According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk driving is one of the biggest threats to motorist safety. Even if you are doing everything you can to drive as safely as possible and to keep an eye out for unsafe drivers, sometimes you may not be able to avoid being involved in a collision with a drunk driver.
When this happens, you can turn to a Long Island drunk driving accident lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options after the accident. You should not have to figure out the legal system on your own, especially if you are trying to receive treatment and heal from painful, debilitating injuries.
At Morelli Law Firm, we understand how important it is for you to get answers to questions about your rights and whether you are entitled to compensation. We will put your case together on your behalf and handle all the mundane aspects, like answering emails and making important phone calls. Do not wait to pursue action after a drunk driver hurts you. Call our office today at (212) 751-9800.
Holding a Drunk Driver Responsible After a Crash
Although the person who caused the drunk driving accident may be facing criminal charges, this does not have any bearing on your ability to bring a civil claim against them to recover compensation for the damages that you suffered due to the crash.
A drunk driving claim is a type of personal injury accident. You must prove that the other person acted negligently. There are four elements to establishing that someone was negligent:
- Duty: You must prove that they owed you a duty to drive with reasonable care and skill.
- Breach: You must prove that they failed to meet that standard.
- Causation: You must prove that you probably would not have been hurt but for their lack of due care.
- Damages: You must prove the damages you suffered, like medical bills and missed paychecks.
There are many ways to go about proving each of these elements. If the police responded to the crash, there is a good chance that they prepared a police report that identified the likely cause of the accident. If the other driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent, it is legal evidence that the person was driving while impaired, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A BAC of 0.08 or more is evidence of intoxication, while 0.18 percent or more is evidence of aggravated driving while intoxicated.
The police report may list the driver’s BAC immediately after the crash, which can help you establish that they were impaired. Other types of evidence that you may be able to use include eyewitness testimony, surveillance camera footage, or an accident reconstruction expert who can investigate the scene and explain exactly how the accident happened.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Nassau County, Suffolk County, or somewhere else in Long Island, call Morelli Law Firm today at (212) 751-9800. A Long Island drunk driving accident lawyer will take on the important task of gathering all the evidence you need to establish your claim against the careless drunk driver who hurt you.
Damages Available to a Drunk Driving Accident Victim
There are many different injuries and outcomes that the victim of a drunk driving accident can experience. In addition to the physical impact, an accident can cause serious disruption in your life. If your vehicle is totaled, you have no transportation and have to deal with insurance companies to get a rental car. In some cases, you may be unable to work, which can create multiple disruptions for your personal life.
Here are a few common types of damages that a drunk driving accident victim can claim in a personal injury accident:
- Medical bills: You can be reimbursed for the out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of the crash, like doctor’s appointments, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, and more.
- Future medical care: Many injuries require long, ongoing treatment in order to heal. You can claim compensation for the cost of your ongoing medical care related to the accident.
- Lost wages: Most car accident victims have to take some time off work. If their injuries are severe, then it may be months before they can go back to earning a check. You can also be compensated for having to use any vacation or sick days.
- Reduced earning capacity: If you suffered permanent injuries that prevent you from returning to your usual job, then you can receive compensation for the income difference.
- Pain and suffering: This category is meant to help offset the emotional and mental pain that you have endured as a result of the accident trauma and injuries.
- Punitive damages: If you can show that the other driver acted with a particular level of recklessness and disregard for others’ safety, you may also be able to ask for punitive damages.
The above list is just a handful of examples of the damages that you may be eligible to receive. It is important for you to keep all the receipts and bills you have received related to the crash to ensure that you are compensated adequately.
If you have been debating calling a law firm after your drunk driving accident, now is the time to act. At Morelli Law Firm, our Long Island drunk driving accident lawyer may be able to help you go through your expenses and account for every possible dime. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in New York is three years, according to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (CVP) §214. You will eventually lose your right to pursue compensation unless you act within that time frame. Call us now at (212) 751-9800.