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Laguna Beach DUI Collision Injures Pedestrian


A 65-year-old woman suffered major injuries in a Laguna Beach automobile accident after she was hit by an SUV whose driver is suspected of operating under the influence. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the injury pedestrian collision occurred on Laguna Canyon Road near the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters. The pedestrian was crossing the roadway with another person, the night of October 15, 2011, when she was struck by the westbound SUV. The woman suffered major trauma and was transported to an area hospital. The driver of the SUV, identified as 65-year-old Sharon Niggemann, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI.

My heart goes out to the victim who was severely injured in this pedestrian accident. I sincerely hope her injuries were not catastrophic and pray that she recovers quickly and completely.

DUI Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 18 were injured due to DUI collisions in Laguna Beach. In Orange County as a whole, 62 fatalities and 1,340 injuries were reported as a result of alcohol-related collisions, during the same year.

California Drunk Driving Laws

Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the SUV was under the influence when he or she struck the pedestrian. Under California law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “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.”

Claim for Compensation

In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, injured victims can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Car accident victims would be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury law firm in OC, California who has had a successful track record of financially pursuing drunk drivers.

A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway caused or contributed to this incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway could also be held liable. Under California Government Code 911.2, any personal injury claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at

Car Accident in Laguna Beach

Do you think that convicted drunk drivers should have to use ignition interlock devices (breathalizers installed in their vehicle) before they start their cars after their first offense?


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