Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Queens, NY
Drunk drivers cause many car accidents in Queens including crashes involving serious injuries and fatal injuries.
Across New York, more than 30 percent of traffic deaths are alcohol-related, according to the N.Y. State Police. While drunk driving fatalities have decreased dramatically since public safety campaigns during the 1980s, thousands of preventable drunk driving accidents still occur every year.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident in Queens, you may be entitled to seek substantial compensation to help put your life back together. The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., is ready to help you hold the drunk driver financially accountable for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Queens car accident lawyer about your options.
What To Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident
If you have been injured in a Queens drunk driving accident, you should take the following steps to protect your health and create a foundation for your legal claim:
- Seek prompt medical attention to ensure your injuries are diagnosed, treated, and added to your medical records.
- Follow your doctor’s care plan to maximize your recovery and demonstrate to interested parties that you are taking your health seriously.
- Gather evidence from the drunk driving accident scene, including photos, contact information and insurance details from the drunk driver, and statements from eyewitnesses
- Keep all medical bills, bank records, pay stubs, repair estimates, and other accident-related documentation as proof of your financial losses.
- Have an attorney review the accident before giving a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurer.
- Avoid posting or sharing anything on social media about your accident or injuries while your claim is pending. Anything you say could be used against you to undermine your claim.
- Contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney in Queens for legal advice.
Legal Options for Drunk Driving Victims
New York is one of a dozen states that has a no-fault insurance system for handling car accident claims. Regardless of who is at fault, drunk driving accident victims are required to turn first to their own insurance for payment of their medical bills after car accidents in New York.
Your personal injury protection (PIP) policy pays for your medical care and injury-related incidental costs after an accident, up to the limits of the policy. But your PIP insurance may not cover all of your crash-related losses if you have severe injuries.
Under New York’s system, you may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and seek additional compensation under certain circumstances.
To step outside New York’s no-fault insurance system and file an insurance claim or lawsuit against a drunk driver, your crash-related injuries must meet New York’s definition of a serious injury. A serious injury is an injury resulting in:
- Significant physical disfigurement
- A broken bone
- A permanent limitation of the use of a body part
- A significant limitation of the use of a bodily system
- A substantially full disability lasting at least 90 days
If your crash injuries are serious, you may have a right to file a claim against the drunk driver’s insurance or sue the driver if necessary. With a successful insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you could recover compensation beyond what is available through your no-fault policy.
A Queens car accident lawyer at The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C. can review the details of the drunk driving accident that injured you and help you understand the appropriate steps to take. The case review is free.
Drunk Driving Statistics in New York
The following statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provide insight into how common drunk driving accidents are in the State of New York and across the nation:
- More than 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents nationwide in a recent year. Alcohol-related deaths accounted for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. In New York, fatalities from drunk driving accidents accounted for 33 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- Of the drunk-driving accidents, 307 deaths (33 percent) were caused by accidents involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 percent, the threshold for legal intoxication, and 195 fatalities (21 percent) were caused by accidents involving drivers with BACs of at least 0.15 percent.
- In New York State, a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle may be considered legally impaired if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .05 percent. A driver is legally intoxicated if their BAC is .08 percent or higher.
The following statistics from the New York City Police Department show that drunk driving accidents are a serious problem in Queens and throughout New York City:
- In one recent month, there were 9,259 motor vehicle accidents in New York City, resulting in 4,602 injuries and 26 fatalities.
- Citywide, there were 169 vehicles involved in alcohol-related crashes that month.
- Queens had 2,559 motor vehicle accidents that month, accounting for approximately 28 percent of all accidents citywide. These accidents resulted in 1,259 injuries and six fatalities.
- A total of 46 vehicles were involved in alcohol-related crashes in Queens, which accounted for 27.2 percent of all cars in alcohol-related crashes citywide.
Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Alcohol is dangerous because it impairs drivers’ cognitive abilities. Critical thinking, depth perception, and reaction time are all essential to safe driving. These abilities are all impaired by alcohol.
As a person’s blood alcohol level increases, the impairing effects increase as well. However, large quantities of alcohol are not necessary for drivers to become dangerously impaired. According to the NHTSA, more than 2,000 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers who were below the legal limit. Drivers who operate a car while intoxicated jeopardize the safety of others sharing the road. Drunk drivers should be held accountable when their decision to drink and drive causes harm to others.
A recent study suggests that drunk driving accidents tend to be especially disastrous because drunk drivers are more likely to travel at high speeds. Because alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment, reduces recognition of hazardous situations, and slows reaction time, drunk driving accidents tend to occur at higher speeds than other collisions.
Such collisions can result in serious injuries, including:
- Partial or total paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Loss of limbs
- Head and neck injuries
- Facial injuries and dental trauma
- Back and shoulder injuries
- Abdominal injuries and internal bleeding
- Arm, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries
- Broken bones
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Soft tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Leg, knee, ankle, and foot injuries
- Emotional and psychological injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated in New York
Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense in New York. The charges and penalties for driving while impaired varies depending on the circumstances. There are five types of impaired driving offenses in New York:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)– A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above in New York is legally intoxicated and will be charged with DWI if involved in an accident. Anyone with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher (or 0.04 percent or higher for commercial drivers) when they get behind the wheel has committed a DWI.
- Driving while ability impaired (DWAI)– A DWAI offense in New York means that the motorist’s driving abilities are impaired even if the person’s BAC is below the legal limit. DWAI offenses occur when someone with a BAC between 0.05 percent and 0.07 percent or someone displaying other evidence of impairment drives a vehicle.
- Drug DWAI– A drug DWAI occurs when someone is driving a vehicle while their driving abilities are impaired by a drug other than alcohol.
- Combination DWAI– A combination DWAI occurs when someone drives a vehicle while their driving abilities are impaired by either a combination of drugs and alcohol or a combination of different drugs.
- Aggravated DWI– An aggravated DWI may be charged when someone drives a vehicle with a BAC of 0.18 percent or higher or when someone drives a vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger aged 15 or younger.
The penalties for a DWI conviction vary depending on the driver’s history and the facts of the accident. The drunk driver may face criminal prosecution, but a DWI conviction will not provide compensation to the accident victims. Other options may be available.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Queens, NY
Do you have questions about seeking compensation after a drunk driving accident in Queens, NY? The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C. is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Queens, NY, and find out what we can do for you.