When drivers decide to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, they put the lives of other vehicle occupants, cyclists and pedestrians on the line. It is an irresponsible choice that can have serious consequences. Impaired faculties can cause collisions that result in injuries and fatalities.
If you’ve been a victim in a drunk driving accident and sustained life-disrupting and costly injuries, a Melville, NY, drunk driving accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Cellino Law attorneys have the experience you need to fight for a fair settlement.
Drunk Driving by the Numbers
Nationwide, 28% of all traffic accident fatalities involved intoxicated drivers in 2019. An estimated 9,598 drivers in crashes were under the influence at the time of the accident. In New York that year, 262 drivers had BAC levels of at least 0.08, and 170 motorists had BAC levels of 0.15 or higher.
Annually, one person dies in a drunk-driving accident in New York every 30 minutes on average, and every two minutes, someone is injured in an impaired-driving accident. Within the first six months of 2022, alcohol was involved in 164 of the 9,135 collisions in New York City.
A Note on New York’s Impaired Driving Law
Driving under the influence is a crime in New York. The state has three BAC limit levels that determine the degree of impairment. People with a 0.05-0.07 BAC are considered alcohol-impaired. Those who have a BAC of 0.08 and above are intoxicated. If drivers have a 0.18 BAC or higher, they can be arrested for aggravated intoxicated driving.
The first offense is usually considered a misdemeanor unless the driver injures or kills another person. In this case, the drunk driver can be charged with and convicted of vehicular assault, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. If the drunk driver caused the car crash that resulted in your injuries, you might be able to pursue a civil lawsuit to recover damages.
Innocent Until Proven Negligent
If law enforcement arrested a driver involved in the crash for drunk driving, you have a substantial piece of evidence of fault. However, you still have work to prove the driver was liable for your injuries. In a civil suit for a personal injury case, the claimant is responsible for establishing that the other driver’s negligent behavior caused the injuries. You must demonstrate four factors:
- Duty of care: Proving that the other driver owed you a duty of care isn’t onerous. Every driver is responsible for the safety of others who share the road.
- Breach of duty: Establishing a breach of duty requires evidence supporting the other driver’s failure to fulfill a motorist’s responsibilities. Driving while intoxicated is an important indicator, but you may need more corroborating evidence.
- Causation: Demonstrating that the other driver’s intoxication caused or contributed to the accident also requires sufficient evidence.
- Harm: Verifying that the accident caused your injuries and that your injuries were severe enough to warrant compensation requires proof from physician’s reports, medical and rehabilitation bills and professional analyses.
A Cellino Law drunk driving lawyer has the knowledge and experience to help you prove fault.
Reasons To Work With an Attorney
Retaining an attorney may improve the outcomes of your case. Lawyers with experience handling drunk driving cases have an in-depth knowledge of the laws and legal proceedings. They also have experience constructing a case that reveals the full extent of your losses and establishes liability. Your lawyer works for and supports you through every stage of the process.
Evaluating Your Case
The decision to file a lawsuit is significant. Before you file, an attorney evaluates the details of your case, determining its merits. Your lawyer reviews its strengths and challenges, making you aware of potential obstacles. After assessing your case, your attorney informs you of the options open to you and provides legal advice on how to proceed.
Gathering the Evidence
To win a case, you need evidence supporting all four negligence elements. Melville, N.Y., drunk driving accident lawyers know what kind of evidence to collect and have the resources to do so. They can often get their hands on documents and other proof that victims have trouble accessing. They may seek any of the following:
- Police reports
- Accident investigation reports
- Doctor’s assessments
- Statements from witnesses and relevant professionals
- Photos and videos, including any street, shop or home cameras that may have captured footage of the accident
Your attorney can also help you determine what evidence you need to pull together for expenses you’ve already accrued.
Calculating the Damages
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit often include more than current medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses and lost wages. You can pursue compensation for any of the following additional damages:
- Future medical and rehabilitation costs
- Lost earning capacity
- Associated expenses such as transportation to and from appointments
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Your lawyer knows how to calculate these varied damages to come up with a compensation amount.
Filing the Paperwork
Attorneys are adept at accurately completing the necessary paperwork. The petition to file involves documenting your complaint against the defendant, the legal basis for your claim and outlines the facts of the case. An incomplete or insufficient petition causes delays and may even result in a denial of your case. A personal injury attorney has the knowledge needed to ensure a sufficient and complete petition.
Communicating With the Defense
Communicating with the other side can be detrimental to your case if you don’t know the tactics they often use. Defense representatives frequently attempt to get claimants to make statements that they can use against them. If they can place some blame on the victim, they lower their client’s liability.
When you work with Cellino Law attorneys, they take care of the communications with the other side. They have the experience needed to protect your rights and prevent coercive tactics.
Handling the Negotiations
Personal injury cases seldom make it to the courtroom. Typically, the defense is more than happy to negotiate a satisfactory settlement, especially if court proceedings are likely to turn out worse for the client. You also benefit from negotiations that result in fair compensation, as your case is resolved much faster than going to trial.
Your Melville, N.Y., drunk driving accident lawyer handles the negotiations for you. Your accident attorney won’t accept a settlement unless you agree the terms are fair. Your attorney provides legal advice throughout the process.
Representing You in Court
Though rare, personal injury claims sometimes go before a judge and jury. When all parties can’t agree to the terms of a settlement, the only option is to go through with court proceedings. Cellino Law attorneys are prepared to go the distance when necessary to obtain just compensation. They have a proven track record in court cases and won’t hesitate to fight for you.
Melville, NY, Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
The personal injury attorneys at Cellino Law understand how difficult it is to pursue just compensation while recovering from your injuries. We alleviate your burdens, supporting you throughout the legal process. We also don’t collect any fees until we win your case. You deserve personal attention from attorneys with experience handling drunk driving cases. We’re here for you every step of the way. Get in touch for a free case evaluation.