These days, everyone is aware of the dangers of drunk driving. It seems like at least once a week we see a news story of a major accident caused by an intoxicated driver. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, almost 29 people are killed in alcohol-impaired accidents every day in the United States. When drunk drivers get behind the wheel, they disregard the safety of themselves and everyone else they’ll share a road with during their drive. When an innocent victim suffers severe injuries or dies in an accident with a drunk driver, it’s important for the victim and their family to get the support they need.
Can Victims Of Drunk Drivers File Lawsuits In New York?
New York is a “no-fault” insurance state – meaning if you get injured in a car accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company for economic losses like medical expenses and lost wages. You’re eligible for this financial compensation regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident.
However, there are certain circumstances which permit you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance company:
- Economic losses over $50,000
- A “serious injury” – including fractures, disfigurement, loss of the use of an organ or limb, etc.
- The loss of a loved one
If you have grounds for a lawsuit, you can pursue financial compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
- Medical bills
- Loss of current and future income
The intoxicated driver’s insurance company will usually handle the payouts for these damages. However, in cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages may be awarded as well, which are paid out of the drunk driver’s own pocket. Punitive damages are common in drunk driving cases, since driving while intoxicated is known by virtually everyone to pose an extreme danger to others.
Are Bars Liable When A Patron Drives Drunk?
In New York, like most other states, stores, bars, and restaurants can be held liable when someone whom they’ve served causes an accident by driving drunk. These businesses have a duty to stop serving alcohol to any “visibly intoxicated person” or anyone they have reason to believe could be under 21 years of age.
Additionally, New York has a “social host” law, under which anyone who provides or assists an underage person with alcohol may be held liable for accidents which occur due to the underage person’s drunken driving.
What If The Drunk Driver Who Hit Me Was Working?
If the person who hit you was working at the time of the accident (such as driving a commercial truck), you could potentially have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against both the individual and their employer. In certain circumstances, employers can be considered negligent for failing to prevent the accident. For example, an employer may have failed to run a proper background check which would have revealed that the driver had a history of DUI offenses.
Should I Talk To A Lawyer?
If you or someone you love has recently suffered severe or even fatal injuries in an accident with a drunk driver, we advise speaking with an experienced New York City auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. The road to recovery may be long and difficult, but with the right support system, you can get your happiness back. Our New York City car accident lawyers are proud to represent the victims of these accidents and help them seek the financial compensation they need.
Since you’ll usually be seeking damages from the other driver’s insurance company, it’s important to find a firm with a track record of success in these claims. The insurance company will have their own lawyers who specialize in finding ways to limit or deny payouts altogether. Our lawyers are prepared to gather evidence and build a strong case on your behalf. In many of these claims, we arrive at a pre-trial settlement without taking the matter to court – which allows you to get the financial support you need in a timely manner.
For more information on how your family can get the answers and support you need during this difficult time, get in touch with us today and learn more in a free consultation.