In an instant, a drunk driver can turn an innocent victim’s life into a nightmare – leaving them severely and permanently injured, or worse. If you were recently injured by another driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, a car accident lawyer at Eisbrouch Marsh can help you pick up the pieces and move toward a brighter future.
Too often, drunk drivers take away that which is not theirs; let Eisbrouch Marsh help you recover some of what you’ve lost at the hands of someone else’s negligence and disregard for human safety: 201-342-5545.
Drunk Driving in New Jersey
Unfortunately, drunk driving is an ongoing problem on the New Jersey roadways. NJ lawmakers have enacted tougher laws to crack down on the problem, but the following statistics represent a snapshot of the DUI picture statewide:
- In 2012, 164 people were killed as a result of alcohol-related auto accidents. This figure represents 28 percent of all New Jersey traffic deaths – as well as a 15 percent increase over alcohol-related deaths in 2011.
- Nationwide, 10,322 people were killed as a result of an alcohol-related collision. Similar to New Jersey, this figure accounts for about 30 percent of all traffic deaths.
- During New Jersey’s annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which spans from August 16th through September 2nd each year, 1,419 people were arrested in New Jersey for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). This figure decreased somewhat in 2013 to 1,365.
- Nationwide, the age group involved in the highest number of fatal crashes was 21-24. Fatal crashes are four times more likely to occur in the evening, and twice as likely to occur on the weekends.
As the statistics show, intoxicated driving is a problem both in New Jersey and nationwide. Fortunately, civil and criminal laws are in place to hold these offenders responsible and distribute justice accordingly.
How the Law Treats Drunk Drivers
A drunk driver may face liability and penalties on both the civil and criminal sides of the law. Criminally speaking, a drunk driver need not actually collide with another vehicle before facing a penalty. On the civil side of the law, however, a drunk driving lawsuit in New Jersey will only succeed if a plaintiff can prove injury resulting from an alcohol-related crash.
At Eisbrouch Marsh, we are exceptionally experienced at motor vehicle accident cases involving drunk drivers. We understand the necessity of involving law enforcement as witnesses and always go the extra mile to present the strongest case possible on behalf of our clients. In the context of a drunk driving lawsuit, which is decided under New Jersey’s laws of negligence, the plaintiff must prove four elements.
The 4 elements that must be proved in a drunk driver personal injury lawsuit in NJ:
- Duty: The duty element requires the plaintiff to show that, at the time of the crash, the defendant owed plaintiff a duty of reasonable care. In the context of auto accidents, this element is easily proven as all drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.
- Breach: Did the defendant breach his duty of care by committing some act or omission?
- Causation: Did the defendant’s breach cause the plaintiff’s injuries?
- Damages: Can the plaintiff prove actual physical or financial damages?
Upon meeting these elements, the defendant in a civil drunk driving lawsuit could face substantial liability. At a minimum, a liable drunk driving defendant will be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, which generally includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damages and other actual costs related to the crash.
If the plaintiff is left permanently injured or disabled, the defendant will likely be ordered to pay additional general damages to cover the victim’s pain and suffering, emotional turmoil or anxiety. If the court believes the defendant acted with intent or malice in injuring the victim, it may award punitive damages as well.
Wrongful Death Following a Drunk Driving Crash
Tragically, fatalities are very common in alcohol-related collisions. Under New Jersey law, the surviving immediate family members of a drunk driving victim may be able to recover from the responsible party by advancing a wrongful death lawsuit.
To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit in NJ, the case must meet the same four elements listed above to establish negligence and prove that the defendant was responsible for the death of the victim. From there, the court will award a verdict amount to compensate the family for the costs of the victims final injuries (if any), funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.
Contact a New Jersey DUI Accident Lawyer Today
At Eisbrouch Marsh, we offer a comprehensive approach to handling alcohol-related car accident lawsuits in New Jersey. We understand that these accidents often leave victims severely and permanently injured, and will work diligently to obtain the highest possible payout on behalf of the victim and his or her family.
To schedule a no-charge, non-binding consultation in our New Jersey office, please give us a call today at 201-342-5545. With offices in Hackensack, Newark, and New York, our lawyers welcome clients from Bergen County, Essex County and all nearby areas in New Jersey.
- New Jersey Office of Attorney General, Drive sober or get pulled over report, http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/2013_DSOGPO_Report-WEB.pdf
- New Jersey Office of Attorney General, Drive sober or get pulled over fact sheet, http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/youlose_factsheets.html