Sometimes one person’s poor decisions can shatter the lives of everyone around them. That’s what happens when a drunk driver causes a New Jersey car accident that leaves you or your loved one with severe, even catastrophic injuries. If you got hit by a drunk driver, what do you do?
It only takes a split second for a New Jersey drunk driving accident to change the rest of your life. One moment, everything seems normal; and then, out of nowhere, a drunk driver runs a stoplight or crosses over the center median, crashing into your car. Now you find yourself in the hospital, missing work, missing time spent with loved ones, and accruing tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses – all because someone else got behind the wheel after having too much to drink. After getting hit by a drunk driver, you’re going to want legal help.
Every New Jersey drunk driving accident is preventable. However, these collisions are an unfortunate reality for the thousands of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists harmed by them each year. Through a personal injury case, accident victims can hold a drunk driver financially responsible for the damages they caused.
New Jersey DUI accidents are far too common. You’re not alone, and you don’t have to go through this situation alone, either. A drunk driving accident lawyer in NJ can come to your rescue, fighting the legal battle for you and making sure that you get the care you need for maximum medical improvement. If you are thinking, “I was hit by a drunk driver, what do I do now?”, give our NJ office a call for a free consultation
You deserve nothing less than experienced legal representation, and you deserve it without having to worry about upfront costs and fees. The NJ drunk driving accident injury lawyers at Console & Associates have dedicated our careers to answering questions about DUI accidents, helping the injured get justice, and securing the compensation they need to get life back on track.
Call (866) 778-5500 today for your free, no-risk consultation.
The moments after a drunk driving accident can feel panicked and surreal. Not only are you in shock and pain, but the inebriated driver who caused the crash is no help at all. You feel so alone and overwhelmed that it’s hard to think clearly – much less, to determine precisely what you need to do and in which order. If you got hit by a drunk driver, here is what you need to do.
Our New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyers near you understand that this situation, though common, is anything but normal. So let us guide your next steps after a crash with an intoxicated driver.
Here’s what you need to do:
In New Jersey, 22 percent of traffic fatalities involved a driver who was classed as “alcohol-impaired” based on a BAC above the 0.08 legal limit in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
Another 28 percent of traffic fatalities in the Garden State were considered “alcohol-involved” due to one or more of the drivers having a BAC below the legal limit of 0.08 but above 0.01.
Statistically speaking, alcohol-impaired fatal crashes are actually slightly less common in NJ than the national average – but DUI accidents still kill well over 100 New Jerseyans each year.
Drunk driving accidents are alarmingly common and frequently fatal.
In 2016, alcohol impairment played a part in more than one-quarter of all motor vehicle accident deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Alcohol impairment refers specifically to a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08. This figure doesn’t include the considerable number of “alcohol involved” fatalities in which the driver had an amount of alcohol in their system that was below the 0.08 limit but which may still contribute to causing a crash.
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 NJ alone, Patch reported.
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s 2010 Crash Facts and Statistics, there were 530 fatal crashes in New Jersey involving 556 fatalities. Of the fatalities, 30.6 percent involved a drunk driver. In 137 of the 530 fatal crashes statewide, DUI was listed as a major contributing factor. There were 149 people killed in New Jersey as a result of these 137 DUI crashes.
What time do drunk driving accidents occur? Historically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studied both the total number of fatal drunk driving accidents and the percentage of total fatal crashes these accidents accounted for in three-hour blocks.
The largest total number of fatal drunk driving accidents occurred from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (4,988 crashes), followed by the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. period (4,944 crashes) and the 9 p.m. to midnight period (4,359 crashes).
However, percentage-wise, deadly drunk driving accidents are far more common between midnight and 3 a.m., when nearly two-thirds of all traffic accident deaths that occur involve a drunk driver.
Yes, deadly drunk driving accidents have declined slightly. However, rates of drunk driving fatalities haven’t decreased quite as much as the overall rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents has.
From 2016 through 2017, the total number of fatal crashes dropped from 37,806 to 37,133, a 1.8 percent decline that translated to 673 fewer lives lost, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The decrease in alcohol-impaired fatal accidents over the same time was slightly less impressive, at 1.1 percent, resulting in just 122 fewer deaths. Had the decrease in alcohol-impaired fatalities kept pace with the decline in overall fatal accidents, more than 75 additional lives could have been saved.
Drunk driving accidents in New Jersey pose a major threat to drivers, their passengers, and even pedestrians. They happen in every region of the Garden State – from the furthest reaches of North Jersey to the bottom of South Jersey, from the shore to the western edge where the state borders Pennsylvania.
