Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
In the fall of 2012, a New York highway patrol officer was killed in an accident on the Long Island Expressway when a drunk driver struck him in a multicar accident. The driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminal possession of a controlled substance and reckless endangerment. This accident demonstrates the havoc that intoxicated drivers can wreak. When an intoxicated driver causes an accident, he or she may face civil liability for injuries and damage resulting from the accident, in addition to criminal charges.
Drunk drivers and liability
In order to hold a drunk driver responsible for a car accident, a person must be able to prove that the driver was at fault. In order to do this, an injured person has to prove that the driver was indeed intoxicated during the crash and that the level of alcohol in the driver’s system made him or her unable to operate a vehicle.
One of the ways a victim can establish that a driver is responsible for an accident is by getting a copy of the police report, which has the police officer’s opinions about the accident based on studying what happened at the scene. In addition, if there were witnesses to the accident, getting their testimony can go a long way toward establishing liability. This information is important if a victim is planning to take the driver to court, or trying to collect compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
Other parties that may be responsible for a car crash
In some cases, the driver does not bear sole responsibility for an accident. For example, under New York’s dram shop laws, a business can be held legally responsible for accidents that involve underage drivers. These laws allow accident victims to sue alcohol retailers or bars if they can prove that the underage driver received the alcohol from that business; the alcohol that was given to the driver made him or her intoxicated; and the accident was the result of the driver being under the influence.
Social host laws are also applicable when underage drunk drivers injure other people on the road. Under these laws, people can be held responsible for giving alcohol to underage drivers in their homes. In fact, a person does not have to actually hand alcohol to the teen driver; if a person has alcohol on the property and does not reasonably prevent a minor from having it, the person can still be held responsible for any subsequent accident that the driver has.
Have you been injured by a drunk driver?
If you have been injured by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact a personal injury lawyer to get help. You may be able to hold that driver legally responsible for what you have been through and get compensation for your injuries, as well as pain and suffering and lost wages.
The recent death of a highway patrol officer reminds us of how dangerous it is to drive drunk. This article is brought to you by Larkin Ingrassia, LLP.