In one moment, one person’s bad decision can cause a lifetime of pain. Despite the known dangers of drunk driving, drivers continue to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. In doing so, they put everyone at risk.
Cherry Hill drunk driving accidents, while preventable, are an unfortunate reality for those who are impacted by them. State law allows victims of drunk driving accidents to bring a civil case for damages against the drunk driver. However, these cases are not necessarily as straightforward as one would hope. Often, once insurance companies get involved, things become more difficult.
You do not need to go through this process alone. By working with a dedicated Cherry Hill DUI accident attorney, you can be better prepared for what lies ahead. A Cherry Hill DUI accident lawyer will take care of every aspect of your case – from ensuring you obtain the necessary medical care and preparing an insurance claim to negotiating a settlement offer or litigating a case at trial – so you can focus on what is important.
If you have been injured in a DUI accident, you deserve an attorney who will work hard to get you the compensation that you deserve. The Cherry Hill DUI accident lawyers at Console & Associates pride ourselves in providing a unique form of client-centered representation that always puts your needs first. We have dedicated our careers to helping accident victims pursue justice, accountability, and the compensation they need to get their life back on track.
Call (856) 778-5500 today for your free, no-risk consultation. We can start to help with your case immediately.
Being involved in a Cherry Hill drunk driving accident is a traumatic experience, to say the least. One moment, everything is fine, and the next: total chaos. A driver comes out of nowhere, running a red light, crossing over the median, or careening the wrong way down a one-way street.
The moments after an accident can only be described as a blur. You are injured, confused, and upset. The drunk driver may still be on the scene, but it likely won’t make a difference, because they cannot be much assistance in their condition.
At Console & Associates, our dedicated team of Cherry Hill drunk driving accident lawyers understand how difficult this time is. We’ve been helping DUI accident victims since 1994. Here’s our list of the most important steps to take after a drunk driving accident:
Drunk driving is a major problem in Cherry Hill and across New Jersey. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, 22 percent of traffic fatalities involved a driver who was classified as “alcohol-impaired” based on a blood-alcohol content (BAC) above the 0.08 legal limit. However, in 28 percent of fatal crashes, the driver had an amount of alcohol in their system that wasn’t above the legal limit of 0.08.
Alcohol impairment refers to when a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of 0.08. Drunk driving accidents are startlingly common and very often fatal. In fact, more than 10,497 people died due to drunk driving on American Roads in 2016, and 137 people lost their lives as a result of a drunk driver in N.J. alone, Patch reported.
In 2016, alcohol impairment played a part in more than 25 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Notably, this figure does not include the considerable number of “alcohol-involved” fatalities in which the driver had alcohol in their system, but their BAC was under 0.08.
That’s a good question, one that both lawmakers and law enforcement would like to know the answer to. Perhaps part of the issue is Cherry Hill’s close proximity to Philadelphia. People commute between these two cities frequently for work, shopping, entertainment, dining, and other purposes.
As a whole, New Jersey has a dense population. The area of South Jersey, where Cherry Hill is located, is a lot less dense than North Jersey – and that can lull drivers into a false sense of security. The numerous businesses, workplaces, restaurants, and retail stores and shopping malls in Cherry Hill lead to a great deal of traffic congestion. A motorist who chooses to drive drunk on the busy roadways of Cherry Hill is likely to hit another vehicle and injury its occupants.
Cherry Hill is located near several large interstate highways, including:
Many DUI accidents occur on the interstate highways that stretch through N.J. However, DUI accidents most often occur on state highways, county roads, U.S. routes, and major parkways and turnpikes. While neither the Garden State Parkway nor the Atlantic City Expressway cuts directly through Cherry Hill, they are not far away, and many motorists use them to travel to and from Cherry Hill.
Anecdotally, we know that many Cherry Hill DUI accidents occur on Friday and Saturday evening. The thousands of people who travel over the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philly for a weekend night on the town – which typically includes drinking – make their way back into South Jersey, their driving skills worse for the wear of alcohol consumption.
Looking at the data can tell us a lot more about the timing of drunk driving accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration keeps track of all DUI accidents and when they occur. Both in terms of an absolute number, as well as on a percentage basis, most DUI accidents occur between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.
In fact, according to data from 2016, during this three-hour span, there were 2,105 people killed in DUI accidents. This represented 57 percent of all traffic-related fatalities occurring during that time. Thus, between half and two-thirds of all deadly car accidents occurring between midnight and 3 a.m. involve an impaired driver.
The second deadliest time when it comes to drunk driving accidents was between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight, during which 41 percent of all fatal traffic accidents involved alcohol.
