The dangers of drunk-driving accidents are well-known, but irresponsible drivers still put others at risk for accident and injury and get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The number of drunk driving accidents in Queens varies each month, but law enforcement officers typically respond to at least a dozen accidents involving alcohol, often more. In one month, more than 20 accidents in Queens involved alcohol.
Drunk driving accidents sometimes lead to severe and fatal injuries. If you have sustained injuries in a Queens drunk driving accident or a loved one has lost their life because of a drunk driver, then you have the legal right to seek compensation for injuries related to the accident. Contact an experienced Queens drunk driving attorney as soon as possible to learn about your options.
Until then, this blog provides a closer look into drunk driving accidents in Queens, liability in Queens drunk driving accidents, and the physical and financial consequences drunk driving accident victims face in the wake of severe injuries.
Queens Drunk Driving Accidents in the News
Drunk driving leads to dangerous truck, car, and motorcycle crashes. Pedestrians also face the risk of injury from drunk drivers. Queens residents only need to turn on the television or read the morning paper to read tragic stories about their neighbors and other members of their community suffering severe or fatal injuries.
One reason you should pursue legal action after a Queens drunk driving accident case: It gives you the power to deter such blatantly dangerous behavior and ensure that nobody else has to go through what you did.
Third-Party Liability in Queens Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk drivers choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol and surely should pay for any damage they cause to others. Yet, when drunk driving accidents occur in Queens and throughout New York, other parties sometimes share liability in an insurance claim or lawsuit. New York has dram shop laws that govern the rights and responsibilities of individuals and businesses that serve alcohol.
Businesses, their employees, and people who host events or parties open themselves to financial liability for damages related to a drunk driving crash if someone they served caused an accident. Under New York’s dram shop laws, drunk driving accident victims have a legal right to bring a claim against a business or individual who knowingly serves alcohol to a person under age 21, or to someone who is visibly intoxicated if the person then causes an accident as a drunk driver.
Queens Drunk Driving Suffer Injuries That Have a Lifelong Impact
Whether in a car crash, truck crash, or motorcycle crash caused by a drunk driver, drunk driving accident injuries can be severe, life-threatening, and/or fatal. Those who are fortunate enough to survive a drunk driving accident potentially face a wide range of long-term physical consequences from their injuries. Each person is different, and their struggles depend on the type of injuries they sustained.
Some examples of long-term physical consequences of Queens drunk driving accidents include:
- Chronic pain from bone and tissue injuries that never completely heal or leave scar tissue
- Arthritis from broken and fractured bones
- Residual headaches and migraines, widespread after a head or neck injury
- Struggles with memory and other cognitive functions due to a brain injury
- Difficulty with motor functions due to a brain or spinal cord injury
- Permanent scars from cuts or burns, some of which can be embarrassing when in obvious locations
- Amputation that requires the use of a prosthetic device and the pain that comes with losing a limb
- The need for continuous nursing care at home or in a long-term nursing care facility
Severe drunk driving accident injuries devastate victims and their families. Physical consequences accompany emotional trauma related to the accident, injuries, healing, and rehabilitation. Victims and families must learn how to physically and emotionally cope with permanent injuries. The financial burden of severe drunk driving accident injuries compounds the stress associated with the physical and emotional aspects of the accident and injuries.
Long-term Financial Impact of a Queens Drunk Driving Accident
In some cases, drunk driving accident victims make a full recovery and might be fortunate enough to avoid chronic pain and discomfort from their injuries. Yet, even those who suffer mild injuries sometimes face massive economic struggles resulting from a drunk driving accident and injuries. Traffic collisions are costly and sometimes result in foreclosure, repossession of cars, trucks, boats, and other property, bankruptcy, and massive credit card debt.
In the worst cases, victims and their families sometimes do not have enough money to pay for daily needs and monthly utilities because a drunk driver saddled them with medical debt from treatment. This could leave victims with the decision to pay for food and let their credit rating suffer or starve and pay outstanding bills.
No one should have to face these economic decisions when a drunk driver caused an accident that led to economic struggles. Examples of costs of a drunk driving accident that can impact victims for years or decades include:
Medical treatment costs related to a Queens drunk driving accident begin to accrue immediately after the crash. Victims typically must go to the nearest emergency department via ambulance to receive treatment and get checked out by a doctor. Drunk driving accident victims sometimes need extensive diagnostic scans and lab tests.
