Staten Island Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
The Staten Island drunk driving accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, believe in holding drunk drivers accountable, not just in criminal court, but also for the financial consequences of their dangerous, reckless choices. Our firm represents victims of Staten Island drunk driving accidents and their families, helping them to recover the compensation from all parties who caused them harm.
Despite concerted public and nonprofit sector efforts to educate the public about drunk driving, alcohol-related accidents continue to happen. Official New York State data indicates that 160 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes occurred on Staten Island in one recent year; two people died in those crashes, and another 83 suffered varying degrees of personal injury. In New York State, almost one-third of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.
Which is to say, drunk driving continues to be a major problem on New York roads, including on Staten Island. It is a problem with massive real-world consequences. Drunk driving accidents kill and injure thousands of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists every year. The impact of those injuries and fatalities ripple through families and communities, causing widespread physical, emotional, and economic pain.
If a Staten Island driving accident has upended your life and caused pain for you or your family, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, online or at (877) 505-2368 to hear how we can help.
Drunk Driving Accident Injury Law in Staten Island
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, is a personal injury law firm throughout the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—including Staten Island. For nearly five decades, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s lawyers have dedicated themselves to the mission of providing victims of accidental injury the highest quality legal services with compassion and care. Fighting to recover compensation for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists harmed by drunk drivers occupies a core part of our practice.
Our track record of success in a wide range of personal injury matters illustrates our firm-wide commitment to excellence. Over the years, our lawyers have obtained millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and jury verdicts. While we take pride in the high-dollar results we have achieved, we take even more satisfaction from our clients’ praise of our commitment to personalized service and our determination to achieve the best possible result in every matter, no matter the amount of money involved. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, every client deserves to have his or her case treated as the most important one we handle.
Drunk Driving in New York: Illegal and Dangerous
There is no excuse, in this day-and-age, for driving drunk. With the rise of ride-sharing services, anyone can find a ride home when needed, and the expense of a ride with Lyft or Uber will always be a tiny fraction of the financial, physical, and emotional costs inflicted by a drunk driving accident (or arrest, for that matter).
Drunk driving is illegal in New York, of course. Those convicted of driving while intoxicated face the prospect of steep fines, revocation of their driving privileges, and imprisonment. New York law sets the “legal limit” for a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), at which the driver is deemed to be intoxicated, at 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter for adult drivers, 0.04 grams for commercial vehicle drivers, and 0.02 grams for drivers under 21 years of age.
But “legal limits” are merely upper limits. A driver with any alcohol in his or her system has slowed reaction times, compromised vision, impaired motor function, and difficulty making decisions compared to a driver who has not been drinking. That is why New York makes it a crime to drive while “ability is impaired by alcohol,” which occurs when a driver’s BAC is between 0.05 and 0.07 grams, or when other signs of impairment are present. The fact of the matter is that alcohol impairment begins at the very first sip. The only safe amount of alcohol to have in your system when you drive is zero.
Legal Liability for Staten Island Drunk Driving Accidents
Staten Islanders injured in a drunk driving accident can resort to the civil legal system to hold the drunk driver accountable. By the same token, they may also take legal action against anyone with legal-responsibility for the driver’s actions, as well as anyone else whose actions contributed to the accident.
Liability of Drunk Drivers and Those Legally Responsible for Their Actions
In the typical Staten Island drunk driving accident, the lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, will look to a variety of parties as potentially having legal liability to their client. These often include:
- The drunk driver. In virtually all cases, lawyers will investigate whether the drunk driver’s actions contributed to the accident. Most (but not all—see below) of the time they will find that the drunk driver did contribute to the accident and, therefore, that the driver should have legal liability for any damages the accident caused.
- The drunk driver’s employer. In New York, as elsewhere, employers have legal responsibility for harm caused by their employees in the course of their employment. A Staten Island drunk driving accident that happens while the driver is “on the clock” at his job will often place legal liability squarely on the shoulders of his employer.
- A restaurant, bar, or club. Under New York’s Dram Shop Law, a commercial establishment that sells alcohol directly to a “visibly intoxicated” customer may have legal liability for damages the customer subsequently causes in a drunk driving accident.
- Anyone who supplies alcohol to a minor. Similar to the Dram Shop Law, in New York, anyone who serves alcohol to a minor who then goes on to injure someone in a drunk driving accident will have legal liability for the damages the minor causes. This is an especially powerful provision of New York law, because the “legal limit” for minors is a BAC of just 0.02 grams.
