What to do if you have been injured by a drunk driver in New York
The holidays are a notoriously dangerous time to be on the roads. Inclement weather, late-night parties and drinking, and icy roads are a formula for disaster. Drunk driving sees an uptick during this time of year, so it is important to know what steps to take should you be the victim of a drunk driving accident.
What to do immediately after the crash
- Assess the situation, make sure no one is seriously injured, and call 911 to report the accident
- File a police report if damage exceeds $1,000 or if anyone was injured
- Take photos of the scene and document if the drunk driver apologized or admitted guilt in any way
- Get the contact information and insurance information of the drunk driver
- Find an attorney who specializes in drunk driving lawsuits
Who pays for damages?
New York follows a “no-fault” law regarding car accidents, meaning each driver’s insurance will pay part of the damages. This law is blind to who caused the accident, which is usually convenient because it saves time spent fighting over who was at fault for the accident. But this isn’t the fairest method for dealing with a drunk driving accident when it was clear that the drunk driver is entirely at fault.
If you’re hurt in an accident, the negligent party’s insurance company will likely be responsible for paying all medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. These benefits often have a specific limit (based on their policy), so if your losses exceed that amount, your attorney will likely recommend that you file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.
Going to civil court
The statute of limitations for filing a drunk driving accident claim is three years in New York, as are most other personal injury claims. But you should contact a lawyer and file a claim as soon as possible so that it is easier to gather witnesses and evidence. In civil court, you only need to prove “a preponderance of evidence” as opposed to proving inebriation “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal court. Your attorney and their team at the firm will investigate your claim and help you build a case to be presented in court.
Contact a New York Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
At Hach & Rose, LLP, our experienced attorneys will stand up and fight for you if you were hurt by a drunk driver. Contact us at (212) 779-0057 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights today.