In 2017, NJ.com reported that the 21 New Jersey cities that saw the most DWI arrests were:
|4||Hamilton Township||Atlantic County||382|
|5||Toms River||Ocean County||368|
|6||Hamilton Township||Mercer County||358|
|7||Wall Township||Monmouth County||347|
|9||Jersey City||Hudson County||298|
|10||Deptford Township||Gloucester County||280|
|13||Union Township||Union County||218|
|14||Evesham Township||Burlington County||211|
|15||Fort Lee Boro||Bergen County||163|
|16||Bound Brook||Somerset County||142|
|17||Wildwood City||Cape May County||140|
|18||Readington Township||Hunterdon County||115|
|19||Vernon Township||Sussex County||105|
|20||Pennsville Township||Salem County||90|
New Jersey’s dense population means that city streets and highways alike become easily congested, giving an impaired driver plenty of opportunities to strike an unsuspecting vehicle or pedestrian.
DUI accidents often occur on the interstate highways that stretch through NJ, including:
Other common sites of drunk driving crashes near you in NJ include state highways, county roads, U.S. routes, and major parkways and turnpikes like the following:
The good news is, across the country, the total number of fatal car accidents is decreasing. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the total number of traffic fatalities decreased from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017. This 1.8 percent decline resulted in 673 fewer deaths.
Not surprisingly, the total number of drunk driving accidents in the United States also decreased. However, fatal DUI accidents decreased by only 1.1 percent, not the 1.8 percent that would have kept pace with the overall fatality rate decrease. Thus, although there were 122 fewer deaths in 2017 than there were in 2016, the decline in deadly DUI accidents was less pronounced than the overall drop in traffic fatalities.
Unfortunately, the trend in New Jersey is taking a different trajectory. Below is data from the most recent years:
This represents a significant decrease in the rate of DUI accidents, but not in the total number of accidents.
Thus, while the number of DUI accidents has decreased over recent years, the rate of intoxicated driving increased. Regardless of the fluctuating rates of DUI accidents, one thing remains true: drunk drivers pose a serious threat to drivers in Evesham Township.
In NJ, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is considered a traffic violation, not a felony or misdemeanor crime. However, a DWI isn’t “just” a traffic offense – it’s a violation serious enough that it can result in jail time for the perpetrator.
New Jersey defines DWI as operating a motor vehicle “while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, or habit producing drug” that causes “a substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities.”
Generally, motorists 21 and older are convicted of drunk driving if they have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or above. However, the state of New Jersey may still convict a motorist of driving while intoxicated even if their BAC is below 0.08 if they “consume any alcohol” and their “driving is negatively impacted.”
Because New Jersey has a no-fault law in place regarding motor vehicle accidents, your own auto insurance company will be responsible for paying for your medical treatment even if a drunk driver caused the accident.
For victims of drunk driving accidents who aren’t covered by an auto insurance policy of their own, figuring out who is responsible for paying the medical bills can be a complicated situation – one that necessitates getting a New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyer involved right away.
Both DUI and DWI are terms that may be used in situations that involve driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. DUIs and DWIs may be classified as criminal acts (misdemeanors or felonies) or as mere traffic offenses, depending on the state in which the incidents occurred and whether the driver has committed multiple offenses.
Depending on the state in which the violation occurred, these two terms may or may not have different meanings. In New Jersey, for example, DUI and DWI are interchangeable terms, with both types of offenses falling under the same legal statutes. Other states may use the broader term of DUI primarily for accidents that result from impairment from other drugs, like prescription medications or illegal recreational drugs. Alternatively, some states treat DWI as a more serious matter than DUI, applying to instances in which the driver’s BAC was higher—and thus carrying more severe consequences.
These distinctions that are specific to state law are important for the driver facing DUI/DWI charges, but less so for the victims injured by drunk drivers. The more important questions are whether you can prove that the other driver was negligent and how you should calculate your damages to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to.
Should an injured victim sue for a DUI accident? Absolutely.
It doesn’t matter if the motorist who caused the crash is facing drunk driving accident charges. The penalties imposed on them won’t provide any direct benefit to you as you work toward recovery.
Charges for drunk driving accidents are pursued by the state against the intoxicated driver. This is a completely separate matter from a drunk driving accident claim, which is a civil case meant to compensate the victim for the harm they suffered.
Here are the possible outcomes of a DWI charge against the motorist who caused your accident:
These drunk driving accident consequences serve to punish the drunk driver, hopefully deterring them and others from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated in the future. But your situation – injured, missing work, and missing out on your life – doesn’t change just because the driver has to pay a fine and has their license suspended.
What can happen as a result of a drunk driving accident injury lawsuit is getting compensation for all of your damages.