This is just a sample of the parties who may have legal liability in connection with the actions of a drunk driver in a Staten Island car accident, of course. Every case is different. One job of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, is to investigate any parties who may share liability with a Staten Island drunk driver.
Other Parties With Potential Liability
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, lawyers do not stop there. Our team also recognizes that even when alcohol is involved in a Staten Island motor vehicle accident, that does not always mean the drunk driver’s actions constituted the only reason the accident happened. Accordingly, we look for other parties who may have also contributed to the accident, including:
- Drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident;
- Car and car-part manufacturers whose products may have been defective; and
- Local and state governments if poor road design or maintenance played a role.
Our team never rests until we are sure we have invested and vetted every party who may have legal liability to our client in connection with a Staten Island drunk driving accident. By tracking down every potentially-liable party, we give our clients the best possible chance of maximizing compensation for their injuries.
Injuries in Staten Island Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk drivers inflict devastating harm on accident victims and their families. Fatalities are common in drunk driving accidents on Staten Island and elsewhere, and victims who survive a Staten Island drunk driving accident often must contend with unbearable, overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial pain. Some of the injuries common to drunk driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries that result from a blow or jolt to the head, and which can cause loss of consciousness and a host of cognitive, motor, and emotional difficulties;
- Spinal cord injuries that interrupt the brain’s ability to send messages to the body, leaving victims paralyzed;
- Crushed or traumatically-amputated limbs resulting from the collapse of the passenger cabin of a vehicle, and which permanently saddle victims with significant physical disabilities;
- Burns from fires and explosions, which take years to heal and may leave disfiguring scars;
- Broken bones and orthopedic injuries that cause persistent pain and permanently limit range of motion; and
- Severe internal and soft tissue damage that can spur serious secondary health complications.
This is not a complete list, nor can it be. To list every injury potentially resulting from a Staten Island drunk driving accident would be to catalog every kind of injury a human body could endure. No matter what kind of injury a drunk driving accident on Staten Island caused you, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s lawyers are here to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Damages for Staten Island Drunk Driving Accidents
After identifying the parties who owe money to our clients for damages caused by a Staten Island drunk driver, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, lawyers demand that the parties pay:
- Economic damages (also known as “special damages”) to compensate injured clients for the out-of-pocket costs caused by a drunk driver, including healthcare-related costs, the cost of in-home services, physical and emotional therapy expenses, and lost wages from missing work or business opportunities.
- Non-economic damages (also known as “general damages”) to compensate injured clients for the impact of a Staten Island drunk driving accident on their lives and personal relationships.
- Punitive damages designed to punish wrongdoers in cases where the evidence shows the drunk driver (or some other party) acted in willful, wanton disregard of the rights and safety of the accident victim.
There is never a guarantee that a legal claim arising out of a Staten Island drunk driving accident will succeed in recovering all (or any) of the types of damages above. Every case presents its own challenges. But Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, promises that its team will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Take Quick Action After a Staten Island Drunk Driving Accident
The sudden, unexpected trauma of a drunk driving collision on Staten Island can upend the lives of accident victims and their families. Beyond purchasing insurance, no one plans for a drunk driving accident. Such accidents just happen.
The team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has years of experience guiding clients through the confusing, frightening aftermath of drunk driving accidents. The sooner clients reach out to us for help, the better their chances of maximizing their compensation. Here is why:
- Our team takes over interactions with insurance companies. This protects our clients from the tactics insurers frequently engage in to try to minimize their own financial exposure to a Staten Island drunk driving accident, such as contacting accident victims directly to try to trick them into saying something that undermines their case, or into accepting a quick settlement offer that underpays them for their injuries;
- We get started investigating the accident. Evidence that could prove crucial in proving fault in any kind of motor vehicle accident has a way of disappearing if not immediately secured and preserved. The sooner we can begin collecting that evidence, the stronger the body of evidence we use to prove liability will be.
- We help our clients coordinate with law enforcement. Staten Island drunk driving accidents usually prompt criminal investigations. Law enforcement often wants our client’s help in piecing together what happened. We help to ensure our clients have the opportunity to contribute to that investigation, while also protecting our clients’ rights to also seek compensation through the civil legal process.
Simply put, quick action matters in reacting to a Staten Island drunk driver accident. We understand it may not feel natural or obvious to call a lawyer as soon as possible after an alcohol-related crash leaves you injured or grieving a tragic death, but over our decades of experience, we have seen time-and-again how promptly involving our team in the immediate response to a drunk driving collision on Staten Island and elsewhere in the Tri-State area makes all the difference in how much money our clients can recover.
