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Shrewsbury Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Maximize Your Chances of A Successful Claim With Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

Are you or someone you know a victim of a devastating drunk driving accident? Seeking justice and fair compensation can be a challenging and overwhelming process. That is where our Shrewsbury DWI accident attorney comes in.

When a drunk driving accident occurs, it can terribly change lives. People can get hurt or even worse because of someone’s bad choice to drink and drive. In this article, we’ll discuss what to do if you’re involved in a drunk driving accident in New Jersey. 

Quick Summary:

  • Drunk driving, also known as DUI or DWI, is driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. It risks the lives of everyone on the road due to impaired skills and decision-making.
  • The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is 0.08% for adults 21 and older in NJ.
  • Injuries from drunk driving accidents range from whiplash and traumatic brain injuries to spinal cord injuries and fractures. Emotional and psychological trauma can also result from witnessing or being involved in these accidents.
  • The intoxicated driver is primarily responsible for the accident. Social hosts, vehicle owners, employers, and even government entities can also be held liable under certain circumstances.
  • Liability is established by proving duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Gathering evidence like medical records, police reports, and eyewitness testimony is crucial.
  • Penalties for drunk drivers in NJ include license suspension, fines, jail time, and ignition interlock device installation. Community service and alcohol programs might also be required.
  • Victims can claim medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Wrongful death claims can also be pursued by surviving family members.
  • NJ follows this rule where damages are reduced if the victim is partially at fault, as long as their contribution to the accident is less than 50%.
  • For personal injury and wrongful death claims in drunk driving accidents, victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in NJ.

What is the Legal Definition of Drunk Driving in New Jersey?

Drunk driving, also referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), is the act of driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. When someone decides to drink and then get behind the wheel, they’re not just risking their own life but also putting everyone else on the road in danger. 

Intoxicated driving can cause the following:

  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Blurry or double-vision
  • Altered depth perception
  • Trouble focusing on the road ahead
  • Reduced coordination
  • Reckless driving, such as speeding, weaving in traffic, and ignoring traffic signals

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limit

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, adults who are 21 years old or older are considered to be driving drunk if the blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher. That means if you’ve had enough drinks to raise the alcohol level in your blood to 0.08% or more, you’re breaking the law by driving.

For those under 21, the rules are even stricter. In most states, anyone under 21 with any amount of alcohol in their system can get in trouble for drunk driving because it’s illegal for them to drink at all.

What are the Common Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Drunk driving accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the specific circumstances of the collision. When someone drives after drinking alcohol, they’re not fully in control. That can lead to accidents that hurt themselves and others. 

Some common injuries associated with drunk driving accidents include:

  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries 
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Bone Fractures
  • Internal Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Facial Injuries
  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Emotional and Psychological Trauma

It is important to seek immediate medical attention after a drunk driving accident, even if injuries are not immediately apparent. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms that manifest hours or days later.

Who Can Be Responsible For Drunk Driving Accidents In New Jersey?

In New Jersey, multiple parties can be held responsible for drunk driving accidents, depending on the specific circumstances. Determining liability in drunk driving accidents can be complex, and it often requires a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the incident. Here are the key parties that may be held liable:

Intoxicated Driver

The primary party responsible for a drunk driving accident is the impaired driver who chose to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Social Hosts or Establishments

In certain situations, social hosts or establishments that served alcohol to the intoxicated driver may also be held liable under New Jersey’s Dram Shop Act. For example, if a bar or restaurant serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and that person later causes an accident, the establishment could be held liable.

Vehicle Owners

If the intoxicated driver was operating a vehicle owned by someone else, the vehicle owner may be held liable for negligently entrusting the vehicle to an individual known to be intoxicated or allowing an unauthorized person to use the vehicle.

Employers

If the intoxicated driver was operating a vehicle as part of their employment duties or during working hours, the employer may be held partially responsible for the accident under the legal principle of vicarious liability or based on negligence in hiring, training, or supervision.

Government Entities

In rare cases, government entities responsible for maintaining safe road conditions may be held liable for a drunk driving accident if it can be proven that their negligence, such as inadequate signage, road defects, or poor maintenance, contributed to the occurrence or severity of the accident.

How To Establish Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents in New Jersey?

