Each year, New York sees more than 7,000 accidents involving a driver who has been drinking. Often, innocent third parties such as drivers of other cars, passengers of other cars, cyclists and pedestrians are injured in these accidents. In 2014, 11 non-drinking drivers, 47 passengers, 71 pedestrians and 11 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol.
Those who have been seriously injured by a drunk drive or have lost a loved one to a DUI accident are often unsure of their rights and where to look for help.
First and most obvious, the drunk driver is generally liable for damages caused by the accident. Proving negligence in a DUI accident case is often straightforward, since the driver may have pled guilty to or have been convicted of drunk driving. However, proving negligence in a DUI accident case is possible whether or not the driver has been convicted, and even if he or she has been acquitted or the charges have been dismissed.
In one case, attorney Paul Dansker was able to assemble the details of a case and recover $2.2 million for a passenger injured in a drunk driving accident, although the victim had amnesia after the accident and the driver had used an alias.
Of course, most drunk drivers won’t have the resources to pay for extensive medical care and other damages, but New York state law requires drivers to carry liability insurance. Whether or not the driver’s car insurance is sufficient to cover the claim will depend on the extent of the injuries and property damage incurred. Regardless of the level of insurance coverage, but especially where the possible damages from the insurance carrier are insufficient to compensate the accident victim, the victim’s attorney should investigate the possibility that other parties may be partially responsible.
The New York Dram Shop Act provides that a server or seller of alcohol may be liable to a person who was injured or killed by an intoxicated person under certain circumstances. In essence, if the drunk driver who caused the injury was visibly intoxicated at the time he or she was served alcohol, the establishment may be held responsible for harm to the accident victim.
Proving liability on the part of the person or establishment that provided the alcohol can be much more difficult than proving liability of a drunk driver who may have failed a blood alcohol (BAC) test or admitted drinking to a police officer or emergency medical personnel. However, an attorney experienced in representing DUI accident victims will know how to investigate and assemble the strongest case possible under the circumstances.
Determining who may be liable for injuries suffered in an accident with a drunk driver can be complicated, and requires knowledge of both the law and the investigative process. When you’ve suffered an injury as the result of someone else’s drinking and driving, you need to focus on your recovery, not learning the intricacies of the law and tracking down witnesses and evidence.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers to learn more about how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Just call 212-732-2929 or fill out the contact form on this page to get started.