Drunk driving caused about a third of all car accident fatalities in the U.S. in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA also reports that illegal and prescription drugs are a factor in approximately 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.
New York has several laws outlining the consequences of drunk driving. If you suffer an injury in a drunk driving accident in New York, it is important you understand your rights to recover damages and how a negligence claim works in a drunk driving crash. Buttafuoco & Associates can help. Call us at 1-800-NOW-HURT for help filing and building your claim against the drunk driver.
Drunk Driving Laws in New York
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192 makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Other classifications of impaired driving include:
- Drivers under 21 may not drive with a BAC of .02 or higher.
- Commercial drivers may not drive with a BAC of .04 or higher.
- Driving while ability impaired by a single drug (DWAI/Drug).
- Combined influence of drugs and alcohol (DWAI/Combination).
- Aggravated driving while intoxicated describes driving with a BAC of .18 or higher.
- Driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol) occurs if the driver’s BAC is more than .05 but less than .07.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Drunk Driving Accident in New York
A person who drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol is negligent per se, meaning negligent because he or she violated the law. If that person causes an accident, anybody seriously injured by the impaired driver may file a lawsuit against the drunk driver.
But establishing negligence per se is not enough to hold the drunk driver liable. You must also link the driver’s intoxication to the accident. The police report, eyewitness testimony, accident reconstruction, photographs from the scene, and other evidence can help you prove the drunk driver caused the wreck.
Buttafuoco & Associates will help file your no-fault claim as well as your lawsuit against the negligent driver. We will also explore liability of other parties, such as a bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver.
The Dram Shop Law may allow victims of drunk drivers to hold a bar, restaurant, liquor store, or other establishment liable if it continues to serve an obviously intoxicated person who later drives drunk and causes a wreck. Victims may also sue a party who supplied alcohol to a minor (does not have to have sold it) who later causes a drunk driving accident.
How DWI Criminal Cases Impact Your Civil Case
Criminal and civil cases proceed differently and are decided by different standards. While the driver must be proven guilty of the crime of DWI beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence needed for a civil case against that driver is held to a lower standard of proof.
Even if the driver involved in your crash is not convicted of a DWI, you may still hold him or her liable for the accident. In your civil case for damages, you need to prove “by a preponderance of evidence,” that the defendant acted recklessly (e.g., drove while intoxicated) and caused your accident.
Seeking Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident
The damages in an accident caused by a drunk or intoxicated driver follow the same no-fault laws as a normal traffic accident. You will still collect up to the limits of your PIP coverage. If your damages exceed PIP coverage or you suffered “serious injuries,” you may be able to seek non-economic (pain and suffering) damages in addition to medical costs and lost wages.
A New York car accident lawyer firm Buttafuoco & Associates can help you file your claim(s) and prove liability for your damages.
Call 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a consultation with an attorney.