If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Long Island, you may have the right to pursue damages from the at-fault driver. DWI accident cases are complex, even if there is no question that the drunk driver caused the accident.

The sooner you reach out to a skilled DWI accident attorney, the better. At Dell & Dean, PLLC, our Long Island driving while under the influence accident attorneys know how to hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions. From investigating your claim to negotiating with auto insurance companies, we are well-qualified to handle every aspect of your car accident case. 

Drunk Drivers Are Incredibly Dangerous

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher is illegal in every state, and for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are over 10,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers every year. Approximately 30 percent of all fatal car accidents involve someone with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. In 2022, 56 fatal drunk driving deaths occurred in New York City alone. 

Younger drivers aged 21 to 24 are more likely to be involved in fatal drunk driving accidents than drivers in other age groups. Drivers intoxicated by drugs are also extremely dangerous. The NHTSA also found that in 2018, 46 percent of drivers killed in DWI accidents tested positive for drugs. Between 2009 and 2018, of those drivers killed in fatal crashes, the presence of cannabis use had nearly doubled.

Signs a Drunk Driver Caused Your New York Car Accident

Alcohol has a significant impact on a person’s body, making drivers unable to respond to dangers and operate a vehicle safely and quickly. Alcohol dulls a driver’s senses. Drunk drivers may not be able to respond enough to prevent an otherwise avoidable accident quickly.

As a result, the damage caused by a drunk driving accident can be even more serious than other types of car accidents. Signs that the at-fault driver was drunk behind the wheel may include the following:

  • Driving at an unusually slow speed or an excessive speed
  • Weaving between lanes
  • Delayed reaction time when leaving a stop sign or traffic light
  • Blurred vision

New York’s “Dram Shop” Laws

Drunk driving accident victims may have a right to hold a business responsible if the bartender “over-served” the at-fault driver. In many cases, the drunk driver who caused the victim’s injuries lacks sufficient assets and insurance coverage. Holding the restaurant or bar liable may be an option for securing fair compensation. Dram shop laws allow victims of drunk drivers to hold the bar or restaurant that overserved the driver financially responsible for their injuries. 

New York’s dram shop law is somewhat limited. It only imposes liability if the person served someone under age 21 or who was visibly intoxicated. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC have the skills and resources to conduct an in-depth investigation necessary to establish dram shop liability. Eyewitness testimony, photos, and videos can be important when establishing that the establishment’s employees continued to serve a customer who was visibly intoxicated. 

Drunk Driving Accidents Can Have Serious Consequences for Victims

Victims of DWI accidents are at risk of being seriously injured. Drunk drivers don’t have quick enough reaction times to avoid colliding with other drivers. Consequently, the force of impact can be more significant in DWI accidents. For example, a drunk driving accident can lead to serious injuries and even catastrophic injuries, including the following:

How Long Do I Have to Pursue Compensation?

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you only have a limited amount of time to file a compensation claim. The clock on the “statute of limitations” begins to run on the date of the DWI accident. You may forfeit your right to sue entirely if you don’t file within those three years. DWI accidents require a significant investigatory period. The sooner you reach out to a skilled lawyer, the better the likelihood of you successfully recovering the compensation you deserve. 

Proving Liability After a Drunk Driving Accident

There are two main ways to recover compensation after a drunk driver has injured you. Victims can pursue compensation by submitting a claim with the drunk driver’s auto insurance company. They can also pursue damages through a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Determining which party or parties are responsible for paying for damages is the first step in recovering compensation. Potentially liable parties may include the following:

  • A drunk driver with sufficient assets to pay damages
  • The drunk driver’s insurance company
  • Your own insurance company through an uninsured motorist claim
  • A restaurant, bar, or social host who over-served the driver alcohol
  • The drunk driver’s employer if the accident occurred while the driver was on the job

Damages Available for Drunk Driving Accident Victims on Long Island

The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC, will work diligently to identify all parties who may share financial responsibility for the drunk driving accident. We will review all of the options and help you make informed decisions regarding your legal strategy. The availability of compensation may depend on the extent of your injuries. Victims in personal injury lawsuits can pursue the following types of damages:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of earning capacity due to disability

In addition to economic damages, victims can also pursue compensation for non-economic damages, which include compensation for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Damages for wrongful death in fatality cases

These types of compensation are designed to make you whole again. New York law also allows for additional punitive damages designed to punish drivers whose recklessness causes injuries. 

Discuss Your Case with Our New York & Long Island DWI Accident Attorneys

Drunk drivers put everyone else on the road in jeopardy. If you’ve been seriously injured in a DWI accident, don’t hesitate to contact the Long Island attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.

Dell & Dean, PLLC, represents drunk driving accident victims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island, as well as the boroughs of New York City and the surrounding areas.