Accident victims who are successful in bringing a case against a drunk driver can recover monetary compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident. This includes the money they had to spend out of their own pocket, future costs associated with the accident, and compensation for the accident’s impact on their life. What damages are available in an NJ drunk driving accident injury claim? Our New Jersey DWI accident attorneys will seek full compensation for all of the harms and losses you sustained because of the crash, including:
Accident victims must prove both economic and non-economic damages. While establishing economic damages is often relatively straightforward, proving non-economic damages is much more complex. This is where working with an experienced Marlton drunk driving accident lawyer can help.
With an experienced lawyer’s assistance, accident victims can be sure that the judge or jury fully understands the full impact that the accident had on their lives.
Without damages, you can’t sue for a drunk driving accident in New Jersey. However, your damages are just one of the two most crucial elements of a case. The other element is negligence on the part of the other driver.
All drivers have a duty of care to others on the road with them to obey traffic safety laws and to control their vehicle with appropriate caution. But when the other driver got behind the wheel impaired by alcohol or another drug, they failed to live up to this duty. This negligence is what ultimately led to your injuries.
To succeed in a New Jersey drunk driving lawsuit, you must establish the elements of a negligence claim. There are four basic elements to any negligence claim, including:
In a drunk driving case, a few of these elements are typically easily met. For example, all motorists owe a legal duty to others on the road. Driving drunk is a violation of this duty.
Because the first two elements in a New Jersey DUI case do not often cause accident victims much of an issue, the success of a drunk driving case frequently boils down to the third and fourth elements. However, establishing that another driver’s negligence caused your injuries is not always straightforward. Proving this element of your claim can be especially complex if other factors were at play, such as if another driver involved in the accident was also negligent or if you were partially at fault for the crash.
When it comes to meeting the damages element of a New Jersey DUI accident case, there is often little question that an accident victim suffered damages. The question is more often focused on the extent of their injuries.
Proving liability after a drunk driving accident injury can be more difficult than it seems. Even when the other driver has failed a breathalyzer or a blood test, the insurance company responsible for paying the claim may try to blame the accident on you or argue that your damages aren’t serious (even when they obviously are).
That’s where your New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyers come in. We will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather the evidence to prove the drunk driver’s negligence, and stand up to the insurance company for you. Every case is different. To better understand the recovery process and get an idea of how much your case might be worth, contact the dedicated New Jersey DUI accident lawyers at Console & Associates to schedule a free consultation.
Injuries from drunk driving accidents can be particularly serious, such as:
Why do drunk driving accidents so commonly cause catastrophic injuries? Alcohol-impaired drivers may be so unaware of their surroundings – and their own actions – that they may not even attempt to follow the speed limit, stay in their lane, or maneuver to minimize the damage caused in a crash. That can mean drunk driving accident victims are subjected to extreme speeds and impact forces that cause devastating injuries.
Naturally, you can sue the intoxicated driver for causing the drinking and driving accident. However, there may be other liable parties, such as:
In the simplest car accident cases, there may be only two parties involved in a claim: the plaintiff (the person who is suing) and the defendant (the person being sued for negligence). In more complicated legal matters, there may be additional parties who face DUI accident liability. For someone other than the drunk driver to face liability, or legal responsibility, for the collision, that person or company must have been negligent in some way.
Some situations in which third-party liability for DUI accident claims may exist include:
This same process of proving liability against a defendant applies when suing a third party as when suing the drunk driver.
Third-party claims in DUI accident cases are complex, so you’re going to want an attorney on your side. At Console & Associates, P.C., our team of attorneys has a long history of holding accountable all possible defendants in DUI accident claims, including a $925,000 DUI car accident settlement for two vehicle occupants who suffered severe injuries in a collision caused by a drunk driver who had been over-served by a New Jersey bar.
In New Jersey, only businesses that have an active liquor license may serve alcohol. More than 8,800 establishments in NJ have a liquor license.
Businesses serving alcohol for consumption on their premises may be held accountable for any harm their intoxicated customers cause under dram shop law, known formally as the New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act (2A:22A-5).
Dram shop liability is a form of third-party liability for drunk driving crashes.
Under this NJ law, “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” under certain conditions.
For example, you can sue the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver if you’re able to prove that the server negligently served alcoholic beverages to a “visibly intoxicated person” and that the accident was a “foreseeable consequence” of that negligence. If it’s possible that dram shop liability may be a factor in your claim, your NJ drunk driving accident injury lawyer will investigate and gather any evidence that proves the establishment’s negligence. If you got hit by a drunk driver, you have options.
You can sue the intoxicated driver, or another liable party, for a drunk driving accident in NJ if you were:
Wondering whether you can handle your DUI accident injury lawsuit without a lawyer? It’s never a good idea to go up against an insurance company with its wealth of knowledge about the claims process and access to a team of defense attorneys all on your own.
You only get one chance to get results for your drunk driving accident claim. If you don’t get it right, you could end up compromising your physical and financial recovery from the accident – not to mention taking on more stress during a time that’s already emotionally difficult.
