Because people who drive under the influence of alcohol endanger everybody on the road, both New York and New Jersey take the crime of drunk driving very seriously. Sadly, every day drunk drivers still cause serious car accidents that result in significant personal injuries and financial problems for victims.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every 31 minutes, an alcohol-related fatality occurs somewhere in the United States. The NY / NJ metro area is not immune to the deadly impact of drunk driving accidents. In 2010 alone, car crashes involving alcohol took the lives of 365 people in New York and 153 people in New Jersey.
Drunk Driving Accidents and Injuries in New York and New Jersey
Alcohol is the leading cause of injuries and deaths in car accidents throughout the United States, and New York and New Jersey are no exception. Often, people think “Just a couple drinks” are harmless. They are wrong; drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 (usually equivalent to 1 drink) are 11 times more likely to be killed in a car crash than sober drivers. Whether it’s an inability to adhere to traffic signs and signals, driving at excessive speeds or an overall failure to control the vehicle, intoxicated drivers are at a higher risk of hurting others whenever they get behind the wheel.
The dangers of drinking and driving are often overlooked, but in truth, countless life-threatening injuries can result. For example, driving while intoxicated is a major source of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Some of the other serious injuries that can result from a drunk driving accident include:
- Spinal cord trauma, including quadriplegia, paraplegia and other forms of paralysis,
- Back injuries,
- Neck injuries such as whiplash,
- Bone fractures,
- Crushing injuries,
- Internal organ damage and bleeding,
- Limb amputation,
- Sprains or strains, and
- Permanent scarring.
Recovering Compensation After a NY / NJ Drunk Driving Accident
Criminal and civil responsibility for drunk driving are two separate matters in both New York and New Jersey. Since drunk driving is a serious crime in both states, you can be sure that any intoxicated individual who is caught behind the wheel will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, though, this important pursuit of justice does not compensate the victims of a drunk driver for their own suffering.
Drunk driving accidents can cause extensive medical bills, damaged property, and long-term health issues. Because these sorts of expenses often affect the financial stability of an entire family, it is important that a victim of a drunk driving accident recovers the maximum compensation possible for what he or she has endured.
In addition to the drunk driver, there may be other parties who may be responsible for the harm resulting from a drunk driving accident. In certain circumstances, “dram shop liability” applies and makes an alcohol vendor partially liable for a drunk driving accident. For example, a bar that serves alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person may be held liable for the injuries that person later causes in a drunk driving accident.
By consulting an experienced personal injury attorney, victims of drunk driving accidents can learn the different legal options available to them to ensure that justice is served. The experienced attorneys at the Ginarte law firm can help you pursue a civil cause of action against the at-fault drunk driver. In fact, you may be able to recover damages from the drunk driver who injured you even if a DUI / DWI citation was never issued.