Despite serious criminal penalties and widespread knowledge of the dangers of drunk driving, thousands of people choose to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. According to the New York State police, someone is injured every two minutes because of drunk driving, and more than 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicle collisions in the state are alcohol-related.
If you were injured or if someone you love was killed by a drunk driver, you deserve justice—and the Law Office of Joseph J. Perrini, III can help. Led by founding attorney, Joseph J. Perrini, III, our team fights for the rights of victims and their families. We seek to hold drunk drivers and other liable parties accountable, working to not only ensure that our clients are fairly compensated for their damages but also to send a message that drunk driving is never acceptable and will never be tolerated.
To speak to a drunk driving accident attorney on Long Island about your case, call 516-221-7900 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is completely free.
What Happens When a Drunk Driver Hits Your Car?
In New York, no-fault insurance covers drunk driving accidents. This means that, if you are hit by a drunk driver, you can file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim with your auto insurance provider and receive monetary compensation for covered losses.
In New York, no-fault insurance covers the following:
- Medical expenses related to “reasonable and necessary” care following the crash
- Up to 80 percent of your lost wages/income, capped at $2,000/month, for up to three years
- Up to $25/day for “reasonable and necessary” expenses, such as in-home assistance or transportation to and from medical appointments, for up to one year
No-fault insurance also provides a death benefit of $2,000 to the estate of the deceased when a person dies due to a motor vehicle accident, including collisions caused by drunk drivers. However, no-fault insurance does not cover any non-economic damages, or losses that are not associated with a specific dollar amount, such as pain and suffering, diminished earning ability, or lost enjoyment of life.
Can You Sue a Long Island Drunk Driver After an Accident?
It is not only possible to sue a drunk driver, but it may even be necessary for victims who suffer severe injuries, leading to significant economic and non-economic damages. No-fault insurance does not compensate victims for the full cost of their losses; in many cases, it does not even come close to covering victims’ damages. When this is the case, drunk driving accident victims can sue the drunk driver (or another liable party) and seek compensation for all of their medical expenses, lost income/wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages.
However, to go outside the no-fault insurance system, you will need to prove that your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury threshold,” meaning you will have to prove that your injuries are “serious,” as defined by the state of New York.
In New York, an injury is considered “serious” if it:
- Is a broken bone/fracture
- Results in “significant” disfigurement
- Leads to permanent or significant limitation of a bodily function, system, organ, or member
- Causes total disability for at least 90 days
If your injuries meet at least one of these requirements, you could bring a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver and seek compensation for all of your economic and non-economic damages. We encourage you to reach out to our Long Island drunk driving accident lawyers to learn more during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Common Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Drunk driving accidents tend to be some of the most severe car accidents. Victims are often left with catastrophic injuries, and many die as a result of these collisions.
Common injuries resulting from drunk driving accidents include:
- Broken bones/fractures
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Slipped/herniated discs
- Blunt force trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue damage
- Amputation/loss of limb
- Organ injuries
Due to their severe nature, these and other drunk driving accident injuries often meet the New York “serious injury threshold,” meaning victims could be entitled to go outside the no-fault insurance system and bring third-party personal injury lawsuits against the drunk drivers who caused the collisions.
Can You Sue a Bar or Another Establishment After a Drunk Driving Accident?
In some cases, it may be possible to sue a bar, restaurant, or another vendor that provided alcohol to an individual who went on to cause a drunk driving accident.
Under New York’s dram shop laws, a vendor could be liable if it provided alcohol to:
- Someone under the age of 21 who went on to cause injury
- Someone who was “visibly intoxicated” who went on to cause injury
While dram shop laws only apply to establishments that sell or provide alcohol, the state’s “social host” liability laws apply to individuals who provide alcohol to others who go on to cause injury. The social host law is narrower than the already-narrow dram shop law; you can only sue an individual host who provided alcohol to an underage guest who went on to cause injury. If a social host provides alcohol to someone over the age of 20 who is already visibly intoxicated, the social host is not legally responsible for any injuries the intoxicated individual causes.
Why Hire a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Long Island?
Although drunk driving accidents may seem like relatively cut-and-dry cases, the truth is that these claims can be extremely challenging. You must work with an experienced attorney, like those at the Law Office of Joseph J. Perrini, III, who can help gather available evidence and build a powerful, persuasive claim on your behalf.
Since 1996, our firm has been aggressively representing the rights of the injured on Long Island and throughout New York. We have successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients, including many million- and multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts. We understand that this is an extremely difficult time in your life, which is why we provide highly personalized and compassionate client service. When you trust our firm with your recovery, you can rely on us to be there for you every step of the way, from dealing with the insurance company to protecting your rights in court.
When you’ve been injured, results matter. Contact the Law Office of Joseph J. Perrini, III today at 516-221-7900 for a complimentary case review.