Establishing liability in drunk driving accidents typically involves proving that the intoxicated driver was negligent and their actions directly caused the accident and resulting injuries. Here are the key elements involved in establishing liability:

Duty of Care

It must be established that the intoxicated driver owed a duty of care to other road users. This duty requires drivers to operate their vehicles responsibly and refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Breach of Duty

It must be shown that the intoxicated driver breached their duty of care by choosing to operate a vehicle while impaired. That can be proven through evidence such as police reports, witness testimony, or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests.

Causation

It must be demonstrated that the driver’s intoxication directly caused or contributed to the accident and resulting injuries. That can be established by showing that the driver’s impaired state affected their ability to operate the vehicle safely, leading to the collision.

Damages

It must be shown that the accident resulted in actual damages, such as physical injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages, or other measurable losses.

What Types of Evidence Can Help Strengthen My Case?

When it comes to strengthening your case, gathering and presenting compelling evidence is crucial. The types of evidence you can collect depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Here is an introduction to some common types of evidence that can help bolster your case:

Medical Records

Comprehensive medical records detailing your injuries, treatments, and prognosis can provide objective evidence of the extent of your physical harm and the medical expenses incurred. This evidence can help establish the link between the accident and your injuries.

Police Reports

Official police reports contain vital information about the accident, including statements from involved parties, witnesses, and the responding officer’s observations. These reports can document important details, such as the at-fault driver’s impairment or other factors contributing to the accident.

Eyewitness Testimony

Statements from individuals who witnessed the accident can provide valuable firsthand accounts. Eyewitness testimony can help corroborate your version of events, especially if it supports crucial aspects such as the at-fault driver’s impairment or negligent behavior.

Expert Witnesses

Depending on the nature of your case, expert witnesses may be called upon to provide professional opinions and analysis. For example, accident reconstruction experts can recreate the accident scene and provide their opinion on factors like vehicle speed or point of impact. Medical professionals can testify about the extent and causation of your injuries.

Photographs and Videos

Visual evidence, such as photographs or videos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, injuries, or road conditions, can provide compelling support for your case. These visuals can help demonstrate the severity of the accident and its impact on you.

Toxicology Reports

If the at-fault driver was charged with driving under the influence, toxicology reports revealing their BAC or the presence of drugs could be critical evidence. That can establish the driver’s impairment and strengthen your case for negligence.

Cell Phone Records

In cases involving distracted driving, obtaining cell phone records can help establish if the driver was using their phone at the time of the accident. That can support claims of negligence and distraction.

Employment Records

In situations where the at-fault driver was operating a vehicle for work purposes, employment records, schedules, or company policies can help establish employer liability or negligence.

Financial Records

Keep records of all accident-related expenses, such as medical bills, property damage repairs, and any other financial losses incurred due to the accident. These records can help quantify your economic damages.

Personal Statements and Journals

Maintaining a personal journal documenting your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and the impact of the accident on your daily life can serve as valuable evidence. Written statements from you and any witnesses can also provide powerful testimonies.

By gathering and presenting compelling evidence, you can establish liability and pursue rightful compensation from the intoxicated driver for their injuries and damages.

What are the Penalties for Drunk Drivers in New Jersey?

Driving drunk in New Jersey is a serious offense with severe consequences. If you’re caught driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you can face both legal and financial penalties. According to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a), here are the laws on drunk driving and the penalties for driving under the influence:

License Suspension

If you’re caught driving drunk in New Jersey, your driver’s license can be taken away, or suspended. Here’s how long it can be suspended:

  • First offense: Up to three months
  • Second offense: Up to two years
  • Third offense: Indefinitely, which means it can be taken away for a long time

Fines

Driving drunk can hit you in the wallet too. You can be fined, which means you have to pay money as a penalty.

  • First offense: Between $250 and $400
  • Second offense: Between $500 and $1,000
  • Third offense: Even more, and you might also have to pay for an alcohol education program

Jail Time

For drunk driving, you can also end up behind bars.

  • First offense: No jail time, but you could be in jail for up to 30 days if your blood alcohol level is very high
  • Second offense: Up to 90 days in jail
  • Third offense: Up to 180 days in jail, and you might have to spend some time in an inpatient treatment program

Ignition Interlock Device

After a drunk driving conviction, you might have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car. This device checks your breath for alcohol before you can start your car. If it detects alcohol, your car won’t start.

