Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiles and analyzes data about accidents on America’s roadways. In 2012 (the most recent year for which data is currently available), the statistics for crashes involving alcohol are staggering – 33,561 people nationwide were killed by drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. In fact, more than 10,300 of those victims were killed by legally drunk drivers – drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. In New York State, Suffolk County had the highest number of fatalities, followed by Nassau County, Queens County, and Kings County.
Based in Syosset with a second convenient location in Manhattan, the drunk driving accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers believe in helping our community. We’ve represented drunk driving accident victims throughout the NYC area, including Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Kings, New York, Bronx, and Richmond Counties – and we’re ready to help you. Kaplan Lawyers PC offers an initial case evaluation for FREE, so call us in the City at (212) 563-1900 or on Long Island at (516) 399-2364. If you prefer, complete and submit our online inquiry form and we will quickly respond.
In New York State, drivers are considered to be driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The threshold is even lower for certain populations. Specifically, the limit is 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21 and 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles. DWI is a crime and can be punished through fines, jail time, and license revocation. Additionally, those hurt by drunk drivers can file civil claims seeking compensation for damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Car repairs
- Emotional distress
- Loss of opportunity to enjoy life
- Wrongful death
- Medical bills
- Loss of current and future income.
These claims are often paid by the intoxicated driver’s insurance company. However, if the driver acted with deliberate indifference to the safety of others, he or she may be sued for punitive damages, paid out of their own pocket. Furthermore, a claim may be pursued against the drinking establishment that provided the liquor to the driver. New York dram shop law states that it is illegal for businesses to serve alcohol to persons who are visibly intoxicated or to people “actually or apparently” under the age of 21.
Thus, drunk driving personal injury actions can involve many parties that may have overlapping claims and conflicts of interest. In order to protect your rights and get maximum compensation, you need the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. The Kaplan Lawyers team will aggressively pursue all avenues of possible recovery to help compensate you and your loved ones for the injuries and losses suffered as a consequence of a drunken driving accident. We understand that winning a lawsuit will not heal your physical injuries or bring back a loved one who may have died due to someone else’s negligence, but financial compensation can ease your mind and help allow you to focus on recovering from such a traumatic event.
Anyone involved in a vehicle accident with a drunk driver should call 911 immediately for medical attention and to file a police report. If you have suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, or Staten Island, you should then contact the New York City DWI accident attorneys at Kaplan Law as soon as possible. Prompt notification will allow us to more effectively investigate the accident scene, speak with witnesses while the accident is still fresh in their memory, and review your medical prognosis to pursue an accurate claim for damages. There are also timelines for when claims can be filed, so don’t delay. In our many decades of combined experience, we have dealt with virtually every type of personal injury case. We are committed to diligently representing your interests, working hard to see that justice is obtained for you and your family. You can reach us in the City at (212) 563-1900 or on Long Island at (516) 399-2364 or by filling out this form for a free assessment of your case.
New York Drunk Driver Accident FAQs
Do I need an attorney to handle my claim?
No. However, the insurance company employs an army of attorneys, claims specialists, and experts to win the case, so in order to get the compensation that you are entitled to you will need to hire an attorney that specializes in this type of law. Our legal team has decades of experience and a proven track record of maximizing settlements and we are in the best position to guarantee that you get everything that you are entitled to.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
The statute of limitations (or time in which a claim must be brought from the date of the accident) is 3 years for a personal injury claim. If a claim is being brought for wrongful death the claim must be brought within 2 years from the date of death. If the claim is being brought against a municipality the time to bring a claim is significantly shorter depending on who the claim is against so you should consult with an attorney immediately.
Is the drunk driver 100% at fault?
New York law follows the pure comparative negligence rule which states that an injured party will receive compensation for their injuries in proportion to their percentage of contributing to the accident. For example, if a jury believes that a claimant was 10% at fault the other driver is responsible to pay 90% of the claimant’s damages. In most cases a drunk driver is held to be strictly liable, meaning that a drunk driver will be held 100% liable.
Do I have to pay any legal fees if I lose my case?
No. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee which states that if you don’t win your case we don’t get paid.
How much is my case worth?
If any attorney tells you that they know how much your case is worth before reviewing all of the documentation then they are lying or incompetent. However, our legal team has decades of experience and will maximize the value of your case.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Every case is different but our legal team utilizes the most advanced technology and aggressive legal strategy to expedite our client’s cases, generally resolving cases years faster than any other firm.
How will my medical bills get paid?
Whether you were the driver or passenger in the car your medical bills will be paid for by the insurance company for the car that you were in. However, you must file a No Fault application with the insurance company within 30 days from the date of the accident, if you fail to do so you have waived your right to file the claim for benefits.
Does No Fault pay for anything else?
Yes. No Fault will also pay for lost wages, prescription costs, transportation to medical providers, and reasonable expenses for household services.
Why does my insurance company have to pay the bills if the drunk driver caused the accident?
The insurance companies were involved in the drafting of the legislation that created this policy. The benefit to injured parties is that they can get the treatment that they need even if it is unclear who caused the accident because liability will not determine who pays.
Why would the insurance companies want that?
The insurance companies agreed to the legislation because the law also limits access for injured parties to the court system. The statute states that an injured person can’t proceed with a lawsuit unless they have sustained a serious injury as defined by the legislation, which significantly restricts an individual’s ability to collect money for pain and suffering.
What is the legal definition of a serious injury?
A serious injury has been defined as death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
How will I know if my injuries will be considered serious?
Many of the injuries sustained in drunk driver automobile accident cases become progressively worse with time so it is difficult to determine shortly after the accident. However the drunk driver accident attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC recommend that you retain an attorney immediately so that all filings are completed to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to.
How can I get my car fixed?
Even though the drunk driver will be held strictly liable if you have collision coverage we would recommend that you contact your insurance company and submit a claim under your policy. If you don’t have collision coverage you will have to file a 3rd party claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, a 3rd party claim can take significantly longer to resolve and the insurance company will try to twist your words against you so we recommend that you contact a legal professional before contacting the insurance company directly.