Drug Related DUI Accident

One third of the fatalities in New York State involve impaired or intoxicated drivers and pedestrians. This all has great impact on drunk driving accident victims and drunk driver accident injury lawyers. These are senseless acts of violence that should not be happening. The drunk drivers who are responsible for the wrongful deaths and catastrophic injuries of innocent victims need to be held accountable for their actions. With increased Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), crash risk increases sharply. A driver with a BAC of 0.08 is four times as likely to cause a crash as a driver who has not been drinking, while a driver with a BAC of 0.16 is 25 times as likely to do so.

The younger the drinking driver, the greater the risk of having a drunk driving accident and injuring or killing others. Drivers 20 years-old and younger are almost three times as likely to be involved in alcohol-related fatal accidents than other drivers. Not all drunk drivers are young drivers. To read a heartbreaking blog about a news story of an older corporate executive who drove drunk and killed a security guard walking in the street, click here. Some of the special types of claims that can arise out of a New York (Queens or Bronx) drunk driver accident injury case, are:

  • Alcohol-related or drug-related crashes and collisions, including car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, pedestrian knockdown accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
  • Driver and passenger injuries from car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, pedestrian knockdown accidents, and motorcycle accidents.

There are several special concerns in drunk or drug-user driver accident and injury cases in the Bronx and Queens, that require the services of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Looking at Insurance Claims

Of primary importance is that New York State Insurance Law §5103 allows an insurance carrier to disclaim or refuse coverage where it insured’s vehicle is operated by a drunk or drugged driver. This means that while one can sue the drunk or drugged driver, there may be no insurance available to compensate the accident victim for his or her injuries, except in the unlikely circumstance that the drunk driver was very wealthy, which is a rare occurrence.

Also, a drunk driver may be denied New York No-Fault insurance benefits to pay for medical care (see free special report of No-Fault insurance benefits). In 1985 New York State’s highest court held, in the case of Fafinski v. Reliance Insurance Co., that an accident victim who had a blood alcohol level of .276% could not force his car’s insurance carrier to pay his medical bills under the No-Fault provisions of his insurance policy, even tough he wasn’t convicted of DWI.

Drugged driving presents a particular problem to law enforcement. A recent article in the New York Times pointed out that while it is easy to pass laws to prohibit drivers from operating cars while under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs present an entirely different set of problems. Every prescription drug affects the body differently, so their effect is hard to predict. Deciding if a prescription drug user is “under the influence” can be challenging, since some prescription drugs move slowly in the body for days or weeks.

Qualified Legal Assistance in Queens County

The experienced drugged driving accident attorney at our firm knows that there is a special right to sue in New York for victims of intoxicated persons who were served drinks in bars when they should not have been served and sent out to drive. This special right comes from New York’s “Dram Shop” law. The term “Dram Shop” refers to a bar, lounge, restaurant or anywhere else where alcohol is sold and consumed on the premises.

A Dram Shop liability attorney can sue a bar or restaurant if an illegal sale was made to the drunk driver. Illegal sales include: selling alcohol to an underage drinker, selling alcohol without a license, or selling alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. To prove a Dram Shop claim, it is important to hire a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible, because early investigation is critical: interviewing witnesses in the bar, interviewing bouncers, bartenders, waitresses and other bar employees, and obtaining security videos before they disappear or are destroyed – all well as investigating the actual place where the accident occurred.

What if the drunk driver got drunk at home, and was not sold alcohol at a bar, and then gets into a car, truck or bus and injures you? What if drinks were served for free at a house party, and a dunk partygoer allowed to get behind the wheel of a car? The accident victim may still be able to claim Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage benefits against his or her own household insurance policy. If the accident victim was not in a car and does not own or live with any person who owns a car, he or she may still have a right to seek fair compensation from a New York State agency: the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). More about MVAIC and Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage in other articles. For your serious personal injury, you need legal representation from a qualified personal injury attorney.

Contact us at (718) 520-8787 for your free consultation.

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