Staten Island Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
Drunk driving accidents on Staten Island cause fatalities and severe injuries far too often. Victims of these accidents often have rights under New York law to receive compensation for their injuries and losses. Victims often lack basic information about how to get that compensation, and about how to make sure the compensation they receive pays them fully for the harm they have suffered.
Below, we answer some frequently-asked-questions about victims’ rights after suffering injuries in a Staten Island drunk driving accident. For answers to specific questions about injuries you sustained in a crash caused by a Staten Island drunk driver, contact the experienced drunk driving accident injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can file a Staten Island drunk driving accident claim, probably against the driver’s insurance company, and possibly other individuals, corporations, or government agencies for damages. An experienced Staten Island drunk driving accident injury lawyer can evaluate your rights.
We say possibly, and not definitely, for several reasons.
First, New York is a no-fault auto insurance state. So, if you carry or are covered by a New York auto insurance policy, you benefit from personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage that serves as the primary insurance to pay for your medical expenses and lost income after a crash. PIP coverage does not depend on who caused the crash. It pays benefits to you no matter who was at fault.
No-fault insurance has limits, however, and many people suffer serious injuries in Staten Island drunk driving accidents that cost them far more than what PIP covers. Under New York law, drunk driving accident victims with serious injuries (ones that result in severe or permanent limitations or disability) can typically also sue the at-fault drunk driver.
Victims may also have the right to sue other parties who have legal responsibility for the drunk driver’s actions, or whose own irresponsible actions contributed to the cause of the crash.
In New York, anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions cause harm to someone else can face legal liability for that person’s injuries and losses. A drunk driver usually has legal liability for causing a drunk driving accident. However, the driver is not necessarily the only party who might face liability.
Other liable parties could include:
- Bars and restaurants, if they serve alcohol to a patron who is visibly intoxicated or is a minor, if that patron goes on to cause a drunk driving accident;
- Social hosts who serve alcohol to a minor who goes on to cause a drunk driving accident;
- Anyone else whose dangerous decisions or actions contribute to the cause of a drunk driving accident, even if their conduct does not relate to the driver’s intoxication. For example, if the defective brakes in the drunk driver’s car contributed to the accident’s cause, then the brake manufacturer could have legal liability. So could a government agency, if its failure to design, build, or maintain a safe roadway contributed to the cause of the crash.
The most dependable way to determine who might have a legal liability to you for the injuries you suffered in a Staten Island drunk driving crash is to work with an experienced motor vehicle accident injury attorney.
First, it is important to understand that there is no guarantee that you will recover compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit. Every Staten Island drunk driving accident has unique facts and circumstances that affect its outcome. To give yourself the best possible chance of recovering compensation through legal action, always work with an experienced Staten Island drunk driving accident injury attorney.
As a general matter, victims of Staten Island drunk drivers may have the right to sue for compensation that pays for economic and non-economic damages they suffered.
Economic damages consist of quantifiable expenses relating to a drunk driving accident and the injuries victims sustain, such as:
- Medical bills, including both past and future expenses
- Lost wages, including both past and future wages
- Rehabilitative services and equipment
- Household/ domestic services
- Lost earning capacity
- Personal property losses
- Additional out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages represent all other types of harm a drunk driving accident victim suffers, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
In rare cases, Staten Island drunk driving accident victims may also have the right to seek punitive (or exemplary) damages in a lawsuit. These damages seek to punish extreme or outrageous conduct that led to a drunk driving accident, and to deter that conduct in the future.
The amount of money a Staten Island drunk driving accident victim might have the right to receive can vary widely, depending on the circumstances of the crash, the severity of the victim’s injuries and losses, and the victim’s age, overall health, and income at the time of the accident. Also, the amount a victim has the right to receive, and the amount the victim can actually hope to receive, may vary, depending on the financial resources of any party with legal liability to the victim, and the difficulty of proving that liability.
For an estimate of the potential range of damages you may recover by taking legal action for your injuries after a Staten Island drunk driving accident, contact an experienced attorney today for a free case evaluation.
You likely still have options for obtaining compensation.
First, because New York is a no-fault auto insurance state, your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will likely cover some of the expenses of your injuries and disabilities.
Second, many New York auto insurance policies include underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, which pays benefits when a victim suffers serious injuries that the at-fault drunk driver’s insurance (or lack thereof) does not cover.
