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Recovering Losses for Accidents Involving Alcohol

Alcohol-related accidents are often the most devastating. The blatant impairment a driver has while under the influence of alcohol can lead to severe life-changing injuries or even death for themselves and those they share the road with. Even though it might seem like an open and shut case for financial compensation, it’s not always clear who is responsible for those injuries. There are a few factors that are taken into account in a personal injury claim when these types of accidents occur.

According to the CDC,  alcohol use has been a factor in over a quarter of all fatal car crashes. This statistic is only referring to accidents resulting in death, so the amount of people affected by serious injury is even higher. Allowing someone to drive while their judgment is impaired creates a dangerous environment for everyone on the road.

Laws of the Road involving alcohol

In the United States and its territories it is illegal to drive while drunk. Being “legally drunk” has been quantified by the NHTSA into the amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream, which in turn can determine how much someone is affected by alcohol. In most of the country, New York included, having a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08 (g/dL) is considered drunk. Additionally, in the state of New York, you can be charged for being impaired if your BAC is over .05.

Despite legislation to keep drunk drivers off the roads, people still make the dangerous and reckless choice of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. A person with a blood alcohol level close to the legal limit is six times more likely to die in a car crash than an unimpaired driver. And when that person is on the road, they share that risk with everyone else on the road, even though they are driving responsibly.

What to do if You’ve been Injured by a Drunk Driver

Victims of crashes that involve drunk driving have legal recourse. As mentioned earlier, there are multiple factors that may come into play when alcohol is involved in a motor vehicle accident. For example, if the drunk driver came from a bar or restaurant, it is possible that they overserved someone who is visibly intoxicated, and may be partially liable for the damages.

There’s a chance that had that establishment not over-served said individual, they may have chosen not to drive drunk. So, if you are seriously injured in the accident and the drunk driver does not have sufficient automobile insurance to cover your damages (medical bills, pain and suffering, etc.), you may be able to collect from the establishment’s liquor liability insurance if they have it. If the establishment does not have liquor liability insurance, you may be able to collect from the establishment’s assets.

Obviously, no one ever expects to be in a car accident, let alone one involving a drunk driver. With all the factors that come into play regarding compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages as well as the different insurance coverages involved in repaying those damages; it’s a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney who is experienced in helping victims from liquor liability accidents to help ensure that all the losses from the accident are accounted for and compensated.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.