East Meadow Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Drunk drivers in East Meadow put others who share the road with them at risk for serious traffic accidents. Drunk driving accidents often bring massive amounts of physical pain, mental trauma, and economic loss to victims and their families. Unfortunately, New York is notorious for its high drunk driving accident fatality rate, and East Meadow is no exception. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately one out of five traffic fatalities involve alcohol, some of which occur in the East Meadow region.
If you sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident in East Meadow, the law gives you the right to seek compensation for losses related to the accident and your injuries in civil court. The East Meadows auto accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, understand the challenges you face in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident. We want to help you seek justice and hold the drunk driver who harmed you accountable for their negligence. If you live in or near East Meadow, reach out to us for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your drunk driving accident, your injuries, and how they have affected your life.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Results in Drunk Driving Accident Claims
The passionate legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has represented injured East Meadow residents and helped them seek justice for more than four decades, including those who have suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident. The firm’s extensive experience in negotiating, settling, and litigating accident injury claims has led to the recovery of tens of millions in damages from settlement agreements and jury awards.
In a recent case, we helped a 20-year-old client secure a $1.272 million settlement after a drunk driver hit him head-on when he was going home after work. Our client could not work for almost a year and had to drop out of college because of a wrist fracture and surgery on his fractured foot.
The drunk driver was operating a company vehicle and did not have any insurance coverage under his employer’s policy, making this case especially complex. The insurance company took far too long to deny coverage to the drunk driver, so our client had grounds for a lawsuit. We ultimately secured a settlement at the last minute, after jury selection.
This case only serves as an example and does not guarantee a specific outcome for your drunk driving accident claim. Each case has unique facts and circumstances that impact its value. The diligent attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the resources to investigate your drunk driving accident and build a strong case against the drunk driver, so you have the best chance at receiving the compensation you deserve for your drunk driving accident injuries.
East Meadow Drunk Driving Accidents Sometimes Lead to Severe Injuries
Not all drunk driving accident victims sustain injuries, especially if the accident did not occur at high speeds. Those who suffer minor injuries can typically recover all of their medical expenses and lost wages under their mandatory New York personal injury protection (PIP) policy. The story changes when drunk driving accidents lead to severe, life-threatening, or fatal injuries. Severe drunk driving accident injuries lead to complex cases that often require the guidance and experience of a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer.
Drunk driving accident injuries we commonly handle for our clients include:
Broken bones often heal and do not cause lifelong complications, so they typically do not give rise to East Meadow drunk driving claims. Yet, some drunk driving accident victims suffer multiple fractures or crushed bones that require one or more surgeries. These surgeries sometimes require doctors to use screws, steel plates, and other devices to reconstruct the area, so new bone can grow and heal.
Even after corrective surgeries, some accident victims struggle with pain and discomfort for life. If you’ve sustained multiple fractures or compound fractures, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney.
The force of a drunk driving accident can also lead to a neck injury as a result of the same movement that causes a TBI. Soft tissue damage in the neck is common and typically only refers to sprains or strains. However, a severe accident can tear ligaments and muscles, leading to pain and the likelihood of reconstructive surgery. Additionally, fractured vertebrae and bulged discs in the neck can lead to painful injuries that often leave victims with continued headaches, migraines, and pain throughout the neck and shoulders.
During a collision, bodies sometimes move into a wide range of unnatural positions. The exact movement of a body depends on the circumstances of the accident such as the presence of seatbelts, whether an airbag deployed, the location of the body within a vehicle, and the speed at which the drunk driving accident occurred.
Some movements lead to painful back injuries such as fractured vertebrae and herniated discs. Accident victims who suffer back injuries often have difficulty finding relief when standing, sitting, or lying down. Many must rely on one or more pain management techniques to cope with their injuries. Back injury victims typically need one or more surgeries, but this often does not eliminate all their pain.
The most severe back injuries from a drunk driving accident can lead to dangerous spinal cord injuries. Bruising and minor wounds to the spinal cord can cause temporary paralysis in some or all of the body. When the swelling subsides and the injury heals, victims typically regain function. Severe spinal cord injuries that involve more than bruising typically result in permanent loss of body function in the affected area of the body. Once spinal cord cells are injured, they do not regenerate like other cells in the body.
