Bronx Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drunk drivers pose a deadly hazard on the road—a fact that every car accident lawyer knows all too well. Not only do drunk driving accidents claim the lives of close to 11,000 people per year, but also such accidents leave many others suffering from serious injuries and with lives altered forever by the impacts of those accidents.
If you suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving accident in the Bronx, you may need legal help to seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today for a free case evaluation.
How Alcohol Causes Accidents
Drunk driving accidents often involve more severe injuries than accidents between sober drivers. Alcohol can impair drivers in ways that both increase the risk of accidents and make those accidents more severe when they do occur.
- Alcohol slows reaction time. In an accident, every second counts. Unfortunately, drinking and driving can substantially slow reaction time, making it take longer for drivers to respond to potentially dangerous situations on the road. Not only does this make it more likely that a drunk driver will slam into another vehicle that turns unexpectedly, it can mean that if a hazard on the road sends the car spinning out of control, the driver cannot react in time to decrease the severity of the accident.
- Alcohol impairs motor control. Controlling a vehicle requires substantial motor skills. When under the influence of alcohol, drivers may lack the motor skills needed to safely control the vehicle. In an accident, that means driver may be unable to avoid a collision or decrease accident severity.
- Alcohol interferes with concentration. In a single second, at seventy miles per hour, a car can travel a third of the length of a football field. Lack of concentration can make it difficult for drivers to respond to events on the road. Drunk drivers may also struggle to keep their attention on the accident, causing them to react inappropriately or lose focus.
- Alcohol can prevent rational decision-making. In an accident, both drivers must think and respond quickly and rationally. Not only does this help prevent accidents, it can significantly decrease accident severity. For example, a rational, sober driver might choose to drive onto the shoulder of the road if a car suddenly pulls over in front of him or her. A drunk driver, on the other hand, might plow straight into that driver—or, in a worst-case scenario, accidentally slam on the gas pedal instead of the brake. Drunk drivers may also make poor driving-related decisions, like excess speeding or ignoring traffic signals.
Increased Injuries in Alcohol-Related Crashes
In alcohol-related crashes, many people suffer worse injuries than in accidents that don’t involve alcohol. The drunk driver may fail to even try to avoid an accident, leading to increased rates of speed. At higher rates of speed, cars strike with a greater degree of force, which can, in turn, cause more severe injuries. Thats when its between two cars not to mention the severity of drunk driving motorcycle accidents and truck accidents.
Drunk drivers may also fail to rationalize the need to turn away from another vehicle or to attempt to avoid an accident, which may leave occupants of the second vehicle suffering from more serious injuries than if the drunk driver had attempted to avoid the accident.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can cause anything from a decrease in overall mobility to full paralysis below the site of the injury.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can impact every area of a patient’s life, from his ability to regulate his emotions to focus, concentration, and memory.
- Amputation. Following an amputation, patients will need substantial occupational therapy to relearn how to perform many common tasks and activities.
- Burns. If a car catches on fire following an accident, it can cause serious burns that lead to long-term scarring and extreme pain.
- Chest contusions. Chest contusions often cause more serious injuries than people realize at the time of the accident. Hours later, the victim may experience swelling, pain, and difficulty breathing.
- Broken bones. In many cases, broken bones require a long time to repair and can cause lifelong difficulties, including pain or loss of mobility.
- Severe cuts and lacerations. Serious cuts and lacerations can cause blood loss as well as substantial scarring.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Drunk Driving Accident
Following a drunk driving accident, many people turn to a personal injury claim against the responsible driver’s insurance company to help provide the finances needed to pay medical bills. In New York, your personal injury protection insurance will cover the first expenses related to your accident, up to around $50,000 of coverage depending on your policy. However, if your injuries in a drunk driving accident exceed the amount offered by the policy, a personal injury claim can help you get the funds you need.
Does the other driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) impact the compensation I can receive in a personal injury claim after a drunk driving accident?
The other driver’s blood alcohol content will not change the compensation you can receive for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. While drunk drivers with a high BAC may face additional criminal penalties following an accident, including fines and fees, license suspension, and, in some cases, jail time, that will not impact the compensation you can receive after a drunk driving accident. Drunk drivers, however, may cause more damage to others involved in accidents due to their decreased motor control, reaction time, and decision-making abilities.
“Great experience, best car accident law firm. I was rear ended in a car accident and needed car accident lawyer to represent me, One of my friend suggested to contact Jacoby & Meyers. Jacoby & Meyers helped me through this difficult time and I got compensated.” -Lucy M.
How much compensation should I expect after a drunk driving accident?