Third, as we mentioned above, the drunk driver is not the only party with potential legal liability to you for your Staten Island drunk driving accident injuries. Speak with an experienced attorney today to explore whether some other individual, business, or government agency might share liability with the driver and owe you compensation.
No, but they may affect the legal strategy an experienced attorney recommends for obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Drunk driving is illegal, obviously, so the Staten Island District Attorney may bring criminal charges against the driver in your accident. Regardless of how those criminal proceedings turn out, your rights to take legal action seeking compensation remain the same.
However, that does not mean the criminal proceedings against the drunk driver do not affect when or how you might obtain compensation. What happens in a criminal proceeding could influence the timing and strength of your case for damages. For example, the DA may ask you to serve as a witness in criminal proceedings, which would mean you could potentially serve as a witness at a criminal trial and answer questions under oath about the accident and your injuries. That testimony could impact your claim for damages. So could its timing relative to when you file a lawsuit.
For that reason, we always encourage victims of Staten Island drunk drivers to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident, so that the attorney can help to navigate the potential cross-currents of criminal proceedings and their claims for damages.
In New York, spouses and close family members of victims killed in a drunk driving accident may have the legal right to seek compensation for their tragic loss in a pair of lawsuits (virtually always filed together) called a survival action and a wrongful death action. A survival action is, essentially, the lawsuit the victim could have filed had the victim lived. A wrongful death action seeks compensation for losses resulting from the death, such as loss of financial support and expenses relating to a funeral or burial.
New York law dictates which family member has the right to file these dual lawsuits. Speak with an experienced Staten Island drunk driving accident attorney today to learn about your family’s rights.
The statute of limitations in New York for a Staten Island drunk driving accident claim is three years from the date of the injury in most cases, although a complicated set of rules can shorten or lengthen this time period.
This means that a victim must file a legal action within that period, or lose the right to damages altogether. It does not mean a victim should wait two years and eleven months before talking to a lawyer, however. Just the opposite: victims should contact an attorney as soon as possible after a Staten Island drunk driving accident, before critical evidence goes missing and witness memories begin to fade.
At the most basic level, a lawyer can help by handling all aspects of the process of getting you the compensation you need and deserve for your Staten Island drunk driving accident injuries.
The specific actions a lawyer may take on a victim’s behalf vary from case-to-case and victim-to-victim.
As a general matter, however, experienced attorneys can:
- Investigate the accident and determine who has legal liability for the victim’s injuries.
- Determine how much money the victim has a legal right to recover as compensation for those injuries.
- Negotiate with insurance companies and defense lawyers to obtain compensation through a settlement of the victim’s claims.
- File and pursue a legal action in New York court against the legally liable parties to drive them toward a reasonable settlement or, if necessary, to prove the victim’s claims at a trial.
An initial consultation with our skilled Staten Island drunk driving accident injury lawyers is free of charge. It costs you nothing to sit down with us for a case evaluation. During that meeting or conversation, the lawyer can learn about what happened in your accident and give you a rough idea of whether you have a claim for damages, and you can size-up the lawyer to decide if the lawyer seems like a good fit for you.
If you and our lawyers agree to work together, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay the lawyer nothing upfront to get started working on your case. Instead, you and the lawyer agree to a percentage of any money the lawyer recovers on your behalf that the lawyer gets to keep as a fee. In other words, the lawyer only gets paid if you get paid.
First and foremost, make sure you have received appropriate medical attention. Always seek medical care as soon as possible after any Staten Island drunk driving accident, even if you do not think you suffered a serious injury. Some serious, even life-threatening, injuries may not show symptoms right away.
A doctor can perform simple tests to evaluate you for traumatic brain injury, spinal damage, internal bleeding, and other emergency medical conditions that, if left untreated, could cause severe or fatal health complications. A doctor visit will also create medical records that an attorney may need as evidence to prove your claim for damages in a future legal action.
Then, contact our experienced Staten Island drunk driving accident injury attorney for a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.
Do not wait. The clock is ticking on your rights, and the sooner you speak with a skilled lawyer, the better your chances of obtaining the maximum compensation you need and deserve for your Staten Island drunk driving accident injuries.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP: Your Attorneys for Staten Island Driving Accident Injuries
There is no excuse for drunk driving. Holding drunk drivers accountable is one of the most important ways to make the brazenly-reckless decision to drive drunk as costly to the driver as possible. If a Staten Island drunk driver’s actions upend your life, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, online or call us at (877) 505-2368 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to discuss your legal options.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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