As a national trend, the total number of fatal car accidents is decreasing, year over year. For example, from 2016 to 2017, the total number of fatal traffic accidents dropped from 37,806 to 37,133, a 1.8 percent decline resulting in 673 fewer deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Not surprisingly, over this same period, the number of DUI accidents is decreasing, as well. However, fatal DUI accidents decreased by only 1.1 percent. This equates to just 122 fewer deaths in 2017 than there were in 2016.
This trend may not be as positive in the Garden State, according to the most recent data from the New Jersey State Police. For example, in 2016, there were a total of 151 fatal New Jersey DUI accidents, resulting in 169 deaths. In 2017, there were a total of 158 fatal New Jersey DUI accidents, resulting in 174 deaths.
The New Jersey State Police also reported on the percentage of alcohol involvement in fatal traffic accidents in NJ during these years. In 2016, the driver had consumed some alcohol in 28.6 percent of the accidents and was legally intoxicated in 12.1 percent of the accidents. In 2017, the driver had consumed some alcohol in 24.8 percent of the accidents and was legally intoxicated in 10.4 percent of the accidents. This represents a significant decrease in the rate of DUI accidents, but not in the absolute number of either fatal accidents or the deaths they cause.
The data from 2018 is less encouraging. In 2018, there were a total of 143 fatal New Jersey DUI accidents, resulting in 163 deaths. In terms of all fatal traffic accidents, the driver had consumed some alcohol in 29 percent of the accidents – even higher than 2016’s rate – and was legally intoxicated in 11.7 percent of the accidents. Thus, while the number of DUI accidents decreased, the rate of intoxicated driving went up.
In short, drunk driving remains a serious problem that results in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths across the state.
One of the most important things to do after a Cherry Hill impaired driving accident – if not the most important thing – is obtaining prompt medical care. At Console & Associates, our dedicated team of injury advocates represents clients across South Jersey, including those who were treated at any of the following hospitals:
Drunk driving is illegal. However, unlike many other states, New Jersey classifies driving while intoxicated (DWI) as a traffic violation rather than a criminal offense.
Under state law, anyone who has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 is legally considered to be drunk. However, even if a driver has a BAC of less than 0.08, they can still be intoxicated if their alcohol consumption negatively impacted their ability to drive safely. For those drivers under the age of 21, there is a “zero tolerance” rule, meaning that they are not allowed to have any alcohol (a BAC of 0.01 or more) in their system.
Notably, those with commercial driver’s licenses, such as bus drivers and truck drivers, are subject to a lower maximum BAC. These drivers are only permitted to have a BAC of 0.04.
When it comes to car insurance, New Jersey is a no-fault state. This means that, in most cases, you will file a claim for the payment of medical expenses with your own insurance after a Cherry Hill car accident, even if the other driver was at fault.
That said, in cases involving serious injury or death, an accident victim or their family can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This is often the case in DUI accidents.
Figuring out which insurance company is responsible for compensating an accident victim, and for which harms and losses, can be a challenge. Often, when multiple insurance companies are involved, each looks to the other to write the check. Needless to say, this can result in a major delay in receiving much-needed compensation after a Cherry Hill drunk driving accident.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and what you need to prove to hold the drunk driver accountable for their actions.
In many cases, state law allows those injured in a Cherry Hill drunk driving crash to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault driver. Your ability to seek financial compensation is totally independent of any criminal charges that the drunk driver is facing. Thus, even if a drunk driver is not charged, resolves the criminal case against them for a lesser charge, or is found not guilty in a criminal trial, you can still proceed with a civil case for damages against the driver.
The reason for this is because civil and criminal cases require different levels of proof. Under the law, this is called the legal burden. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high legal standard. On the other hand, a Cherry Hill personal injury case must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is much easier to meet.
If you are successful in bringing a claim against a drunk driver, you can be awarded money damages based on the injuries you sustained and the impact the accident had on your life. The harms and losses for which you’re seeking compensation are typically divided up into economic damages and non-economic damages.
A few of the most common types of damages DWI accident victims can recover compensation for include:
To successfully bring a case against a drunk driver, you must establish the elements of a New Jersey negligence claim, which include proving each of the following:
Of course, all drivers owe a duty to others on the road, and drunk driving is illegal. Thus, the first to elements in a Cherry Hill DUI case are typically readily met. However, these cases often come down to the final two elements.
Proving that another driver’s negligence caused your injuries can present challenges, especially if there were other factors in play. Perhaps you were speeding at the time, or maybe another driver was also negligent. Either of these things could complicate your claim.
Proving damages in a drunk driving case is often not a question of if you suffered damages, but the extent of your damages. To better understand the recovery process, and to get an idea of how much money you may be able to obtain for your case, contact the dedicated Cherry Hill DUI accident lawyers at Console & Associates to schedule a free consultation.
