Drunk driving crashes cause far too many preventable deaths each year and leave many more people with serious injuries and lifelong impairments. The intoxicated drivers who recklessly choose to drive under the influence and cause these accidents should be held accountable.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Valley Stream, you may have a legal right to pursue action against the driver who harmed you. You certainly should take the time to make a phone call and understand your options. The attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, can review the details of your Valley Stream drunk driving accident and discuss whether a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate in your situation. We are here to help clients who have been harmed by drunk drivers fight for justice.
With more than a century of collective experience, our skilled and compassionate Valley Stream, NY, personal injury lawyers have what it takes to handle the toughest cases. We have helped clients recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, we are committed to handling all aspects of your case – from helping resolve day-to-day issues such as finding doctors to dealing with insurance adjusters on your behalf. We’re dedicated to giving you the personalized attention that you deserve. You’ll work directly with our respected law partners Richard Jaffe and Stephen Cohen, not just a paralegal or secretary.
Don’t wait to seek compensation after a drunk driving accident. Call Cohen & Jaffe today at (516) 358-6900 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.
Statistics on Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One person dies every 50 minutes in a drunk driving accident in the U.S. This equates to more than 10,000 deaths each year, including more than 225 children age 14 and younger.
Additionally, U.S. adults report driving drunk more than 100 million times each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By comparison, the number of people arrested each year in the U.S. for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is just over one million. On average, men are more likely to cause fatalities by driving drunk than women.
In New York alone, more than 300 people are killed each year in alcohol-impaired traffic accidents, plus more than 5,500 others are injured. Over 40,000 drivers are arrested in New York each year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are actually around 31 million incidents of drunk driving on New York’s roadways every year. This means that many drunk drivers never get caught in the state.
New York men consistently report that they are more likely to drive after drinking, with 16 percent of male New York drivers admitting they recently drove after drinking, compared to only 11 percent of women, according to the New York State Highway Safety Annual Report.
Additionally, New York drivers age 45 or older are most likely to drive after drinking, although 11 percent of drivers under the legal drinking age also admit to recent episodes of driving under the influence.
What Are My Legal Options If I’m Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?
If a drunk driver injured you in a motor vehicle accident, then it is likely that the negligent driver will face criminal charges. However, in order to get compensation for your injuries, you will need to file a separate civil suit against the driver.
New York is a no-fault state, which means that for most accidents, drivers must file a claim against their own insurance to recover compensation for medical expenses and other losses. However, in serious crashes, such as those causing broken bones, disfigurement, or disability, the costs may exceed the no-fault coverage limits and victims typically have additional options for pursuing compensation.
One option is to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance company to get the compensation. However, this is typically challenging for victims who try to handle the process by themselves. Insurers often try to take advantage of victims of drunk drivers by offering them a small settlement while they’re still in shock from the accident.
Victims trying to handle a drunk driving case on their own usually feel pressured into accepting the offer because insurers claim this is the most money they’ll receive, or that the offer will disappear if they don’t accept it quickly. However, if you work with a skilled drunk driving injury attorney, the attorney can protect you from pressure tactics and help you pursue maximum compensation.
Our knowledgeable lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe understand how much insurers typically pay out in drunk driving injury cases. They can help determine how much your personal case may be worth. Your attorney can negotiate with insurance on your behalf to try to reach a fair settlement. If the insurer won’t agree to a reasonable offer, then your attorney can help you file a lawsuit and fight for your legal rights in court.
Our lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe can also help ensure your case meets New York’s statute of limitations. Under this rule, victims typically have only three years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver or other parties responsible for the crash. After this deadline passes, victims often can’t get any compensation for their injuries, except in rare circumstances.
What Parties Might Be Liable in a Drunk Driving Accident?
Beyond drunk drivers themselves, others might be liable in this type of accident, depending on the circumstances of the crash.
For example, the restaurant or bar that overserved the driver might hold some responsibility if the driver was visibly intoxicated when being served or the restaurant served a driver that they had reason to believe was under the age of 21.
In another situation, the driver’s employer might be liable if the driver was doing something within the scope of their job when the accident occurred. Additionally, the car’s manufacturer or maintenance company might hold some responsibility if a vehicle defect or malfunction impacted the wreck, while a government entity might be liable if a dangerous road condition contributed to the collision.
It’s also possible that a court may decide that you were partially responsible for the accident. However, even victims that hold some liability for a crash may recover some compensation for their injuries. Under New York’s pure comparative fault rule, either party can claim compensation after an accident, even if they were partly to blame.
With New York’s rule, you may be entitled to pursue compensation if you were partially at fault. But any court award would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Common Types of Compensation for DWI Accident Injuries in Valley Stream
Crashes caused by drunk drivers often leave victims with costly and painful injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives. If the injuries are serious, the victim may have a right to sue the drunk driver.
The types of compensation that victims often are entitled to seek after these kinds of accidents include:
- Medical expenses. Compensation typically helps cover current and future costs, such as ambulance transportation, surgeries, diagnostic exams, hospitalization, specialized medical devices, medication, specialist visits, rehabilitation, and therapies.
- Lost income. A person injured by a drunk driver may recover compensation to cover lost wages if he or she must miss work while recovering from injuries, or if the accident leaves the victim unable to work or earn the same level of income in the future.
- Disability or disfigurement. This helps cover damages if a victim suffers disfigurement or a total or partial disability after a crash.
- Pain and suffering. Victims may claim compensation for things such as mental anguish, lost companionship, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life.
- Wrongful death. If someone is killed by a drunk driver, then their surviving loved ones may file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of the deceased’s income, and lost companionship.
Holding Valley Stream DWI Drivers Accountable
Driving with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is illegal in Valley Stream and throughout Nassau County. At this concentration, alcohol impairs the driver’s judgment, ability to process information, depth perception, reflexes and reaction time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DC).
As BAC levels increase to 0.10 percent or higher, alcohol substantially impairs a drunk driver’s ability to control their vehicle, stay in their lane, brake appropriately, and correctly process things they see and hear.
Signs that police typically look for when determining whether a driver may be intoxicated include:
- Drifting into other lanes or having trouble driving straight in their own lane
- Driving far below or above the speed limit
- Swerving into oncoming traffic or onto the shoulder
- Failure to turn on headlights, turn off high beams with oncoming traffic, or use turn signals
- Slurred speech, red eyes, or difficulty keeping their balance
- Failing field sobriety tests, such as a preliminary breath test or walking in a line
Contact an Experienced Valley Stream DWI Attorney Today
Our uncompromising dedication to every client, coupled with our assertive representation, has enabled us to recover millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts. We’ll leverage all our resources to fight for your rights and maximize the value of your case. If a drunk driver seriously injured you, get started by calling the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe to set up a free legal consultation. Contact us at (516) 358-6900 or reach us online.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving victim lawyer serving Valley Stream, call 516-358-6900