Our New Jersey DWI Car Accident Attorneys are Advocates for Victims
Legal Representation for Drunk Driving Car Accident Victim
When a drunk driver causes an accident, he or she may face criminal charges. But a criminal conviction will not automatically result in monetary compensation for the injured victim. If a drunk driver has injured you or a loved one, it is important to get more information about all your legal rights and options.
The experienced NJ car accident lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., have helped victims and their families financially pursue impaired drivers. We understand how one negligent act like getting behind the wheel while intoxicated can turn another family's life upside down.
Here are our answers to some of the most common questions that arise in the aftermath of a DUI accident.
What should I do immediately after a crash?
The actions you take right after the crash can affect your ability to receive compensation. Make sure you remain at the scene. Call the police, file a report, and get a copy for your records. Get prompt medical attention and seek the counsel of an experienced Princeton car accident lawyer who represents the rights of DUI victims.
Our DWI Accident Verdicts and Settlements
- $4.85 Million Settlement - Pedestrian Struck by Intoxicated Motorist
Click here for more verdicts and settlements.
What is my New Jersey claim worth?
The value of a NJ personal injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses. Your claim should result in compensation for all your current and future medical bills, lost wages, and other related damages. If you suffered a serious injury that made you miss work and required hospitalization, your claim will be worth much more than if you just suffered minor injuries from which you recovered quickly.
After being injured by an intoxicated driver, it's important to protect your rights. Contact a New Jersey drunk driving car accident attorney at (609) 240-0040.
What evidence do I need to win my claim?
If the authorities cite the at-fault driver for drunk driving, it will greatly improve your chances of a successful civil claim. But the defendant does not have to face DUI charges in order to be held financially responsible for a crash. If you can prove that the driver had been drinking, either from a blood alcohol test or from eyewitness testimony of people who saw him at the bar, it will prove that the driver was careless.
Can I sue the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver?
Under dram shop law, a business or host who serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is obviously intoxicated can be held liable for anyone injured by the drunken patron. In New Jersey, the dram shop statute (N.J. Rev. Stat. §2A:22A-1 et seq.) states that the plaintiff must show that in the server’s eyes the possibility of injury was a foreseeable consequence based on the patron’s behavior and number of drinks served, etc. The plaintiff must also show that alcohol served to the patron was the cause of his or her intoxication and resulting crash. This could be demonstrated, for example, by showing a timeline of events.
New Jersey victims have gotten justice under the dram shop statute. In 2005, a New Jersey jury awarded $135 million to the family of a girl who was paralyzed in a 1999 drunk driving crash. In this case, Aramark Corporation, owner of the New York Giants concession stand where the man was served, was found liable for $75 million in compensatory damages. The concession staff had allowed the driver to purchase six beers at once, when the stadium mandates that fans can only buy two beers at once.
What about a private party that served the drunk driver?
A concept called "social host liability" is very similar to dram shop law, except that the liable party is a person or group of people that hosted and provided alcohol to the drunk driver, not a business. In New Jersey, this law is quite broad, meaning that a social host can be held liable for victims’ injuries even when the drunk driver is a consenting adult who poured his own drinks. Like dram shop law, however, the guest must have been visibly intoxicated and the victim’s injuries must have been caused by the guest’s intoxicated driving.
What about pedestrians hit by drunk drivers?
If you or a family member has been injured as a pedestrian by an impaired driver, don't count on the driver's insurance company (if he even has auto insurance) to compensate you for your injuries. You need to be proactive and file a personal injury claim against the driver (and his insurer, if he has one). As an injured pedestrian, you deserve to be compensated for the following damages:
- All medical bills
- Pain and suffering that results from the injury
- Property damage and loss
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Household modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, etc.
- Permanent injury or disability
What if I've lost a loved one due to a drunk driver?
If you've lost a spouse, partner, family member, or other loved one due to the actions of an impaired driver, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver and his estate and assets. As a bereaved loved one, you can pursue the following damages:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Resultant medical bills
- Pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death
- Loss of future income
- Loss of future benefits, such as medical benefits and retirement benefits
- Loss of household duties performed by the deceased, such as chores, childcare, property maintenance, etc.
- Loss of love, affection, consortium, guidance, etc.
Do I need a NJ drunk driving car accident lawyer to win my claim?
The driver's insurance company may deny your claim or offer you a quick settlement to make your case go away. A New Jersey car accident attorney will know how to calculate your claim and when to deny a settlement offer. A skilled attorney can also help you build your case and hold the at-fault driver accountable for all your current and future losses. A lawyer can also make sure that you are offered fair compensation for noneconomic losses such as physical pain and suffering.
Please contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., for a free and comprehensive case evaluation. You can reach us at (609) 240-0040.
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