New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Impaired Driving and Personal Injury Lawsuits
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28 people die every day in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver – this means one death occurs every 51 minutes. The cost of alcohol-related crashes in the nation totals over $44 billion each year.
In 2015, there were 10,265 fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired driving accidents, accounting for nearly 29% (one-third) of all traffic-related deaths in the US. The same year, approximately 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving while they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
This accounts for 1% of the 111 million episodes of alcohol-impaired driving that are self-reported each year among adults in the country. About 16% of motor vehicle crashes involve drugs other than alcohol – both legal and illegal.
5 People Including 4 Children Injured in Suspected DUI Crash
On the 10th November, 2017 at about 10:30 pm, five people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries after escaping from a car that caught fire after a collision in Pensacola, Florida.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol news release, 47-year-old Jeffrey Scott Touzet, the driver, was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol when he crashed the car. He was driving a Sonata north on Perdido Key Drive and swung into the left turn lane and then took a right immediately to enter onto Gulf Beach Highway.
The car then ran off the road, crashed into a traffic control pole and caught fire. Touzet and his four passengers – children ages 7, 9, 12, and 14 – could escape the car and were taken to Sacred Heart Hospital.
According to witness reports to police, in the immediate moments before the crash, Touzet was allegedly driving at a high speed rate erratically while he was passing cars on the bridge in a no-passing zone.
While awaiting the results of a blood draw, charges including driving under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily harm as well as child neglect are still pending.
Two Valley Center Family Members Die in Car Crash in Austin
In Austin, Texas, two of four people from Valley Center were killed in a fatal car crash on the 11th of November, 2017. Apart from causing the two fatalities, the police reported that the crash injured two others after a drunken driver allegedly slammed into their car.
While on a family trip to visit Austin, Nancy Latulippe and her teenaged son Jackson, were killed in the crash. Her husband Scott Latulippe who works as a teacher at Valley Center High School, and daughter Kiera were sustained injuries.
The car crash occurred at 3:30 p.m. when Guy Brastad, aged 41, lost control of his vehicle while he was driving northbound on Research Road in Austin. According to a police report on the incident, he crossed a median into the southbound lane, crashing head-on on to the fiat driven by the Latulippe family.
38-year-old Nancy Latulippe and her son were pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics rushed her husband to Dell Seton Hospital where doctors performed surgery for life-threatening injuries. 10-year-old Kiera was treated at Dell Children’s Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.
Brastad, the driver, too was taken to Del Seton the nearest hospital where a blood draw indicated a blood alcohol level of .203 – over two and a half times of .08 which is the legal limit. He was arrested on suspicion of two felony counts – intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
FAQs about Drunk Driving Accidents
Here is a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about drunk driving accidents:
- Does the law differentiate between people seriously injured or killed by drunk drivers as opposed to those injured or killed by a driver who is under the influence of prescription drugs or street drugs?
A: No. The law does not differentiate between driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs or street drugs. This is why driving under the influence, or DUI, is used instead of drunk driving to describe the crime.
Q: Is it easier to prove a case of drunk driving than a case that involves a driver under the influence of drugs?
A: Yes. The relationship between driver impairment and a high blood alcohol level is well known and well established. There are far less studies on the same relationship between prescription and street drugs and most drivers and jurors do not know much about it. This is why cases involving drunk driving are easier to prove.
Q: What should I do if I am in a car accident with a drunk driver?
A: First of all, make sure that you cooperate with the police when they arrive at the accident scene. Try to get as much information as you can about the driver from the police – his or her identity, address and the name of his or her insurance company. You should also visit a competent doctor to get yourself checked and get an early assessment of the injuries you sustained due to the accident.
Q: Who can file a lawsuit in a drunk driving accident case?
A: Generally speaking, anyone who has been injured has the right to bring a claim against the drunk driver for injuries that they sustained in the car accident. Additionally, in the event that someone died due to a drunk driving accident, his or her next of kin and heirs can file a claim against the drunk driver.
Q: Will it be necessary to get expert testimony to establish that the other driver was under the influence?
A: You will probably need expert testimony. In most cases, you will have to call at least a toxicologist to testify at trial to establish the level of alcohol and/or drugs in the body of a person. Additionally, you may also need to call a human factors expert to testify to the relationship between the driver impairment and the blood alcohol or drug level.
Q: What are the damages I can recover in a personal injury case stemming from a drunk driving accident?
