Chris Purcell
By: Chris Purcell

Although this year’s Super Bowl match-up between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will be played in Santa Clara – on Sunday, February 7 – law enforcement agencies throughout southern California are nevertheless getting ready for the big game and for one of the biggest drinking days of the year. Driving under the influence dramatically increases every year on Super Bowl Sunday. In 2012, for example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43 percent of the traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday and the next Monday morning were alcohol-related. Across California and throughout the rest of the United States, police agencies will be working aggressively to identify drunk drivers in big cities, small towns, and on the nation’s highways.

Your chances of being pulled over for suspicion of DUI – and your chances of being seriously injured in a crash with an intoxicated driver – rise substantially on Super Bowl Sunday, and especially in southern California. According to research from the Auto Club of Southern California, alcohol-related traffic collisions jump by 60 percent in Los Angeles – compared to other Sundays in January and February – on Super Bowl Sundays. In San Diego, alcohol-related traffic collisions jump by 117 percent – more than double the number for a typical Sunday this time of year.

The matter genuinely could not be more serious. There were 642 alcohol-related fatal crashes in California on the ten Super Bowl Sundays from 2002 through 2011, according to the Auto Club report. If the Super Bowl Sundays had instead been typical Sundays, 276 fewer fatal alcohol-related crashes would have happened. “In other words, 28 more alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes occur annually in California due to drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday.” That’s how Steve Bloch, an Auto Club senior researcher, explained the findings to the Los Angeles Times.

Orange County personal injury attorney


In the state of California alone, more than 172,000 DUI arrests were made in 2012 – more than 470 a day – so whenever you drive or ride along as a passenger on this state’s streets and highways, it’s probable that an intoxicated driver is on the road along with you – but it’s about twice as probable on a Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re driving on the day of the big game, consider these five safety tips:

1. Never let yourself be distracted while behind the wheel. Don’t eat, do not apply make-up, and don’t talk or text on your cell phone. If you need to see a GPS device or a map more closely, pull safely off the road and away from the traffic.

2. Before Super Bowl Sunday, check your lights, windshield wipers, brakes, and tire pressure. You may not drive while impaired, but other drivers certainly will, so you’ll need every safety tool you can get. Don’t forget to wear your seat belt.

3. Always have the full driving picture of what’s happening behind and alongside you as well as in front of you. Try to keep sufficient space between your vehicle and the others so that you can stop or swing away from trouble.

4. If you see “road rage,” do not take any chances. Protect yourself and your passengers. Get away and get out of the way. Some intoxicated drivers can be hostile – or worse. Report dangerous driving or violence to 9-1-1.

5. Don’t drink and drive for any reason or under any circumstances. Call a taxi, a limo, or a ride service, arrange for a designated driver, or find a room or a sofa for the night.

If you are injured by an impaired or distracted driver on the day of the big game – or on any other day of the year – discuss your legal rights and your options promptly with a good personal injury lawyer, and in southern California, contact an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after an accident with injuries. Traffic accident victims injured by intoxicated drivers are entitled under the law to full reimbursement for their medical treatment, lost income, and all other injury-related losses and expenses. You’ll have to prove that you were injured and that the other driver was negligent, and you’ll need the help of a good personal injury attorney, but if your injuries are serious and the other driver failed a DUI test or receives a DUI conviction, your personal injury claim has a good chance of prevailing.

Orange County personal injury attorney


A driver is legally intoxicated in California – and in every other state – if that driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level measures at or above 0.08 percent. When drunk drivers are responsible for injuries, they can face serious criminal charges and penalties, but they can also be held accountable for civil damages. That “double-whammy” is one reason you never want to drive while intoxicated. If you are injured by an intoxicated driver, let a good personal injury lawyer handle the case and negotiate on your behalf. Your personal injury attorney will work out a satisfactory agreement, or if that’s not possible, your lawyer take your case to a jury. If you’re injured by another driver’s negligence in southern California, retain the legal help you need as quickly as possible. An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney will fight aggressively for the personal injury compensation you need and for the justice you deserve. If you are injured by a negligent driver on the day of the Super Bowl – or any other day – here’s what you must do at the accident scene:

1. Seek medical attention first, and also get help for anyone else injured in the collision.

2. Call the police. Be sure you will obtain a copy of their final accident report.

3. You must obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information. If that driver cannot or will not cooperate, ask the police to help you obtain what you need.

4. If there are eyewitnesses, get their names and a way to contact them.

5. Take photos of the vehicle damage, your visible injuries, and the overall accident site.

When a negligent driver injures you, an insurance company may offer you a fast settlement. Don’t accept it. Usually, the amount offered in a fast settlement is far below what the actual value of your personal injury claim will be worth. Moreover, if you accept a quick insurance settlement, you’ll probably also be waiving your right to any legal damages or action in the future. A catastrophic or a disabling injury – such as a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, or an amputation – will require the maximum available compensation, so don’t even speak to an insurance company before discussing your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Orange County personal injury attorney


A good personal injury attorney is an experienced negotiator who will fight – tenaciously and aggressively – on your behalf, and you very likely will not even see a courtroom or a jury or judge. Overwhelmingly, most personal injury claims are resolved by the attorneys and settled outside of the courts. If you have a good claim, however, the decision to act on that claim is still yours to make. Your personal injury attorney can discuss with you the pros and cons of a personal injury lawsuit and how personal injury law may apply in your particular case. If you have a claim and act on it with your attorney’s help, that attorney in some cases will enlist the help of medical experts and accident reconstruction specialists to obtain helpful testimony and insights.

It’s now one of the most festive days on the calendar, but unfortunately for far too many of us, Super Bowl Sundays now bring back unpleasant memories. Even those who star in the big game are not immune from the pain and loss caused by drunk driving on Super Bowl Sundays. In 2013, NFL tight end Delanie Walker played in the Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans while his aunt and uncle, Bryan and Alice Young, watched from the stands. Not long after the game, Walker was told that his aunt and uncle were killed driving home from the game – by an allegedly intoxicated driver. When he’s not on the field – Walker plays now for the Tennessee Titans – he’s active in community DUI education efforts and teaches others about the risks and tragedies of driving under the influence.

Don’t Drink and Drive. That’s the most important driving rule on Super Bowl Sunday and every day of the year. It cannot be said loudly or frequently enough. Of course, if you’re driving – and even if you are personally cautious and sober – there is ultimately no certain way to keep an impaired driver from crashing into your vehicle and injuring you and your passengers. If you are injured by an intoxicated driver – anywhere in the United States – take your case immediately to a good personal injury attorney. Witnesses swiftly forget details. Evidence deteriorates and sometimes disappears, so act at once. If you are injured by a drunk driver on Super Bowl Sunday or any other day, speak as quickly as possible to a good personal injury lawyer, and in southern California, call an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney immediately.

Chris Purcell
By: Chris Purcell

Attorney Chris Purcell is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara College of Law. He exclusively represents the victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Chris was part of the team that won California’s largest-ever wrongful death judgment – a $150 million verdict for a family devastated by a tragic trucking accident. In 2011, he received the Top Gun Award given by the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association.