What You Need to Know About Lawsuits Against Drunk Drivers

drunk man holding keys getting ready to drive under the influence

In New York and throughout the country, drunk drivers who seriously injure others are dealt with by the criminal justice system. However, jail time, fines, license suspensions, and other forms of punishment do not help the victims of the drunk driving accident.

Fortunately, there is recourse for victims. In addition to facing criminal penalties, drunk drivers can be sued by their victims in civil court. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed by a drunk driver, a civil lawsuit might be the best way to recover financial compensation for your losses.

For over three decades, the New York City car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. have been helping victims get the compensation they need to cover medical bills and other losses associated with their injuries. Our skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyers on Long Island will analyze the facts and circumstances of the accident and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Call now at (855) TOP-FIRM or simply fill out the free case evaluation form for a free and confidential consultation.

Types of Drunk Driving Cases We Handle

At Finz & Finz, P.C., our attorneys take pride in protecting the rights of injury victims against drunk drivers. We handle a wide variety of drunk driving cases, including:

  • Alcohol-related crashes that affect other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians
  • Driver and passenger injuries from car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, boat accidents, and any other accidents involving drunk drivers
  • Dram shop litigation where we file a lawsuit against bars that serve alcohol to people who become drunk and cause accidents
  • Habitual drunk drivers who have a history of causing harm
  • Underage drinking and driving
  • Serving alcohol to minors

Signs an Intoxicated Driver Caused Your Accident

Signs that the at-fault driver was drunk include:

  • Swerving or zig-zagging
  • Driving at an unusually slow speed
  • Sudden stopping
  • Excessive acceleration
  • Hugging the center lane
  • Speeding
  • Persistent tailgating
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Bloodshot or glassy eyes
  • Alcohol smell on the driver
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech

Types of Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents

Victims of car accidents caused by drunk drivers in New York can be severely injured. A drunk driving accident can lead to catastrophic injuries, including:

Can I Sue a Drunk Driver in New York?

You may sue a drunk driver as it can be proven that their negligence was the direct cause of the accident and your injuries. Your car insurance policy will provide for some of your losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. However, some drunk driving accident victims require compensation that exceeds their policy cap limit. If your losses are more than $50,000 or you suffered a serious injury, you may be entitled to seek more compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

What Is a “Serious Injury”?

New York law defines a “serious injury” as one that involves any of the following:

  • Death
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Dismemberment
  • Fracture (broken bone)
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of an organ, system, member, or function
  • Permanent limitation of use of an organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body system or function
  • Non-permanent injuries that keep you from performing your everyday activities for no less than 90 days

Time Limits to Sue a Drunk Driver for Injuries in New York

The statute of limitations to file a civil claim for drunk driving is three years from the time of the crash. Drunk driving accident lawsuits are typically based on negligence, which requires showing that the motorist failed to exercise reasonable care. Proof of intoxication shows a lack of reasonable care.

How to File a Drunk Driving Accident Claim

First, it’s critical to review the police report with an experienced New York drunk driving accident lawyer. A police report is an essential piece of evidence in a drunk driving accident case. However, It’s possible that the police investigating the crash failed to cite the at-fault driver for driving under the influence (DUI), did not perform a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test, or did not record who was at fault. An attorney can help see that these issues are addressed in their investigation.

The personal injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island can review the drunk driver’s records to determine if they had any prior DUI convictions or if they were operating a vehicle with a suspended license. If they were a truck or bus driver, commercially, we might be able to file a claim with their employer. Transportation companies are required to perform background checks on job applicants and, if the applicant has a recent DUI conviction, the companies should avoid hiring that driver. Putting an unsafe driver on the road can make a truck or bus company liable for injuries caused in an accident.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

New York’s dram shop law prohibits establishments from selling alcohol to certain types of people. The law states that vendors may not sell alcohol to people under the age of 21, those who are drunk, and those who are known to be alcoholics. If an establishment disobeys the law and their patron injures someone as a result, the establishment may be held partially liable for the victim’s injuries.

Contact a New York Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured by a drunk driver in New York or Long Island, our DUI accident victim attorneys are ready to carefully review the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident. We will work hard to determine every possible cause and determine liability. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. now at (855) TOP-FIRM or fill out the free case evaluation form so we can get started in fighting for the full and fair compensation you deserve.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.