How Drunk Driving Accident Cases Differ from other Car Accident Cases
Drunk driving accident cases differ from other car crash cases in significant ways. This fact is particularly true when accident victims suffer serious injuries.
Two Types of Cases Arise: A Criminal and Civil Case
When police arrive at the accident scene and suspect a driver is intoxicated, they submit the driver to a breathalyzer test or blood test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC). If the driver blows a BAC above .08, the test verifies intoxication. Police also look for other evidence of inebriation including slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and the failure to pass a sobriety test. A sobriety test measures the individual’s ability to stand on one leg, walk a straight line and turn and follow a horizontally moving object with their eyes.
Accident witnesses can also provide statements that support the fact that a driver engaged in drunk driving. Witnesses often notice that the car was weaving in and out of lanes or that the driver was staggering when getting out of the car.
Drunk driving convictions serve as evidence of negligence in a civil case. Even if the driver is not convicted in a criminal case, there may be enough evidence to meet a civil case’s burden of proof. Civil cases have a lighter burden of proof and do not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
New York Dram Shop Act
The other main factor that makes drunk driving accidents different is the NY Dram Shop Act. When an establishment serves alcohol to a person who is under the age of 21 or to a person who appears to be intoxicated, you can bring a lawsuit against the establishment for the car accident. An example would be a restaurant, bar, or store that served or sold alcohol to the drunk driver.
Therefore, in addition to suing the driver, you could also sue the establishment to recover compensation for damages.
In a case where the drunk driver had no insurance or personal assets for recovering compensation, this law provides another means for victims to recover compensation.
What Should You Do if Seriously Injured by a Drunk Driver?
You should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your accident and your rights to recover compensation.