Devastating Effects Caused by Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the New York State Police, a person is injured every 2 minutes associated with an alcohol-impaired driver. The consequences of a drunk driving accident can have a long-lasting effect on victims and their families. Whether it is a debilitating disability or the loss of a loved one in death, a crash victim’s life is changed forever.
Types of injuries that may result from a drunk driving car accident may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
- Burn injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Organ damage
- Wrongful death
Proving Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
Drunk drivers not only break the law when they decide to get behind the wheel and drive, but they also put other motorists’ lives at risk. However, just because a person was intoxicated does not necessarily prove that he or she caused the accident and your injuries.
If you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver, there are important pieces of evidence needed to prove liability for your injuries. Like other personal injury cases involving negligence, four factors must be established to seek compensation for your injuries.
- Duty of care: The driver owed you a reasonable duty of care to operate his or her vehicle in a safe manner
- Breach: The driver failed to act according to the reasonable standard of care expected
- Causation: The driver’s actions led directly to your injuries
- Damages: As a result of your injuries you suffered monetary damages
What Are New York’s Blood Alcohol Content Limits?
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels refer to the percent of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. Drivers with BAC levels that exceed these limits can be charged and fined with the misdemeanor offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI), but repeat offenders might face felony charges.
New York State sets the following blood alcohol content limits for a person to legally operate a motor vehicle:
- Operating a non-commercial vehicle: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent for drivers over age 21
- Operating a commercial vehicle: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent for drivers over age 21
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, it is crucial that you consult with a drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get a lawyer on board with your case, the sooner he or she can collect the necessary evidence to build a strong case for you.
New York’s Pure Comparative Negligence System
New York follows the pure comparative negligence system, which means there may be multiple at-fault parties involved in an accident. It also means that each party involved in the accident has the opportunity to recover compensation, even if a person shares the majority of the blame. The amount of compensation awarded is determined by the proportion of fault a person is assigned.
Who Takes Financial Responsibility for a New York Drunk Driving Accident?
An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer knows who might be held financially liable for an accident involving an intoxicated driver. If an at-fault party has a policy that only provides limited insurance cover, your attorney can look into seeking compensation from these other parties.
Potentially responsible parties that may be held financially liable for damages might include:
- The at-fault driver: If the at-fault driver has sufficient assets to pay, he or she may be held liable for damages caused by the accident
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company: The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay up to your policy’s limit
- The at-fault driver’s employer: If a drunk driver was working at the time of the crash, the employer may be held financially liable for damages
- Your own insurance company: New York is a no-fault insurance state; if you are injured in an auto accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company for economic losses caused by the crash, regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident
- The drinking establishment that over-served alcohol: If a vendor was found to have sold or served alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated or under the age of 21, they could be held financially responsible
New York Third-Party Liability Claims
Further investigation into the case may reveal that there were other parties involved who contributed to the drunk driving accident. New York State has two specific laws that can hold a third-party liable for a person’s injuries caused by an alcohol-related accident: the New York Dram Shop Act and the Social Host Liability law.
New York Dram Shop Act
A vendor may be held financially responsible for an accident victim’s injuries if they sold or served alcohol to the following groups:
- A visibly intoxicated person
- A person under the legal drinking age of 21
Social Host Liability
A social host can be held liable for damages if it is proven he or she served alcohol to an underage guest who caused injuries to another person.
Our New York drunk driving accident lawyers know how to thoroughly investigate your case to identify all liable parties involved in the crash. If you decide to hire our law firm, we will use our knowledge and resources to get you the maximum settlement amount available to you.
Recoverable Compensation for a New York Drunk Driving Accident Case
It is only reasonable to want to be compensated for the harm another person has caused you. At Judd Shaw Injury Law, our priority is to get fair compensation for our clients and help them receive the justice they need to get back on track. If you or a family member has suffered due to the negligence of a drunk driver, you may be eligible for both economic and non-economic damages. A drunk driving accident lawyer may also seek punitive damages from the at-fault driver.
Economic damages include losses that can be proven by receipts, estimates, or pay slips:
- Medical costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property loss or damage
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses that have impacted your life, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In New York, non-economic damages are only available for car accident victims who have suffered a serious injury. Since non-economic injuries do not have a price tag attached to them, a jury may decide to calculate an amount based on the severity and duration of the losses. Depending on the severity, the jury may multiply the value of your economic damages by a number between 1.5 and 5 to get a value for non-economic damages.
Punitive damages may be pursued in a drunk driving accident case. These types of damages do not compensate for any losses suffered by the victim. Rather, they are intended to punish and deter a person from engaging in similar conduct in the future. In addition to the economic and non-economic damages, the court may order the at-fault party to pay punitive damages to the victim as punishment for their gross negligence.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Peace of Mind
We pride ourselves on providing high-quality representation for New Jersey and New York residents. The lawyers at Judd Shaw Injury Law have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in settlements for their legal matters.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to the careless actions of a drunk driver, we want to help you. We offer all clients our No Fee Guarantee® – you won’t pay us a thing until we successfully get you money for your claim.
Our legal team is guided by a set of core values that defines each decision we make on behalf of our client. We call it “The Judd Shaw Way.” Throughout every step of the legal process, you can be confident that we will always act with your best interests in mind. We take care of the heavy legal work so that you can focus on your health and family.
Contact us at 1-866-909-6894 and find out how we can help you with your drunk driving accident case today.