Just as in any other type of car accident, after a drunk driving accident, the insurance company that covers the drunk driver will provide compensation based on your expenses and the maximum coverage of the policy. Because New York has a no-fault law—that is, drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance that will cover the first percentage of their medical bills and missed time at work—the insurance company will base the compensation you receive on the amount that exceeds the coverage of your personal injury protection policy.
Typically, compensation includes:
- Medical expenses. After a drunk driving accident, you may have substantial immediate medical expenses as well as significant ongoing medical expenses, depending on the extent of your injuries. Your claim should include a record of all your medical expenses, beginning with ambulance transport or an emergency room or urgent care visit at the time of the accident and ending with anticipated future ongoing expenses. Some patients, for example, may need ongoing physical or occupational therapy for years after their accidents. You should also include the cost of durable medical equipment, home modifications, and home health care in your claim.
- Lost time at work. Not only do your injuries cause substantial expenses in the form of medical bills, but they may also prevent you from paying your other bills. Lost time at work often adds up fast, especially if you do not have a large amount of sick leave saved up. When your combined medical bills and lost wages exceed the amount of your personal injury protection insurance, however, you can include those amounts as part of your claim.
- Lost earning potential. In addition to missing time at work, some types of accidents can permanently prevent you from returning to your former profession. A traumatic brain injury, for example, may cause emotional regulation issues that prevent you from working in a customer service position or leave you struggling to handle work responsibilities that require high focus and concentration. Including lost earning potential as part of your claim after a drunk driving accident can give you the funds you need to pursue further education or certifications, allowing you to embark on a new profession.
- Pain and suffering. Drunk driving accidents cause more than physical pain and suffering. If you face scarring or severe physical limitations after your accident, it can impact you socially and emotionally. Many types of injuries also prevent you from attending events you really wanted to attend or engaging in activities that have always been part of your life; for example, if you have spinal cord damage, it might prevent you from engaging in athletic pursuits. Talking with an attorney can help you better quantify that pain and suffering and how it has impacted your life after the accident.
Do I have to have an attorney to file a personal injury claim after a drunk driving accident?
After a drunk driving accident, you do not have to have an attorney to file a claim for compensation. In many cases, your insurance company will help you submit the claim to the other driver’s insurance company. You can also deal with the other driver’s insurance company directly. However, having an attorney on your side, especially if you have serious injuries after a drunk driving accident, can offer many advantages. Consider:
- Insurance companies do not always offer the maximum compensation after an accident. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have seen many cases of the insurance company issuing a low settlement offer immediately after the accident. The insurance company may want to minimize financial responsibility, even when the drunk driver the company covers caused serious injuries in an accident. Most of the time, insurance companies will not issue an offer for maximum compensation immediately, even if you deserve it based on the extent of your injuries. In some cases, simply having a lawyer file your claim can increase the compensation offered.
- Negotiation takes time and effort. When you start the personal injury claims process, you will start by submitting a package that includes all of your expenses and your request for compensation. The insurance company can accept that offer and issue a settlement, or it can come back with an offer of its own. Often, arriving at a compromise involves a great deal of negotiation, all of which takes time away from your other activities. When you hire an attorney, he or she can take over those tasks for you, which means you can focus on your recovery.
- An attorney can help gather evidence that supports your claim. In some cases, you may need to bring in expert witnesses or provide evidence to support your claim and show who caused your accident. An attorney can help seek out that evidence, often opening doors that might not open for you: collecting security footage from local businesses or accessing traffic cameras that might have captured the accident, for example.
- An attorney can help you better understand exactly what compensation you deserve and from whom after a drunk driving accident. Many people do not realize what funds they really deserve after a drunk driving accident, especially if outside factors contributed to the accident. By working with an attorney, you can get a better idea of exactly how much compensation you deserve and what responsible parties need to contribute to that payment.
Who has to pay damages after a drunk driving accident?
Obviously, the drunk driver who caused your accident bears primary responsibility for your injuries. In a drunk driving accident, however, you may also want to seek compensation from other sources who contributed to the accident. Consider:
- Did the drunk driver drink at a bar or restaurant? Bartenders and servers should pay careful attention to the inebriation level of their customers, especially if they know those customers plan to drive. If the bar or restaurant over-serves a driver, that facility may bear some responsibility for injuries that occur after a drunk driving accident.
- Did other factors contribute to the accident? Mechanical failures, for example, could leave responsibility with either the manufacturer or a mechanic who poorly repaired the vehicle. Talking with an attorney can help you better determine what other factors could have contributed to your accident and how those factors may impact the compensation you receive.
Alcohol-Related Reported Injury Crashes in Bronx, NY
When You Need an Attorney After a Bronx Drunk Driving Accident, Call Us
If you suffered serious injuries in a Bronx drunk driving accident, you may need an attorney to help you seek compensation. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today at (718) 294-0813 or use our online contact form to contact us.