In New York, over 30% of fatal car crashes involve alcohol and drunk drivers. Many more drunk driving accidents cause injuries daily. Visitors and residents in Brighton, Rochester, NY, may wonder if they need a car accident lawyer if a drunk driver hits them.
Not only is drunk driving a criminal act, but wrecks involving drunk drivers cause many hardships for the victims. A competent drunk driving accident lawyer from Cellino Law can smooth the way and provide many benefits, including potentially more compensation for your damages.
What Can Complicate Drunk Driving Accident Cases?
New York State laws and insurance requirements, along with the potential of multiple guilty parties, frequently complicate drunk driving accidents. You may have trouble understanding how they affect your case without an attorney. Some claims require filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
New York laws require licensed drivers to obtain personal injury protection insurance. If you sustain injuries in an accident, your PIP policy generally pays for the first $50,000 of economic damages, including lost wages and medical expenses. You don’t have to establish fault for the accident to recover this compensation.
In some cases, you can seek compensation from other parties involved in your accident if they were negligent. This option is available if your economic damages are more than $50,000 or you surpass the serious injury threshold. Serious injuries are:
- Death of a fetus
- Fatal injuries
- Fractured bones
- Significant or permanent limitation or loss of the use of a body system, organ, function, or member
- Temporary injuries preventing daily activities for at least 90 days within the first six months after your accident
If you have a qualifying serious injury, you can also pursue non-economic damages. Your drunk driving accident attorney will tell you what damages you’re eligible to receive.
The Dram Shop law may establish more than one guilty party in drunk driving accidents. Alcohol vendors may face liability if they serve alcohol to underage persons or those who are obviously intoxicated and that person injures another.
Your car crash attorney will investigate to find out where the drunk driver obtained the alcohol and place the fault where it belongs.
New York’s comparative negligence laws mean that you can seek damages in qualifying personal injury cases even if you bear part of the responsibility for your accident. However, your degree of fault lowers the amount of compensation you can receive.
For instance: say that a drunk driver hits you, causing injuries, but your assigned percentage of fault for the collision is 30%. If the total damages for the incident are $100,000, the most you can obtain is $70,000: $100,000 – 30% ($30,000) = $70,000.
Insurance companies will likely try to assign more of the fault to you than you deserve in an attempt to lower the amount of compensation they have to pay. Your Cellino Law accident attorney won’t let you bear more of the responsibility than you are guilty of.
How Is Drunk Driving Dangerous?
Alcohol consumption changes how drivers act and react. Alcohol can make drivers:
- Have impaired vision and depth perception
- Experience trouble focusing
- Aggressive and uninhibited
- Have delayed reaction times
Drunk drivers often exhibit behaviors such as:
- Traveling in the wrong lane
- Swerving or weaving between lanes
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Not following traffic laws
- Failing to stop at signs or lights
- Not being aware of surroundings, including other traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, and roadway obstacles
- Speeding or reckless driving
Any of these behaviors can cause traffic accidents, but the risk is even higher when combined with the physical and cognitive effects of alcohol consumption.
What Is Negligence?
Legal negligence describes someone who doesn’t act with reasonable care to avoid harming or injuring other people. Although your PIP insurance payments don’t depend on who is responsible for the accident, other types of claims require you to prove that the guilty party or parties were negligent. To do this, your attorney will show:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They failed to provide that duty of care
- Their failure caused an accident
- You suffered harm as a direct result of the accident
Drivers owe a duty of care to others to drive safely. Drinking and driving isn’t safe and is willfully negligent behavior.
What Damages Can You Get if a Drunk Driver Hits You?
Your drunk driving accident attorney can determine what kinds of damages your case qualifies for. In general, there are three types of damages.
Accident victims can face several kinds of expenses. Economic damages pay at least some of these costs:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Specific daily expenses
Save your bills and receipts.
You can suffer intangible injuries resulting from a drunk driving accident, and non-economic damages attempt to compensate for things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Losing the ability to enjoy life
- Personal relationship damage
In extreme cases, defendants may have to pay punitive damages. Insurance coverage usually won’t pay these so that payment would come from the guilty party’s personal assets.
Most claims won’t result in the payment of punitive damages. Ask your attorney from Cellino Law if your case’s circumstances qualify.
Why Should You Choose Cellino Law?
A Cellino law firm has handled personal injury cases in New York for more than 60 years. The experience gained during that period means we thoroughly understand the laws surrounding drunk driving accidents and know how to establish your case to obtain maximum compensation for your damages.
Cellino Law takes cases on a contingency fee basis so that you won’t owe any upfront fees and don’t pay us unless we win compensation for you. We’ll start with your free case review to see how we can help you.
Cellino Law is conveniently located to serve you with several offices throughout the state. If a drunk driver hits you in Brighton, Rochester, NY, contact Cellino Law. Someone is available to answer your questions 24/7.