Cars are moving weapons. When a reckless or intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel, these vehicles can have catastrophic results. Drunk drivers are completely negligent regarding the safety of others on the road. Victims hit by a drunk driver can experience numerous injuries. In some unfortunate cases, accidents involving drunk drivers may result in death.
Pursuing compensation after a crash with a drunk driver is not always straightforward. Some factors can impact your ability to recover damages caused by a negligent driver, such as no-fault insurance or proving fault. With the help of an experienced personal injury firm like Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., you stand a better chance at getting the maximum settlement you’re owed.
Call (212) 490-5700 to schedule your free consultation.
Across the nation, there are tens of thousands of fatal car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, there were 42,939 traffic fatalities in 2021. About 31% of those victims were killed in an accident with a drunk driver.
A report from Forbes said 1,994 vehicles in New York City were involved in alcohol-related crashes in 2022.
A driver is considered “intoxicated” when their blood alcohol content level (BAC) is at .08% or higher. Drivers with a BAC of .05% or more are considered “impaired.”
Even though driving while intoxicated is illegal, people continue to drive after drinking or using drugs. That means drivers could operate vehicles with reduced care or inhibition, delayed reaction times, impaired coordination, or poor judgment.
Because a drunk driver may have a delayed reaction time, they won’t be able to make decisions quickly. They may use the brakes too slowly and run through a red light, hitting a car with the proper right-of-way. An accident involving a drunk driver could be deadly because it’s likely they won’t follow the speed limit at the time of the accident.
Drunk drivers can cause a variety of accidents. When vehicles collide, their inhabitants can be severely injured.
Victims of a drunk driving accident could experience injuries like:
After a crash caused by a drunk driver, you could be left with extensive expenses with little realistic hope to pay for them. Damages vary case-by-case, but it’s safe to assume a crash with an intoxicated driver could create significant costs for victims. Collecting compensation could be tricky if you don’t work with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer.
New York is a no-fault state. Your first compensation claim will likely be through your own insurance, using your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Also known as a “no-fault” insurance policy, it pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses. However, it will not cover your emotional or non-economic losses.
You may be able to seek relief from the at-fault driver if your damages exceed $50,000. New York law describes the “serious injury” threshold to limit when parties can sue for damages beyond the $50,000 limit.
A serious injury could be dismemberment, disfigurement, broken or fractured bones, loss of function or use of a bodily organ, disability of some bodily system, or death.
If your personal injury attorney can prove your injuries pass this serious injury threshold, you may be able to pursue non-economic losses, allowing you to recover easier.
Non-economic losses are conceptual in nature. They are the damages you suffer because you were in an accident. That means you could pursue a claim for the pain and suffering your physical pain has caused you, or you could file a claim for a diminished quality of life. These losses can be difficult to calculate. You can work with your New York personal injury lawyer to determine an adequate value for your personal injury case.
New York judges take drunk driving cases very seriously, especially when someone’s been significantly injured or killed. In some cases, they may apply punitive damages. Although they are rare, these damages are awarded to victims in an effort to punish the drunk driver and discourage other drivers from following their example.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim of a drunk driving accident. These damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were especially harmful, meaning they were willfully negligent and lacked any moral concern.
A judge may decide that someone driving while impaired is someone who chose to behave recklessly, without regard to the harm they could cause other drivers like you. So they may choose to punish the defendant, using your case as a lesson to other would-be drunk drivers.
State law requires that any injured victim acts quickly after an accident. You have a short period of time to file to recover compensation for damages from your personal insurance policy.
The first step in less serious injury cases is to file a No-Fault Application (NF-2) with your own insurer. You have only 30 days in which to file this form, and it is crucial that it is correctly filled out and sent within this time restriction.
Our firm can help by immediately filing your forms for you. It is crucial for your claim to be filed with the correct insurance company, and when an injured individual asks for the form themselves, there can be some difficulty in receiving it in a timely manner. Our firm has extensive experience in these matters and will ensure that your forms are correct and that the right insurance company receives them.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash with a drunk driver, you can file a lawsuit against them if you meet the “serious injury” threshold. Under New York Law, you’ll have three years to file a claim against them to meet the “statute of limitations.”
That timer starts the day of the accident. Three years might feel like a long time to get your case together, but you’ll need every minute with your attorney to build a compelling and concrete case.
To win compensation for your significant injuries after a crash caused by a drunk driver, you’re going to need evidence to support your claim or suit. Whether you’re trying to show the insurance company that you mean business or you’re presenting evidence to a judge or jury in a courtroom, your evidence has to leave little doubt that the defendant was driving drunk and they caused your injuries.
Your attorney can investigate the accident and help you gather the necessary evidence. You can use police reports, witness testimony, medical documents, and repair bills to show how you’ve been hurt by the drunk driver.
Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. has many years of combined experience in filing claims against negligent drivers and an impressive record of success in court. We advise you to contact our firm at once if you have been the victim in a drunk driving accident so that we can initiate the action that will bring you financial relief. The earlier we are involved in your case, the better for you and your family. We can ensure that vital evidence is preserved, and will vigilantly protect your right to compensation.
Contact us today at (212) 490-5700 to get started on your case.
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