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Attorney Jared Pursley
Carlsbad Personal Injury LawyerBlogDrunk Driver AccidentDrunk Driver Kills Teenager in Valley Center

Drunk Driver Kills Teenager in Valley Center


Police took a 34-year-old man into custody after he allegedly t-boned a car in an intersection while he was under the influence of alcohol.

According to CHP, a 19-year-old man from Valley Center was driving a white Toyota Camry in the eastbound lane of West Tribal Road, while a 34-year-old man from Ranchita was driving a white Ford Expedition in the southbound lane of Valley Center Road when the two vehicles collided at the intersection.

CHP and paramedics responded to the accident. The 19-year-old driver of the Toyota was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to CHP, the driver of the Ford Expedition was not injured, and was booked into the Vista Detention Facility where he faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence (DUI).

Evidence in Car Crash Claims

The police report is often the most critical piece of evidence in a car crash claim. When wrecks happen in rural areas, like Valley Center, these reports are often unreliable.

Emergency responders in rural areas do the best they can with the tools at their disposal. Frequently, however, these emergency responders have limited experience and limited tools. Therefore, when they survey crash scenes, they often jump to conclusions.

So, if an emergency responder, or insurance investigator for that matter, said you were at fault for a wreck, a Carlsbad drunk driver accident lawyer should review your case anyway, especially since California is a pure comparative fault state. You may still be entitled to compensation.

If the police report is inaccurate, attorneys usually turn to accident reconstruction professionals and/or electronic evidence to fill the gap.

Accident reconstruction engineers analyze tiny bits of evidence and re-create, usually moment by moment, the events leading up to a crash. Such experts usually have much more credibility than the insurance adjusters who typically testify for the defendant.

Electronic evidence could be critical as well. Every vehicle on the road has an Event Data Recorder. The EDR is an onboard computer that measures and stores information like:

  • Engine RPM,
  • Vehicle speed,
  • Brake application, and
  • Steering angle.

A Carlsbad personal injury lawyer puts these pieces of evidence together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Attorneys need special legal and technical tools to tap into EDRs. Lawyers must get around California’s broad vehicle information privacy laws. Furthermore, these gadgets are technically sophisticated. A screwdriver and a laptop isn’t sufficient.

Liability Issues

Whether the tortfeasor was impaired or intoxicated, compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, is usually available.

Impairment is the parietal loss of mental and physical faculties due to alcohol consumption. Evidence of alcohol impairment includes:

  • Erratic driving before the wreck,
  • Previous purchase at a place that sold alcohol,
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes,
  • Previous attendance at a party where alcohol was served, and
  • Statements the tortfeasor made to witnesses.

Individually, these items don’t establish alcohol impairment, or even alcohol consumption. But the burden of proof in a civil claim is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

If the tortfeasor was legally intoxicated, the negligence per se shortcut may apply. Tortfeasors are automatically liable for damages if:

  • They violated a safety law, and
  • That violation substantially caused injury.

Note that a violation, not a conviction, is sufficient. The negligence per se doctrine usually applies even if the tortfeasors “beats” the DUI in criminal court.

Evidence is still critical in negligence per se matters. Usually, there’s a direct relationship between the amount of evidence a victim presents and the amount of damages a jury awards.

Rely On a Dedicated San Diego County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in San Marcos, contact the Pursley Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.



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