. These statistics also show that 5,057 people in Los Angeles County were injured in 2006 in DUI accidents.

In this San Gabriel auto accident, there is no question that the driver Robert Garcia must be held civilly and criminally responsible for the accident and injuries caused. But what happens if Garcia lacks insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to compensate the victim? In many cases, this is when the uninsured or underinsured clause in the victim’s own auto insurance policy will kick in. What this means is that if anyone in the victim’s household has an auto insurance policy that covers the policyholder for injuries caused by an uninsured motorist, then the victim could be compensated.

This can only happen if the policyholder has uninsured motorist coverage on their motor vehicle insurance policy. In today’s economic climate especially in California where the number of uninsured drivers is soaring, I highly recommend including uninsured motorist coverage in your policy and coverage of at least $100,000. Including this coverage in your auto insurance is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family in the event you are hit by an uninsured motorist. Most motorists have more liability insurance coverage, which protects the “other motorist” and very little or nothing in terms of uninsured motorist coverage. Liability insurance protects the other driver and uninsured motorist coverage protects you, your family members and the people who live in your household.

The victim would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who will not only pursue the negligent driver, but also work with the insurance companies to make sure that the victim receives fair compensation.

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