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New Jersey DUI Accident Lawyer

Sometimes one person’s poor decisions can shatter the lives of everyone around them. That’s what happens when a drunk driver causes a crash that leaves you or your loved one with severe, even catastrophic injuries.

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.

What Should I Do After an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver?

The aftermath of any collision can be stressful and chaotic, especially when you suspect alcohol impairment has played a role.

Can I Sue for Injuries From a Drunk Driving Accident?

The victims of drunk driving accidents can sue the intoxicated driver for compensation.

Do I Need an NJ drunk driving accident injury attorney?

An attorney can bring a lot to your DUI accident injury claim.

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 these questions, helping the injured get justice, and secure the compensation they need to get life back on track.

Call (866) 778-5500 today for your free, no-risk consultation.

What to Do When You’ve Been Injured in a DUI Car Accident in New Jersey

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.

Our New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyers 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:

  1. Call the police. Notify the authorities, who can perform the tests necessary – like a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer test, or a blood test – and create an official police report.
  2. Document the accident. While you wait for first responders to arrive on the scene, begin taking photos, notes, and witnesses’ contact information and statements, if you’re physically well enough to do so. The more evidence you have available, the better.
  3. Get medical attention. A collision with an out-of-control vehicle operated by a drunk driver can cause severe injuries – and the extent of those injuries isn’t always obvious. If you fear that you have serious injuries, go to the emergency room right away. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it’s best to see a doctor to confirm – whether at the emergency department, an urgent care facility, or a regular doctor’s office.
  4. Contact an experienced New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyer. You need assistance – and not just of the medical variety. Your legal rights matter, and they can be particularly at risk when your accident involved a complicated situation such as a drunk driver. The sooner you speak with a New Jersey DUI accident lawyer, the sooner your attorney can get started advocating for you and safeguarding your legal rights.

About DUI Accidents in New Jersey

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.

Statistics for Drunk Driving Accidents

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.

When Do Most Drunk Driving Accidents Happen?

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.

Have Drunk Driving Accidents Decreased?

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.

Why Do So Many DUI Accidents Occur in NJ?

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:

Rank City County DWI Arrests
1 Camden Camden County 449
2 Newark Essex County 434
3 Woodbridge Middlesex County 412
4 Hamilton Township Atlantic County 382
5 Toms River Ocean County 368
6 Hamilton Township Mercer County 358
7 Wall Township Monmouth County 347
8 Paterson Passaic County 321
9 Jersey City Hudson County 298
10 Deptford Township Gloucester County 280
11 Vineland Cumberland County 241
12 Parsippany Morris County 240
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
21 Phillipsburg Warren County 78

New Jersey’s dense population means that city streets and highways alike become easily congested, giving an impaired driver plenty of opportunity to strike an unsuspecting vehicle or pedestrian.

DUI accidents often occur on the interstate highways that stretch through NJ, including:

  • I-76
  • I-78
  • I-80
  • I-95
  • I-195
  • I-278
  • I-280
  • I-287
  • I-295
  • I-495
  • I-676
  • I-695
  • I-895

Other common sites of drunk driving crashes in NJ include state highways, county roads, U.S. routes, and major parkways and turnpikes like the following:

  • The Garden State Parkway
  • The Atlantic City Expressway
  • The Palisades Interstate Parkway
  • The Pearl Harbor Memorial Turnpike Extension

New Jersey DUI Laws

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.”

New Jersey No-Fault Law

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.

Suing for a DUI Accident in New Jersey

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:

  • Fines, fees, and surcharges
  • Jail time
  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol and traffic safety education program at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

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.

Types of damages in a New Jersey DUI Accident Case

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:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitation expenses
  • Projected future medical costs
  • Partial or complete loss of income while you are temporarily or permanently out of work
  • Any loss of future earning potential resulting from the accident
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Scarring and disfigurement that may result from your wounds
  • Any decrease in your quality of life or enjoyment of life

Do I Have a New Jersey DUI Car Accident Case?

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.

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.

Common Injuries in New Jersey DUI Car Accidents

Injuries from drunk driving accidents can be particularly serious, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Debilitating or paralyzing spinal cord damage
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Serious cuts and lacerations that require stitching or surgical repair
  • Soft tissue injuries and nerve damage that can impair function, feeling, and mobility
  • Serious injuries to the back, neck, arms, hands, legs, feet, and joints
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage

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.

Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Car Accident in NJ?

Naturally, you can sue the intoxicated driver for causing the drinking and driving accident. However, there may be other liable parties, such as:

  • The driver’s employer, if the drinking and driving occurred while on the clock
  • A bar or restaurant that served alcohol to a driver who was noticeably intoxicated

Can I Sue the Bar or Restaurant That Served the Drunk Driver?

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).

What is Dram Shop Liability?

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.

Who Can Sue for a Drunk Driving Accident?

You can sue the intoxicated driver, or another liable party, for a drunk driving accident in NJ if you were:

  • A driver or occupant of another vehicle struck by the impaired driver
  • A pedestrian or cyclist hit by the intoxicated driver
  • A passenger riding in the vehicle with the drunk driver, particularly if you did not know they had consumed too much alcohol to safely operate the vehicle
  • A family member of a deceased victim of a drunk driving accident

Do I Need a New Jersey DUI Accident Attorney?

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.

No-Win, No-Fee Legal Help for a Drunk Driving Accident Injury Lawsuit

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:

  1. It makes hiring a lawyer affordable when, due to medical costs and loss of income, you may not otherwise be able to hire an attorney.
  2. It ensures that you don’t have to pay for any of the costs associated with pursuing your claim until after your claim wraps up and money from your settlement becomes available to you.
  3. It aligns your attorneys’ interests with yours. Since the attorneys’ fee is percentage-based, both you and your lawyer want the outcome of the claim to be the most money possible.
  4. It removes the risks from pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, because if we don’t succeed in getting money for you, then you owe nothing.

What Can a New Jersey DUI Accident Lawyer Do for Me?

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:

  • Conducting a thorough investigation to gather evidence
  • Identifying all parties that may be liable for the crash (not only the drunk driver)
  • Taking over all interactions with all defendants and insurance companies
  • Preparing your claim, including using evidence to support theories of liability and assertions of your damages
  • Negotiating a settlement that covers your damages to the fullest extent possible under insurance policy limits
  • Representing your interests in all legal proceedings, including a trial, if necessary

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.

Why Choose Console & Associates for Your New Jersey DUI Car Accident Case

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 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.

For Your Free Consultation, Contact a New Jersey DUI Accident Lawyer Today

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.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Accident FAQs

What Is My New Jersey Drunk Driving Accident Claim Worth?

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:

  1. The extent of your damages
  2. The amount of insurance coverage available

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.

Will Insurance Cover Drunk Driving Accidents?

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 harms 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.

Can I Sue for Wrongful Death Following a Drunk Driving Crash?

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:

  • Any medical expenses incurred before your loved one passed away
  • Funeral and burial costs or any other costs of final arrangements
  • Loss of income, if your loved one was a financial provider for the family
  • The many non-economic losses resulting from your loved one’s death, including loss of companionship, affection, advice, and support

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.

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