Collisions caused by negligent drivers occur in countless ways. Sadly, one of the more common situations is when someone operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). We represent injured individuals in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Our lawyers know how to assist you in seeking damages for the harm caused by the carelessness or wrongdoing of others.
For a free consultation with one of our Queens drunk driving accident attorneys, call our office at 718-441-5050 or contact us online today.
Despite crackdowns on drunk driving by nearly every state in the country, it is still a serious problem. It is estimated that as many as 40% of all car-related deaths and injuries are attributable to drunk driving.
Even relatively low levels of alcohol can seriously affect a driver. Because of impaired sensory and motor faculties, it is very common for motorists under the influence to:
- Apply the brakes too late
- Swerve unexpectedly
- Drift into other lanes
- Fail to yield
- Drive in the wrong direction
- Commit other traffic infractions
Some of these mistakes are more dangerous than others, but all of them are violations of the law that can cause serious harm.
When you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to hold that individual liable through a negligence lawsuit for all of the damages that you have suffered.
Under standard negligence law, a victim is required to show four elements:
- First, there must be a duty of care owed by the defendant
- Next, the defendant must have breached that obligation
- The careless behavior that violated the duty of care must have led directly to the victim’s harm
- Lastly, the injured person also must have incurred actual damages that can be compensated
There is a special rule in this area called “negligence per se,” or negligence as a matter of law. Negligence per se may apply when a defendant has violated a statute that was intended to protect a particular type of person or the public from a certain type of harm. When this rule is invoked, the task of holding a defendant liable may be somewhat easier to meet than in a standard negligence case.
In a car crash case, for example, showing a violation of a safety law may substitute for establishing the elements of duty and breach. A victim still must show that the accident would not have happened if the defendant had not broken the law and that the injuries resulted in quantifiable damages.
The DUI laws of New York and other states are designed to prevent accidents. Moreover, they are meant to protect anyone on the road, whether drivers, passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians. Thus, a case involving a crash caused by a DUI driver usually presents a victim and his or her lawyer with an opportunity to make this special type of negligence claim.
In New York, as in other states, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime. Offenders face criminal penalties, including jail time and fines, as well as administrative penalties, such as driver’s license suspension or revocation.
A drunk driving personal injury case is a civil action, entirely separate from any criminal proceedings the drunk driver may face. The purpose of a civil drunk driving claim is to compensate victims of negligent and wrongful conduct for their damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering. While the outcome of a criminal case against the drunk driver does not necessarily have any bearing on your civil case, if the driver is found guilty of DUI, this can have a positive impact on your ability to recover compensation.
If you have been injured in a collision caused by a drunk driver, you should consult a qualified, experienced attorney who can review your case to find out whether you may have a claim to damages. Seek guidance in New York from the dedicated Queens drunk driving accident lawyers at The Cassisi Law Firm.
You can schedule a free initial consultation with us by calling 718-441-5050 or by using our online form.