In some cases, victims need life-saving surgeries; surgery costs include the entire surgical staff, anesthesiologist, surgical tools, hospitalization, and more. Those who must stay in the hospital for weeks face astronomical medical bills running to the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even when drunk driving accident victims do not need immediate surgery, they sometimes need reconstructive surgeries or other corrective surgeries to eliminate scars and reduce pain.
Sometimes aggressive rehabilitation programs can help drunk driving accident victims avoid permanent injuries. Yet, even when accident victims sustain permanent functional losses, they must work hard to heal to the maximum extent that their body allows. Rehabilitation looks different for every patient, but it can include the services of a wide range of specialists who help accident victims in the wake of their injuries.
Some examples of specialized treatment that is often part of a rehabilitation program include:
- Physical therapy to help drunk driving accident victims regain muscle strength and range of motion after suffering soft tissue injuries, breaking bones, undergoing surgery, or experiencing other physical trauma.
- Massage therapy to help reduce pain for accident victims and also helps with muscle function.
- Occupational therapy to teach drunk driving accident victims with permanent injuries new ways of approaching daily tasks and other ways to cope with their injuries.
- Speech and language therapy to help patients who suffer from brain injuries relearn how to communicate with others or teach them new ways to communicate if the accident caused permanent injuries that interfere with reading, writing, and speaking.
- Mental health services to help drunk driving accidents cope with the emotional aftermath of an accident and injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and survivor’s guilt.
Long-term Nursing Care
In the most severe drunk driving accidents, victims might survive, but they might suffer such serious injuries that they require nursing care 24/7. For example, accident victims might spend weeks or months in a coma, or they might fall into a permanent vegetative state (PVS). Spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries sometimes lead to permanent injuries requiring in-home nursing care or care in a nursing home. Long-term nursing care is expensive, no matter if it takes place in-home or at a facility.
Short nursing home stays or transitional care in a facility are also costly. Most health insurance plans do not cover nursing home stays unless the policyholder has paid for separate nursing home coverage. When families do not have the funds or insurance coverage to place their loved ones in a nursing home after an accident, they sometimes have no choice but to provide care to their loved ones at home. This often forces a partner, spouse, or parent to quit their job to take care of a loved one, adding to the financial burden of drunk driving accident injuries.
If a drunk driving accident requires a victim to miss work for hospitalization and recovery, they lose income from time away from their job. Once someone uses any paid time off (PTO), including personal holidays, vacation time, and sick leave, they must take an unpaid leave of absence after a drunk driving collision.
If the drunk driving accident victim provides a large portion of a household’s income, this loss can devastate a family financially. New York law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which can provide some financial relief by replacing lost income. However, severe accidents and injuries quickly meet or exceed policy limits, leaving a large income gap for many households.
Lost Future Wages and Benefits
Queens residents who suffer severe injuries that prevent them from returning to their jobs lose future lost wages and benefits, another devastating consequence of drunk driving accidents. Long-term disability payments can help to reduce the impact of some lost income, but they rarely replace a person’s full future wages.
In addition, child victims who suffer catastrophic injuries in drunk driving accidents may permanently lose the ability to get an education and seek employment, forcing them to rely on their family and disability payments for the remainder of their lives. Finally, sometimes, injuries only reduce earning capacity instead of eliminating it, but even then, the long-term costs can easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Home Modification Expenses
Drunk driving accident victims who return home after suffering severe and permanent accident injuries sometimes need to make changes to their living spaces to maintain their independence and ability to take care of themselves.
For example, modifying a home to accommodate a new disability might require building a wheelchair ramp, installing handrails in the bathroom and shower, or building a main floor living addition to eliminate the need to navigate stairs. The costs of home modifications vary, but can easily cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on their scope.
Costs for Replacement Household Services
Most everyone contributes to some degree to maintaining their homes, such as by clearing snow, taking out the trash, raking leaves, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Queens drunk driving accident injuries sometimes prevent victims from performing these tasks, creating the need to hire outside help to replace that lost labor.
Drunk driving accidents occur far too often in Queens. You should not have to suffer financially because of a reckless driver who made the terrible decision to drive after consuming alcohol. If you or your loved one has sustained injuries in a Queens drunk driving crash, contact an experienced Queens drunk driving accident attorney today for a free consultation about your legal rights and options.