Although many forms of careless or inattentive driving cause vehicle collisions, intoxicated motorists perennially account for the highest number of traffic-related fatalities. All car accidents that cause serious injury are unfortunate, but drunk driving accidents are even more tragic since these collisions are entirely preventable. Despite the widely acknowledged danger of driving when alcohol-impaired, motorists continue to operate motor vehicles while under the influence at an alarming rate.
The toll inflicted human and monetary terms by drunk drivers can hardly be overstated. Alcohol-impaired drivers account for an average of 28 traffic fatalities per day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people would readily acknowledge that drinking and driving constitutes an unacceptable threat to public safety, but behavior does not necessarily conform to this understanding of the risk. Based on self-reporting by motorists, adult drivers in the U.S. embark on approximately 111 million episodes of alcohol-impaired driving annually. This data does not even include drivers under the influence of illegal narcotics, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medications. The economic costs associated with alcohol-impaired driving accidents has been estimated to exceed $44 billion per year.
Criminal & Civil Liability Arising from a DWI Accident
Civil claims for damages involving drunk driving accidents involve different legal claims and issues than a typical car “accident.” Collisions caused by intoxicated drivers do not really constitute “accidents.” Drivers who operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated make a conscious decision to drive while alcohol-impaired despite knowledge of the danger to others. This willful disregard for the safety of others who use our roadways might warrant an award of punitive damages along with compensatory damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, vehicle repair/replacement, and other losses.
The intoxicated driver will often be charged with a crime, which will necessitate a law enforcement investigation. The investigation that occurs at the scene of an intoxicated driving accident can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a civil lawsuit brought by an injury victim. Police must be summoned to the scene so that they can prepare an accident report. If you detect the odor of alcohol on the breath of the other driver or notice physical signs of intoxication like slurred speech, unsteady gait, impaired coordination, or red and watery eyes, you should inform the officers to ensure they conduct a DWI investigation. This investigation could generate vital evidence of failed field sobriety tests, positive chemical tests of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), officer observations, and incriminating statements.
While the process of establishing liability in a personal injury claim against a drunk driver often can be aided by a criminal investigation and conviction, the injury victim cannot be assured that the at-fault driver has a way to satisfy a judgment. Many motorists who cause serious injury or wrongful death in alcohol-related crashes flee the scene or possess no insurance. Intoxicated motorists have a significant incentive to commit hit and run to avoid the criminal and civil consequences of their conduct. Even if the intoxicated motorist does not flee, the probability the individual has no insurance is high since 50-75 percent of motorists who have their license suspended for drunk driving disregard the suspension. Our New York drunk driving accident lawyers explore the liability of third-parties in this situation, such as:
- The employer of a drunk driver
- Auto owners who entrust their vehicle to the at-fault driver
- The manufactures of a defective vehicle
- Public entities for unsafe roads
These third-parties constitute just a few of individuals that we might sue to recover damages when a drunk driver lacks the ability to satisfy a settlement or judgment. Because our DWI accident injury attorneys have successfully represented victims of drunk drivers, we have the skill and expertise to address the special issues in these cases.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Did you or a loved one sustain harm in a drunk driver accident? Parker Waichman LLP helps those who have suffered injuries or the loss of a loved one due to another’s negligence receive full monetary compensation. Trust your case with our intoxicated driver accident lawsuit lawyers. For a free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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