If you were injured due to a drunk driver’s poor choices, you cannot deal with the consequences alone. The law on the matter is complex. When you need a helping hand, The Law Offices Of James C. DeZao, P.A. is there for you. After a traumatic incident, your focus should be on getting better. We can handle the rest of it.
We will work diligently to make sure your rights are protected and that you obtain as much compensation as allowed by law. We will turn over every rock along the way to find evidence against the at-fault driver. This includes analyzing the accident scene, the police report, and evidence already collected. We will also speak to witnesses of the crash and review any blood tests administered to the driver.
Over 150 Years of Collective Legal Experience
Opposing lawyers or insurance companies will aim to offer you far less compensation than you deserve. An experienced lawyer can get you the maximum amount so you can rest easy when life becomes difficult. Your life has already been turned upside down because you were injured by a drunk driver. Or, worse yet, you lost a family member because of a drunk driver. If the family member you lost was the sole source of income, or brought in the most income, your family could be in a serious financial situation in a matter of weeks.
It is the goal of the insurance company to pay as little as possible when rectifying a claim made against one of its policy holders. For this reason alone, you need to consult with an experienced attorney before speaking to the insurance company or the adjuster sent to investigate your claim.
Make sure you never provide a statement to the insurance company or an opposing attorney without first speaking to your attorney about what happened. A statement of any kind could lead to the opposing counsel or insurance company blaming you for the accident, even though you truly were not at fault in the drunk driving crash.
When at the accident scene, be sure not to say too much about what happened to anyone, even if a police officer is talking to you — give as simple a statement as possible to the officer. Do not expound about what you think happened. You also shouldn’t offer any information that could wind up putting you in a bad situation, such as mentioning you both left the same establishment at the same time. The other driver hit you. They are at fault and should be the focus.
The first time you should talk at length about the accident is with an attorney. Tell us everything that happened, what lane you were in, if you had a green light, and much more. The more you remember about the crash, the stronger your case will be against the at-fault driver.
Medical bills, lost wages, and other damages will start to accumulate over time. Do not delay — call The Law Offices Of James C. DeZao, P.A. today. After you have been hit by a drunk driver, you need to start the process of getting your life back to normal right away. The postponement of necessary actions can greatly hamper your case.
Drunk Driving & the Holidays
The holidays are unfortunately a common time of year for drunk driving accidents. For one, there are a lot more people on the roads. Secondly, a lot more people are reuniting with friends and family to celebrate. Parties are held at offices, homes, and restaurants regularly during the holiday season. The danger of driving during the holidays seems to increase with each passing year.
How Alcohol & Drugs Make Drivers Dangerous
Alcohol and drugs can seriously impair driving abilities. Someone who may be a safe, competent driver when sober can turn into a threat to themselves and others if intoxicated.
The following are impaired after a driver uses alcohol:
- Judgment: Judgment is based on experience and knowledge and ideally can be used quickly when facing a problem. Alcohol and other drugs impact the parts of the brain controlling judgment, resulting in a driver taking risks they normally would not (like speeding or running a red light).
- Vision: Alcohol and some drugs can result in blurred vision, slowing the ability to focus and causing double vision. The ability to judge distance and speed can also be impaired. Vision helps a driver judge the distance to an object and its position relative to their path of travel. As the level of blood alcohol increases, the driver may cross the road’s centerline, wander from lane to lane, or even drive off the road.
- Color distinction: Alcohol and other drugs impair one’s ability to accurately see colors, such as yellow lane markers and red stop signs.
- Reaction time: The ability to process information and respond to a situation can be impaired by alcohol and drugs, causing a driver to lose their bearings or fail to react appropriately to traffic or road conditions. Drivers under the influence often become drowsy and less alert.
Dram Shop Laws in New Jersey
In most cases of drunk driving accidents, the person who chose to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is directly responsible for causing harm to others. However, there are some cases in which the people who served alcohol to the drunk driver could also be held liable for damages.
Known as “dram shop” laws, some states have statutes in place that account for the responsibility of businesses and social hosts in cases of drunk driving. In the state of New Jersey, a bar, restaurant, liquor store, or even homeowner who held a party the drunk driver attended can be considered partially responsible for an accident if they gave alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated or not of legal drinking age who then drove drunk and injured others in a car accident.
Don’t Be the Drunk Behind the Wheel
Depending on where you live and what you plan to do, there are several alternatives to drinking and driving.
Here are some tips to keep you and your friends safe:
- Don’t drink or arrange for a designated driver who won’t drink alcohol. Some establishments provide free non-alcoholic drinks for designated drivers.
- If you’re close enough, consider walking to and from the event.
- Use public transit.
- Use a cab, Uber, or Lyft to get you from one place to another.
In Case You Become Injured in a Vehicle Accident
If you are out with family and friends and you or a loved one is injured in an accident, the drunk driver and others may be held responsible for compensating you for your injuries and property loss.
After an accident, call the police and get medical attention as soon as possible. If you feel you can’t safely drive your vehicle, ask for an ambulance. If your injuries are not that serious, get examined by your local hospital or physician. Prompt medical attention is critical for personal and legal reasons.
You may have so much adrenaline in your system that you can’t feel the pain from your injuries. You could be in a state of shock and not fully aware of what has happened to you. Your safety and health need to be your priority.
The longer you delay in seeing a health care professional, the more likely it is that the insurance company will deny that your injuries are accident related. It may claim the injuries have been fabricated or are the result of another, unrelated incident.
There are things you can do at the accident scene to help your case, but don’t risk your safety, and don’t interfere with first responders:
- You or another person should use your camera or smart phone to take photos or videos of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, injuries to people, and the road conditions.
- If the other driver is conscious, note whether they act intoxicated. Are there any bottles or cans of alcoholic drinks in the other car? Is the other driver going through a sobriety test at the scene? If so, photos or videos could be very helpful.
- Try to get the names of the police officers at the scene so we can follow up.
We protect our clients’ rights to fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence and willful acts of drunk drivers. We help our clients get the best medical care possible and deal with insurance companies, so our clients won’t have to. We pride ourselves on helping them recover from the accident so they can get their lives back on track.
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