The extent of loss that a drunk driving accident victim experiences depend on the location of the injury along the spinal column. Injuries that occur closer to the brain block more messages between the brain and the rest of the body, making these injuries likely to result in full-body paralysis from the neck down. Injuries that occur further down the spinal column result in a lower amount of lost body functions.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traffic accidents, including those caused by drunk drivers, cause a person’s head to jolt upon impact. This movement alone can lead to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In other cases, someone’s head might strike the seat in front of them or the windshield, which typically ensures some sort of brain injury. As with other injuries, the higher the speed upon impact, the more severe the consequences. In the worst cases, a TBI can lead to a coma or permanent vegetative state (PVS). Even those who escape this fate still potentially face chronic issues with cognition, memory, communication, behavior, and a wide range of other struggles.
Traffic accidents do not frequently cause amputations, but severe traffic accidents are one of the most common causes of amputations. This is especially true of drunk driving accidents that often include dangerous head-on collisions, T-bones, or other actions that occur at intersections. The immense force upon impact during a severe accident can lead to drivers or occupants having their limbs pinned under the steering column or a seat. Limbs that get crushed lose blood flow.
Sometimes doctors can restore blood flow, but other times they cannot. Instead, they must make the difficult decision to amputate to prevent the dead limb from spreading infection throughout the body. Without amputation, those with crushed limbs will die. Amputees must cope with immense challenges after losing a limb. Not only do they experience real pain and possible phantom limb pain, but they must face the mental trauma of losing a limb and the costly treatment of rehabilitation and therapy.
Third-Party Liability in East Meadow Drunk Driving Accidents
When someone drinks and gets behind the wheel, it’s difficult for them to dispute liability when they cause an accident, especially when they are beyond the legal limit. Depending on the circumstances of an accident, some drunk driving accident victims can seek compensation from third parties who are responsible for serving alcohol to the driver who caused the accident.
Under New York law, any person or business who contributes to another’s intoxication opens themselves up to financial liability for damages if that person gets behind the wheel and causes an accident, including adults and those under age 21. This includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other establishments. Social hosts who serve alcohol in their home might also be liable for damages if a guest gets drunk, drives away, and causes an accident.
Recouping Losses After an East Meadow Drunk Driving Accident
If you sue the drunk driver and/or the third party who served alcohol to the driver, you could recover compensatory and exemplary damages under New York law. Exemplary damages, which are sometimes referred to as punitive damages, serve to punish the drunk driver for extreme negligence and deter future negligent behavior. However, courts only award exemplary damages in rare cases.
In most situations, drunk driving accident victims receive compensation for economic and non-economic losses incurred as a result of the drunk driving accident and their injuries.
Examples of the most commonly awarded compensatory damages included in a settlement or jury award include:
- Medical expenses including ambulance and emergency services, emergency room visit, hospital stay, surgery, X-rays, aftercare, prescription medication, and travel expenses
- Estimated future medical expenses when a drunk driving accident causes a permanent disability that requires ongoing medical treatment or long-term health care at home or in a nursing care facility
- Rehabilitation costs including specialized treatments with physical therapists, occupational therapist, psychologists, and others who help accident victims physically and mentally cope with the aftermath of their injuries
- Lost income from taking time away from work because of a drunk driving accident, treatment for injuries, and healing
- Estimated lost future wages when drunk driving accident injuries prevent someone from returning to work or working in the future
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse if applicable
- Scarring and disfigurement
If you have tragically lost a family member as a result of fatal injuries from a drunk driving accident, you might recoup losses related to the death of a loved one. New York law entitles eligible family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver or a third party.
Family members who prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit can recover some damages mentioned above and receive compensation for funeral costs and burial or cremation expenses. Wrongful death lawsuits also provide compensation for damage to relationships that occur from death, such as loss of parental support for a dependent child or loss of companionship for a surviving spouse.
Your East Meadow drunk driving accident lawyer can answer your questions about a wrongful death lawsuit and determine the viability of your claim.
East Meadow Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
If you have sustained injuries in an East Meadow drunk driving accident, New York law permits you to seek compensation in a civil lawsuit for losses incurred as a result of the accident and your injuries. The aftermath of a serious accident is a difficult time for victims and their families. You might feel upset, overwhelmed, and sure about how to go about recouping your losses after a drunk driving accident.
It’s in your best interest to meet with an East Meadow drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Until you have the opportunity to consult with an attorney, we offer the following answers to frequently asked questions about East Meadow drunk driving accidents and the process of recovering compensation.
What should I do if an East Meadow drunk driver hits me?
