The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on a motorcycle crash that killed a 25-year-old Marine. The victim, Nicholas Kursinskis, was riding through the intersection of Mission Avenue and El Camino Real at about 9:25 p.m. when a Dodge pickup unexpectedly turned in front of him.

Kursinskis collided with the driver’s side of the pickup and was ejected. He was unconscious when paramedics arrived and later died at the hospital from his injuries.

Authorities suspect that the driver of the Dodge, Kennith Allen, 59, was under the influence at the time of the crash. He was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI with serious injuries. That charge has since been upgraded to vehicular manslaughter.

This accident is a tragic reminder that alcohol and driving don’t mix, and all it takes is one careless decision to take an innocent person’s life. Although no amount of compensation can undo the heartbreak of losing a loved one, accident victims and their families have a right to hold the at-fault party accountable and claim compensation for any damages they incurred.

If you were injured or lost a family member in a crash with a drunk driver, contact Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates. Attorneys Jeffrey E. Estes and Alton J. Smith have been representing the injured for nearly 30 years. They have the knowledge, resources, and litigation experience to help you fight for the maximum compensation. Call 855-290-8080 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Drunk Driving Accidents Killed More Than 10,000 People in California Between 2003 and 2012

According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 10,327 people in California lost their lives in alcohol-related accidents between 2003 and 2012. Although the national drunk driving rate is slightly higher than the rate in California, this tragic statistic highlights the fact that driving under the influence is still a major problem on our state’s roads.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, alcohol contributes to about 29 percent of all traffic deaths in California.

Are Punitive Damages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Claims That Involve Drunk Drivers?

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which compensate the plaintiff for objective and subjective losses, punitive damage are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior. Pursuant to California Civil Code Section 3294, a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages if the defendant acted with malice, or the willful and conscious disregard for the safety of others.

Drunk driving would certainly constitute a disregard for the safety other others, so if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover punitive damages by filing a wrongful death claim.

If you would like to discuss your case with an accident lawyer in San Diego, contact Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates. We have recovered more than $150 million for our clients in successful settlements and verdicts. Call 855-290-8080 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in California.