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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Long Island DWI Attorney

Drunk driver holding a bottle of alcohol

When an insurance company is quick to offer a settlement, it usually means that the injury claim is worth much more. This is especially true in accidents caused by drunk drivers. If you have been injured in an impaired driver accident, the value of your personal injury claim may be higher than you expect. In addition, you may have a personal injury claim against those who provided the alcohol to an already-intoxicated driver or an underage drinker.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in New York, contact an experienced Long Island drunk driving injury lawyer today to discuss your legal rights. The attorneys at Cohen & Jaffe offer victims of drunk driver accidents in New York a free case review to discuss your legal rights.

New York Drunk Driving Laws

New York has multiple DUI laws meant to help law enforcement and criminal justice officials combat drunk driving. A person arrested for alcohol consumption after a motor vehicle accident in New York may be charged under a state law addressing:

  • DWI (driving while intoxicated). A DWI charge indicates a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
  • DWAI (driving while ability impaired). This is a charge available if a driver has a BAC between .05% and .07%, or if a driver otherwise demonstrated impairment in roadside tests or while under police observation.
  • DWAI/Drugs. This charge may be filed if police suspect a driver has ingested non-alcoholic substances that have impaired his or her ability to drive. Recreational drugs, prescription medications, and even some over-the-counter drugs can alter the motor function and cognitive abilities enough to impair driving.
  • Chemical test refusal. According to New York DWI laws, a driver has the right to refuse a blood, breath or urine test for BAC, but those who refuse to be tested and are ultimately convicted of DWI stand to lose their license and be fined a $500 civil penalty.
  • Zero tolerance law. Anyone under the age of 21 (the legal age to drink alcohol) who is caught driving with a BAC of .02% or higher can be charged with DWI.

If the driver who hit you and left you injured has been charged with a drunk driving violation or a related charge, the driver may face criminal prosecution. However, a criminal conviction will not provide compensation to cover your medical bills.

You will need to file a separate civil lawsuit holding the drunk driver accountable for the injuries and financial losses you have sustained from the drunk driving accident. A personal injury lawsuit proceeds separately from any criminal case. A DWI conviction is not necessary to pursue compensation for your losses. Recovering compensation in New York only requires proof that the driver is responsible for the accident that caused you serious injury and other losses.

Your Legal Options as an Impaired Driving Accident Victim

Because New York is a no-fault state, you’ll need to turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage at first to get your medical bills paid, even if a drunk driver caused your injuries. However, if your injuries are severe as defined by N.Y. state law and your own insurance does not cover all your losses (which is very likely), you may sue the drunk driver for additional compensation.

Indeed, you may have a right to sue for much more than the drunk driver’s insurance company offers to settle the claim. That is why you need a NY DWI victims’ attorney to represent you and serve as your legal advocate if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident.

If your injuries and losses meet the legal thresholds set by N.Y. law for filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may file a third-party car insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance, seeking compensation for your medical expenses from bodily injury and vehicle repairs.

To file a personal injury lawsuit, your injuries must have caused:

  • Bone fracture
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system, or
  • Substantially full disability for 90 days.

A person injured in a car accident may also pursue a personal injury lawsuit, which under New York law allows the injured to seek more compensation than PIP or auto liability insurance pay. To pursue such claims requires you to be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the insurer or a court that the other party was legally responsible for the accident.

Drunk Driving Accident Statistics in New York

According to the state’s 2018 Highway Safety Report, New York is among the states with the lowest alcohol-impaired fatality rates. Federal data show that alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased from a five-year average of 326 in 2016 to an average of 317 in 2017.

In raw numbers, there were 295 drunk driving fatalities in 2017 and 5,647 people injured in alcohol-related crashes.

Impaired driving arrests have been on a general downward trend in recent years. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of drivers arrested for impaired driving dropped from 50,805 to 44,026, representing a decrease of 13%. Impaired driving arrests include the number of drivers arrested for alcohol-related and drug-related violations.

For drunk driving accident statistics in 2018, New York Department of Motor Vehicle statistics based on police reports show:

  • 9,429 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes
  • 277 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities
  • 3,712 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes resulting in personal injury, including
  • 819 serious injuries
  • 902 moderate injuries
  • 1,858 minor injuries
  • 133 injuries of unknown severity
  • 175 drivers killed in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, including
  • 159 drinking drivers
  • 18 non-drinking drivers
  • 3,304 drivers injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, including
  • 2,159 drinking drivers
  • 1,145 non-drinking drivers
  • 37 passengers killed in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes
  • 1,406 passengers injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes
  • 77 pedestrians killed in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes
  • 478 pedestrians injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes
  • 6 bicyclists killed in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes
  • 72 bicyclists injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident in New York, you are not alone. The New York drunk driving accident victim attorneys of Cohen & Jaffe will stand with you. We will vigorously pursue every available dollar of compensation. We also help clients with the immediate concerns and hardships created by a personal injury accident, such as finding appropriate doctors and holding off creditors while a legal claim is underway.

Who Is Held Responsible for a DWI Accident in New York?

In most cases, a person who was driving after drinking and crashed into another driver’s vehicle or hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist is solely responsible for the accident and injuries.

However, there are cases in which others contributed to a drunk driving crash and can be held liable as well. Some states, including New York, have adopted dram shop laws that are intended to hold accountable those who would sell alcohol to minors or to drinkers who are already visibly intoxicated.

If a New York bar, restaurant or other establishment serves alcohol to such patrons who then go on to cause a drunk driving accident, the bar or restaurant may be held liable for injuries and losses that result.

If the driver who hit you was driving as a part of their job at the time of the accident, the driver’s employer is legally responsible for their actions. A claim could seek compensation through the employer’s business liability insurance, which is very likely to have a higher coverage maximum than an individual’s insurance. If an employer put a driver on the road who had a history of DWI offenses and that person had been drinking when he or she crashed into you, an insurance adjuster would understand how shocking this would sound to a jury.

What Can I Recover from my DUI Accident Injuries in NY?

To demand compensation, you must show your costs and losses. New York law recognizes economic and non-economic costs and losses in a personal injury claim. Economic damages are monetary losses, such as the cost of medical bills and property damage, such as replacement of your vehicle or repairs to it. Non-economic damages are awarded for your pain and suffering.

Demonstrating legal responsibility for a car accident requires showing negligence and causation. Negligence means the other driver broke a traffic rule or drove with unreasonable carelessness, which includes drunk driving and other violations of New York traffic laws. Causation means that the driver’s negligence was a direct cause of the crash, which led to your injuries.

A fatal drunk driving accident may be the basis for a wrongful death claim, which allows the victim’s survivors to seek specific types of damages. These usually include compensation for medical, funeral and burial expenses, as well as the loss of the victim’s income, support, guidance, and services.

If the driver’s actions equate to gross negligence or reckless disregard for human life, which might be argued for an extremely high BAC level, for example, you may be entitled to seek punitive damages.

Contact Our Experienced DUI Accident Attorneys in New York

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a drunk driver in the New York City metro area, the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP will stand up for you and pursue every dollar of compensation available to you.

A DUI victims’ lawyer from NYC understands how to use the driver’s intoxication to your advantage with regard to negotiating the terms of a settlement. New York DWI accident attorneys Richard Jaffe and Stephen Cohen and our skilled associates have 100-plus years of combined experience in motor vehicle accident litigation, including cases representing people injured by drunk drivers. We know how to maximize the amount of damages you recover.

Call our Long Island law firm or contact us online now. Our Long Island DWI accident lawyers offer a free case evaluation, and we can come to you to meet with you.


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