If you were in a drunk driving accident, we assume that you have already been to the emergency room and let a doctor examine you for common car accident injuries. If your accident was severe, you might have spent some time in the hospital. We also assume the police came to the scene of your accident to file an official crash report. In the days and weeks after your drunk driving accident, you need to take certain steps to preserve the value of your injury claim.
- Keep all medical bills and receipts. Your medical bills, pay stubs for missing work, and expenses related to the drunk driving accident and your injuries serve as proof of your economic loss for insurance claims and East Meadow drunk driving accident lawsuit. Consider keeping a separate folder—real or virtual—for everything related to your accident. When the time comes that you need to share this with your lawyer, you will have everything in one spot for easy access.
- Keep a journal. The way your accident injuries impact your life make up a portion of the value of your accident claim. Your physician will take note of the things you share, but you need to provide more information to support your claim. Each day, write or type out how you feel. Take note of positive and negative physical changes and also convey your emotional state. You can also include any financial struggles as a result of the accident in your journal.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. Keep all of your scheduled appointments with your doctor once he or she discharges you from the hospital. Additionally, follow all of your doctor’s recommendations, so the other side cannot claim you stunted your recovery.
- Do not talk about your case with others. Claims adjusters will investigate the accident and your injuries, which includes talking to whomever they can to get information. Keep information about your case private to protect the value of your claim.
- Stay off social media. Many insurance adjusters try to get information about a claimant on social media. It’s best to avoid all posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Something as seemingly harmless as family vacation pictures could negatively impact the value of your claim by giving the other side ammunition to argue your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
How does new york’s mandatory no-fault insurance affect my right to sue after an East Meadow drunk driving accident?
New York’s no-fault insurance laws require those who register a motor vehicle to carry a minimum of $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. After a drunk driving accident, each person who sustained injuries files a claim under their PIP policy to receive compensation for losses related to their injuries. In New York, PIP coverage only pays for 80 percent of reasonable and necessary medical expenses and lost wages of up to $2,000 per month up to the policy limit.
Some drunk driving accidents are so severe, that claimants quickly meet or exceed their PIP policy coverage, especially if they only carry the minimum amount. When this occurs, you can step outside the no-fault system to take legal action against the drunk driver or the third party responsible for the accident. In New York, PIP coverage extends to motorists who suffer injuries while walking or riding their bicycle.
Can I sue if I was a passenger in the vehicle with an East Meadow drunk driver who caused an accident?
Yes, you can take legal action if the friend or family member you were riding with caused an accident that led to injuries. First, you must file a claim under your PIP policy or the driver’s PIP policy to cover minor injuries. Once you’ve exhausted no-fault insurance options, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier and take further action to recover your losses. Some feel uncomfortable filing a claim against a family member or friend, but you need to protect yourself from loss.
Leave your personal relationship out of the equation by letting a drunk driving accident attorney handle communication with the insurance carrier or their legal team. You might not receive as much compensation as you would like because you chose to get in a vehicle with a drunk driver. Yet, if the driver was negligent, you will likely receive some compensation for your injuries and other losses. Your attorney can review the circumstances of the drunk driving accident and advise you on potential outcomes for your particular situation.
The East Meadow drunk driver was charged with a crime, so why do I have to sue for damages?
Justice comes in two forms after a drunk driver causes an accident and injuries: criminal charges and civil action. These two things are separate judicial processes that have different potential outcomes. Drivers who are convicted of drunk driving face court costs, fines, and often lose their licenses for a few months or longer. Repeat offenders sometimes face jail time and permanent revocation of their drivers’ licenses. Juries in criminal trials must find the driver is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the decision must be unanimous.
Those who take civil action against a drunk driver seek monetary damages for their injuries and related losses. The court evaluates whether the driver was negligent based on a preponderance of the evidence. The outcomes of each type of drunk driving case do not directly affect each other. Yet, many East Meadow drunk driving accident injury lawyers like to see the outcome of a criminal case before filing a lawsuit for a client. Typically, criminal proceedings occur quickly after an accident and end before bringing a lawsuit.
Will I receive punitive damages for my East Meadow drunk driving accident claim?
Punitive damages, referred to as exemplary damages in New York courts, exist to punish defendants for negligent behavior and deter them from engaging in that behavior in the future. Courts in New York, and elsewhere, reserve punitive damages for extreme cases that involve intentional harm or gross negligence. Sometimes New York courts award punitive damages in drunk driving cases, but predicting whether you receive them is not possible.