Community Service and Alcohol Programs

You might also have to do community service and attend alcohol education or treatment programs as part of your penalty.

What Damages Are Available For Drunk Driving Accidents in Shrewsbury, NJ?

In New Jersey, victims of drunk driving accidents may be eligible to seek various types of damages to compensate for their losses and injuries. Here are some common types of damages that can be pursued in drunk driving accident cases in New Jersey:

Medical Expenses

That covers all the costs associated with your injuries, including:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor visits
  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation

Property Damage

If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you can claim compensation for repair or replacement costs. That includes damage to your car, personal belongings inside the car, or any other property damaged in the accident. 

Lost Wages

If you can’t work because of your injuries, you might be entitled to compensation for the income you’ve lost. That includes things like:

  • Lost paychecks
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Lost future earning potential if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous job

Pain and Suffering

In addition to economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, you can also claim compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering you’ve experienced due to the accident.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

If your injuries prevent you from doing the things you used to enjoy, you might be compensated for that loss. This type of compensation is meant to make up for the happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure you’ve lost because of the accident.

Wrongful Death 

Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another person’s negligence or wrongful actions, like driving drunk. The surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their loss.

Understanding New Jersey’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

Under N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.1, New Jersey operates under a modified comparative negligence rule. If it is determined that you were partially at fault for the accident, your damages may be reduced proportionately to your assigned percentage of fault. However, if your contribution to the accident is less than 50%, you can still recover damages, albeit reduced.

Let’s say you’re in a car accident, and it’s determined that you’re 20% at fault because you were speeding. If you’re awarded $10,000 in damages, your compensation will be reduced by 20%, leaving you with $8,000.

What is the Statute of Limitation For Drunk Driving Accidents In New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the statutes of limitation for drunk driving accidents are subject to various factors, including the type of claim being pursued. Here are the general statutes of limitation that apply to drunk driving accident cases in New Jersey:

Personal Injury Claims

For personal injury claims arising from drunk driving accidents, including claims for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other related damages, the statute of limitation is generally two years from the date of the accident. That means that the injured party must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident, or they may lose the right to seek compensation.

Wrongful Death Claims

In cases where a drunk driving accident results in a fatality, the statute of limitation for filing a wrongful death claim is also generally two years from the date of the death. The claim is typically brought by the surviving family members or the appointed representative of the deceased’s estate.

There can be exceptions or variations to these time limits, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. For example, if the injured party was a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitation may be extended until they reach the age of majority.

Why Do I Need A Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in New Jersey?

If you’ve been involved in a drunk driving accident, you may be wondering whether it’s necessary to hire a drunk driving accident lawyer. Dealing with the aftermath of such an incident can be emotionally and legally overwhelming. However, enlisting the services of our DWI accident attorney can make a significant difference in your case.

Our Shrewsbury drunk driving accident lawyer at Kreizer Law can assist you to: 

  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case
  • Gather strong evidence to establish a compelling drunk driving accident claim 
  • Review the specifics of your case thoroughly
  • Consult with medical and legal who can support your claim
  • Negotiate and obtain a fair settlement with insurance companies
  • Represent you in court if settlement is not possible 

If you’ve been involved in a drunk driving accident in New Jersey, don’t navigate the legal complexities alone. Contact our Shrewsbury DWI accident attorney to discuss your case and discover how we can help you navigate the legal process and seek justice.

Call our Shrewsbury Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Now!

Don’t underestimate the complexities involved in these cases or the impact they can have on your life. When it comes to the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, seeking legal representation is crucial. 

Our Shrewsbury NJ drunk driving accident lawyer can provide the resources, guidance, and support you need to understand the legal process and obtain the compensation you deserve. 

At Kreizer Law, we understand the immense physical, emotional, and financial toll that a drunk driving accident can inflict upon victims and their families. Our personal injury law firm is committed to fighting for your rights and holding accountable those responsible for the tragic consequences of their actions. 

Our mission is to provide compassionate and aggressive legal representation, ensuring that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. With our in-depth knowledge of drunk driving laws and extensive experience in handling such cases, we are well-equipped to navigate the complex legal system on your behalf.

Don’t let the impact of a drunk driving accident define your future. Call us now to schedule a free consultation, and let us fight for your best interests, allowing you to focus on your recovery and moving forward. 

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