A: Apart from standard compensatory damages that cover medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and disability, it is possible to claim for punitive damages against a driver found to be driving a vehicle while under the influence. You should talk to your attorney about the laws in your state pertaining to punitive damages.
Q: Is it a must to hire a personal injury attorney in a drunk driving accident case?
A: Yes. While you might think that you can handle your own personal injury case, the truth is that you cannot. The entire process of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a drunk driver is long and complex. It becomes even more so when insurance companies get involved.
You need a knowledgeable and experienced professional to handle every step of the process to make sure that you have a successful case and that you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Now, that we have gone through a couple of frequently asked questions on claims against impaired driving accidents, let us take you through a few dos and don’ts you must bear in mind when you find yourself arrested for DUI.
In the year 2015 alone, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of either narcotics or alcohol. This equals to about one DUI arrest for every 100 plus licensed drivers in the United States. The statistic is even more sobering when you consider 10,265 people died in alcohol impaired driving crashes. This accounts to about one third or 29% of traffic related deaths in the US. Chances are, most of us know someone who has either been injured or killed in an alcohol related crash or been arrested themselves for drunk driving.
By educating yourself, you will be well prepared as to how to file a lawsuit should you find yourself or someone you know in a similar situation.
DOS AND DON’TS OF DUI s AND DWIS
Getting a DUI can be a scary experience. So, you got arrested and also lost your license and may perhaps lose your job too. What must you do in such a situation? The very first thing you must do is to read this list of Do’s and Don’ts, as they are based on the most common errors people make in haste after getting a DUI. The second thing you must do is to contact an expert DUI attorney who serves your neighborhood, Now, take a deep breath and fill yourself in one some information on what you must do after you get a DUI.
DON’T Attempt to Handle Your Case On Your Own
The prosecutor you hire is an expert at what he does. Unless you are yourself an expert at defending DUI victims, you cannot fight this alone. No matter how many websites you read or how many ever lawyer buddies you talk to, you will need a judicious legal professional to help you get you out of the unfortunate situation you are muddled in.
DO Show Up For Your Court Hearing
Just your attorney showing up to court will not suffice. You too are required to be present for every scheduled court date. If you do not turn up on the mentioned date, a warrant could be put up for your arrest. This means the next time you are pulled over for even a minor violation, you may be taken straight to jail and your DUI sentencing will not be lightened due to an additional violation and arrest.
DON’T Talk to Anyone Else About Your Situation
Your attorney is the only person you should be discussing details regarding the accident and case with. The attorney is sworn by secrecy and anything you tell him will not be held against you. Therefore, you must share the minutest details with your attorney and refrain from discussing any detail small or big with a police officer, co-worker or even a friend. This can be used against you in court.
DO Try and Contest Your Driver’s License Confiscation
In most U.S stated, you have about two weeks to contest a confiscation of your driver’s license. If you happen to miss that window, it can get very hard to reclaim your license. Apart from contesting the confiscation, you may also apply for a temporary license so that you can travel to work legally.
DON’T Hire an Attorney Based Solely on His or Her Fees
Unlike what many assume, a DUI case against you can adversely affect your life for a very long time. It therefore becomes prudent that your case is handled well, so as to help you get out unscathed. When you hire a cheap attorney, you will get what you pay for – not much. Most states have unlimited funds to prosecute those charged with a DUI. This means, you need a righteous and dependable legal counselor who can help you get out of the situation you are in.
Take a DUI Arrest Seriously
While this may seem like a no brainer, a DUI conviction is not a small matter and you must not take it lightly. A DUI conviction is bound to appear on any background checks conducted for the rest of your life. That is not all. Any subsequent DUI charges may result in harsher penalties. It may also lead to a hike in insurance premiums, court costs and fines, drug tests, and probation fees.
RMFW Law Can Change Your Situation For The Better
If you or somebody you know has been grievously injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, you should immediately consult an astute and tremendous personal injury lawyer which can be found at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law (212 697 9280). RMFW Law will review your case in depth and advise you on the legal options you have.
If your case is viable, we will build a fantastic case and prepare to attack the other side on the merits of the law. We know how to win inside and outside of court.
You can file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver and recover fair compensation for your injuries and other damages. So, do not waste time. Whether you have been in an accident yourself or caused an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol, you will need the guidance of a golden personal injury or DUI attorney to help you claim the appropriate amount of compensation or get out of this situation you are mired in.
Call RMFW Law now! We have won millions of dollars for past clients, you too can be on this amazing list.