Drunk driving-related accidents continue to be a serious issue in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in motor vehicle accidents involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of over .08 or higher. Consumption of alcohol can impair a driver’s cognitive skills and can greatly increase the likelihood of getting into a serious motor vehicle accident.
In New York State, drivers who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and injure another person may face criminal charges as well as a civil lawsuit to recover damages. Those injured in a serious motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of a drunk driver should seek the guidance of an experienced New York personal injury lawyer who can advise them of their legal rights and remedies.
Types of Alcohol Violations in New York State
The alcohol violation an impaired driver is charged with depends on his or her BAC level at the time of the arrest.
Types of alcohol violations in New York State include:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)– Drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. For commercial vehicle drivers, a BAC of .04 or higher.
- Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI)– Drivers with a BAC of .18 or higher.
- Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol)– Drivers with a BAC of more than .05 but less than .07 BAC.
- Driving While Ability Impaired by Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)
- Chemical Test Refusal– Driver’s refusal to take a chemical test (test of breath or blood)
- Zero Tolerance Law– Divers younger than 21 years old and who drive with a BAC of .02 to .07 BAC.
New York is a No-Fault State
Individuals who are involved in an accident that occurred due to the negligence of a driver under the influence of alcohol may file an insurance claim. New York State requires that drivers have no-fault coverage under their automobile insurance policy. No-fault insurance coverage can cover the costs of lost wages, medical bills, and other healthcare expenses relating to the injury incurred from the accident. No-fault insurance will provide coverage regardless of who caused the accident.
Each vehicle that is insured carries a minimum of $50,000 in coverage for each person that occupies the vehicle. Loss of wages is covered up to 80% of gross wages, up to a maximum amount of $2,000 per month.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim Outside of No-Fault Insurance
If the economic losses that incurred as a result of the motor vehicle accident exceed what is covered under no-fault insurance, a victim may choose to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party to recover damages.
For those who have sustained a “serious injury” as a result of the accident, such as a bone fracture, loss of limb or use of an organ, disfigurement, or have suffered the loss of a loved one, he or she may seek to pursue pain and suffering damages, also known as non-economic damages. In matters in which egregious misconduct occurred, punitive damages may be sought to punish the wrongdoer and deter the same action from reoccurring in the future. The plaintiff will seek to recover the punitive damages from the negligent party’s personal assets.
If you have been injured in a serious accident as the result of a negligent drunk driver, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced New York personal injury lawyer. A New York personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Laurence C. Tarowsky can review the details of the incident and advise you of your legal rights and remedies. Laurence C. Tarowsky is a New York City personal injury lawyer experienced in representing clients in serious auto accident matters. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with Laurence C. Tarowsky, call (212) 947-2099 or fill out our contact form.