Some of the most common types of injuries in a Cherry Hill drunk driving accident include:
Any Cherry Hill car accident can result in serious, life-changing injuries. However, drunk driving accidents are more likely to result in serious injury or death due to the nature of many of these accidents. Drunk driving accidents frequently occur at high speeds or involve head-on collisions – or both. This is a deadly combination.
One of the most important considerations in a Cherry Hill impaired driving case is identifying all potentially liable parties. Of course, the impaired driver is an obvious choice. However, often, drunk drivers will not have the assets or insurance coverage necessary to provide you with the compensation you need and deserve after an accident. Thus, finding any other parties who can chip-in may significantly increase the amount of damages you ultimately recover.
For example, if the drunk driver was working at the time of the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim against their employer. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, employers can be legally responsible for the negligent actions of their employees, including drunk driving.
Another option is to file a claim against the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver to the point of intoxication. New Jersey has what is called a “Dram Shop” law, which allows DUI accident victims to hold bars or restaurants liable for injuries caused by a driver who was overserved by the establishment. The state’s dram shop law explains, “a person who sustains personal injury or property damage as a result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server may recover damages from a licensed alcoholic beverage server.”
To bring a dram shop case against a bar or restaurant, you must be able to show that the establishment negligently served alcoholic beverages to a “visibly intoxicated person” and that the accident was a “foreseeable consequence” of the establishment’s decision to serve the customer.
Anyone injured in a drunk driving accident can bring a case against the driver, as well as any other at-fault parties. For example, you can file a case if you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist struck by a drunk driver.
In addition, the family members of someone who was killed in a drunk driving accident can pursue a Cherry Hill wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties.
If you have been seriously injured in a Cherry Hill drunk driving accident, or lost a loved one as a result of a tragic accident, it is best to know what to expect. Dealing with the insurance companies after an accident can be overwhelming, especially as you are still trying to recover from your injuries or grieving your losses.
At Console & Associates, we are here to help. Our dedicated team of Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers can help with every step of the process, easing our burdens in every way we can.
When you bring Console & Associates into your corner, we will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. That includes handling all of the following duties for you:
One of the major hesitations that many accident victims have about calling an attorney is the cost. However, at Console & Associates, we handle our Cherry Hill drunk driving cases on a contingency basis, meaning we will not send you a bill for our services. In fact, you will not pay us a penny unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
We use a contingency fee arrangement because we believe it allows you to secure top-notch representation without needing to pay in advance. In addition, you won’t need to pay for any of the costs associated with your claim upfront; we cover all litigation-related costs and only recoup them if we are successful. This arrangement ensures that our interests are aligned with yours, because we don’t get paid unless you do.
We recognize that there are many Cherry Hill DUI accident law firms vying for your business. However, unlike many of our competitors, our team of lawyers has over 25 years of experience and handles personal injury claims exclusively.
Having represented thousands of clients over the years, we are aware of the challenges you are dealing with in the immediate aftermath of a drunk driving accident and in the weeks and months to come. We know how to make the challenging process as easy as possible for you and your family.
With over 25 years of experience handling all types of New Jersey DUI accident claims, we command an in-depth understanding of the complex legal issues these cases often raise. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated New Jersey accident lawyers, call (866) 778-5500. You can also reach us through our online form.
Yes. New Jersey’s dram shop law extends to social hosts. Thus, if you are injured in a Cherry Hill drunk driving accident by a motorist who was drinking at a friend’s house before the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim against both the drunk driver and their friend.
To establish a DUI accident claim against a social host, you do not need to prove that the drunk driver was “visibly intoxicated.” Instead, you can succeed in this claim by showing that the social host provided alcohol to the drunk driver “under circumstances manifesting reckless disregard of the consequences.”
Too often, Cherry Hill drunk driving accidents are fatal. In this situation, surviving family members can bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties. Wrongful death claims are very similar to traditional personal injury claims, except that instead of being brought by the accident victim, they are brought by a deceased accident victim’s family member.
In terms of damages in a Cherry Hill wrongful death claim, family members may be able to obtain compensation for the following:
Under New Jersey law, accident victims have up to two years to file a Cherry Hill car accident case against a drunk driver or other potentially liable parties. Notably, the case does not need to be resolved within two years; it only needs to be filed.
Complying with this two-year statute of limitations is crucial. Cases filed outside this window will be dismissed, leaving you with no means to recover compensation for your injuries.
If you have recently been injured in a Cherry Hill DUI accident or have tragically lost a loved one in such an accident, give the attorneys at Console & Associates a call. We are here for you. Call us at (856) 778-5500 or reach us through our online form.