Fortunately, you can afford to hire an attorney. In fact, you can afford an entire team of experienced drunk driving accident attorneys in New Jersey. How are we so sure? It’s because Console & Associates makes every one of our clients our No Fee Promise.
Handling cases on a contingency fee basis, as Console & Associates does with all of the claims we take on, allows for legal representation at no upfront cost. Here’s how it works: instead of having to pay hourly fees, monthly retainers, or flat per-service fees throughout your claim, you agree to pay only a percentage of the settlement your attorney succeeds in getting for you.
For drunk driver victims, this sort of no-win, no-fee legal representation is a perfect fit because:
Once you become a client of Console & Associates, you can count on our drunk driving accident attorneys to handle every aspect of your claim, including:
Throughout your claim, we will serve as your guide and your advocate, keeping you in the loop and being there to answer every question or concern you have. If you’re having trouble getting the care you need, we’ll work with you to ensure that nothing stands in the way of your rehabilitation. Getting hit by a drunk driver can wreak havoc on your life. We are here to help you get your life back on track.
At Console & Associates, our team of attorneys and paralegals have spent more than 25 years helping the victims of drunk driving accidents in New Jersey get the money they deserve. We handle personal injury matters exclusively because helping people in situations like yours is what we’re passionate about.
Just one example of our success in handling New Jersey DUI accident claims is the $1,075,000 combined settlement we recovered for two passengers who sustained life-changing injuries in a drunk driving crash that involved dram shop liability.
When you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, nothing feels easy anymore. That’s exactly why getting the legal representation you need should be simple and convenient – because you’ve already got enough to worry about.
At Console & Associates, we have decades of experience providing no-win, no-fee legal representation for drunk driving car accident victims. We know the nuances of how New Jersey laws apply to DUI car accident lawsuits, and we know how to build a successful claim for maximum compensation.
Getting help starts with a free, no-obligation consultation. Just call (866) 778-5500 today to speak to an experienced legal professional.
The value of any personal injury claim depends on a variety of factors. Two of the most important factors that affect the value of your settlement for drunk driving accident injuries are:
The extent of your damages refers to the losses and harms you suffered. A drunk driving victim whose injuries were so minor that they required little medical treatment and only a couple of days of missed work won’t get as high a drunk driving accident settlement as a victim who sustained catastrophic injuries.
Generally, drunk driving accident settlements come out of insurance policy coverage, not directly from individuals. Insurance companies place a limit, called a policy limit, on the amount of money the company will pay for a covered event, such as an accident. Because there may be one person or several entities that share liability for your accident, each with their own insurance policies, the amount of coverage available can vary widely.
It’s a common fear among victims of drunk driving accidents: that the other driver’s insurance company will refuse to cover the accident because the policyholder was breaking the law by driving while intoxicated.
While it’s true that insurance doesn’t cover intentional acts, the insurer is still required to pay for the harm you suffered in the collision even when the driver was drunk. That’s because it was an accident – even if it was the kind of accident that, to the impaired driver, should have been a foreseeable outcome of getting behind the wheel after drinking.
If the insurance company is attempting to get out of paying your claim under the guise that it doesn’t cover accidents that occur due to drunk driving on the part of their policyholder, it’s time to end the conversation with them and let a professional take over. An attorney can fight for you, and just having a lawyer on your side may be all it takes to get the insurance company to start treating your claim fairly.
In far too many cases, the drunk driver kills an innocent person, leaving the victim’s family to try to pick up the pieces of an unimaginable tragedy. For families who are living through this waking nightmare, please know that we are with you and are willing to help in any way we can.
When the family of a victim who has been killed seeks compensation from the negligent party, the legal term for this matter is a wrongful death claim.
Families pursuing a wrongful death claim that results from a fatal drunk driving accident can seek compensation for damages like the following:
Nothing can undo the terrible tragedy that happened or the way that this loss will affect your family. But knowing that you don’t also have the financial struggles to manage, and that the person who took your loved one’s life is being held accountable, can help you find a way to move forward. Your family member’s life mattered, and we’ll do all we can to make sure the drunk driver faces the consequences of their fatally reckless actions.
We’ve seen firsthand what a difference it makes to families affected by a New Jersey DUI accident near you to have help, support, and a reason to believe that things will get better, even in the most challenging moments. Our New Jersey DUI car accident attorneys are here to help provide that support as we serve as your partners in your pursuit of the compensation you deserve.
Your case evaluation is free, no matter what. If you choose to move forward with a claim, there’s no cost until we get results. So there really is no risk.
Give us the chance to help you. All it takes is a phone call. Call (866) 806-3125 for your free, private consultation.
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1 Holtec Drive, #100
Marlton, NJ 08053
494 Broad St #208b
Newark, NJ 07102