The court evaluates the condition of the drunk driver and his or her actions. If the drunk driver who hit you was a repeat offender, it’s more likely you could receive punitive damages. Your East Meadow drunk driving lawyer can review your case and advise you on whether it warrants asking for punitive damages in your claim.
Can I sue the East Meadow business that served alcohol to the drunk driver that hit me?
New York law permits you to seek compensation from third parties who potentially share financial liability for accident injuries with the drunk driver. This includes restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and other businesses that sell or serve alcohol. If the sale of alcohol to a person contributes to their intoxication, and they cause an accident, the business could be liable. The same is true for businesses that serve or sell alcohol to minors.
New York law also allows drunk driving accident victims to sue social hosts who provide alcohol to guests in a social setting. If the driver who hit you was at someone’s home, an event, or a party, the person who served alcohol could share liability with the drunk driver if they contributed to his intoxication.
What is the statute of limitations for filing an East Meadow drunk driving accident claim?
New York law provides three years for you to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused the accident and your injuries. Courts are bound by the law, so they will not hear cases beyond the statute of limitations unless the law provides for an exception. These exceptions are rare, but they do happen.
For example, if the drunk driver fled the state for a few months to avoid getting served papers for a lawsuit, the court might toll, or extend, your case. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to take action as soon as possible so you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you are worried about time limits, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. He or she can review your case and advise you on whether your claim warrants an extension from the court.
How do I recover losses if the East Meadow drunk driver who hit me was not insured?
New York law requires drivers who register a vehicle to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Initially, you will rely on your PIP coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. Once you exhaust your PIP limits, your UM coverage will cover the additional amount up to your policy limit.
If your damages and losses exceed your PIP and UM policy limits, you likely will have to absorb them. You can directly sue the drunk driver who hit you, but even if the court rules in your favor, it will likely be difficult to collect on the judgment. If the driver had abundant financial resources, he or she would likely have insurance.
Your drunk driving accident lawyer can review your case and help determine the best steps for you to receive the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries possible for your circumstances.
Will I have to testify in court for my East Meadow drunk driving accident claim?
Most motorcycle accident claims involving accident injuries, including drunk driving accidents, settle before going to trial. Litigation is costly, so both sides have the incentive to avoid the courtroom and associated expenses. However, disputes over liability sometimes lead to a breakdown in negotiations, so going to trial is necessary.
It’s difficult for the insurance company or their legal team to directly dispute liability in a drunk driving accident case, but they can dispute the value of your claim and refuse to offer a reasonable amount of compensation for your injuries. In these situations, your attorney will need to prepare your case for litigation and advocate for you in the courtroom. If negotiations fail, you will likely have to testify in court about the accident, your injuries, and the impact they have had on your life.
Can I afford an East Meadow drunk driving accident lawyer to represent me?
Yes. It does not cost you anything up-front or out-of-pocket to hire a drunk driving accident attorney. Our East Meadow drunk driving law firm offers free case evaluations to potential clients to examine the circumstances of a claim and allow clients to ask questions related to the process and representation.
If we find you have a viable drunk driving accident claim and you want our legal counsel, we can take your case on a contingent fee basis. A contingent fee agreement gives your drunk driving accident lawyer permission to deduct their attorney fees only from any compensation you receive for your injuries. This could be a settlement check from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or it might be compensation received from a jury verdict in your favor.
An East Meadow Drunk Driving Accident Attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Can Help You
The award-winning personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP understand the tough decisions you need to make in the wake of a drunk driving accident. We can handle the finer details of your claim such as investigating the accident, gathering evidence to support your case, obtaining eyewitness statements, and securing expert testimony.
Ultimately, we aim to build a strong case against the drunk driver who caused your injuries to help you seek justice and receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. Our dedication and hard work give you time to focus on healing and recovery. We can negotiate with the insurance company and prepare your trial for litigation if necessary.
If you sustained injuries in an East Meadow drunk driving accident or you lost a family member because of a drunk driver, you should not have to face the financial hardship that comes with severe injuries on top of the physical pain and grief you might be experiencing. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP online or at (877) 565-2993 or start a confidential webchat with one of our representatives for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your accident, tell us about your injuries, and learn more about your legal options going forward.
East Meadow Office
90 Merrick Avenue, Suite 601
East Meadow, NY 11554
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“The team and Jocoby & Meyers are excellent. They make sure the client is well taken care of. They are great with communication and they take their time to make sure the client is satisfied. Will definitely recommend.”
Review by: Danielle H.
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