Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three fatal traffic accidents involve a drunk driver. In addition to the roughly 1,000 people who die in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. each year, tens of thousands more are seriously injured because someone chose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. If you have been hurt or your family has lost a loved one due to a DUI crash, you should discuss your options with a car accident lawyer who is familiar with these claims. Compassionate Saratoga County drunk driving accident attorney Gregory P. Garofalo is here to guide you through the often complex process of seeking compensation for your injuries or your loved one’s death in the Capital District area.Asserting Your Rights Through a Drunk Driving Accident Case
Car crash cases are usually pursued under a theory of personal injury law known as “negligence.” To prove negligence, the plaintiff needs to show that the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff, there was a breach of the duty by the defendant, the plaintiff incurred some type of damages, and there was legal causation between the breach of duty and the damages. Even if the defendant is charged with and convicted of drunk driving, the plaintiff still has the burden of proof in the civil car accident case. The prosecution handles the criminal case, but typically a criminal conviction does not result in any financial payment to the plaintiff except perhaps a small amount of restitution.
After proving the basic elements of negligence, a person who has been injured by a drunk driver must provide proof of the particular damages for which they are seeking compensation. In determining the amount that the plaintiff will receive in a personal injury case, the jury may consider both economic and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages are those that may be readily calculated based on the evidence. These include past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and loss of future earning capacity, mileage for medical treatment, and property damage. Non-economic damages include less easily calculated elements, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
In addition to compensatory damages, a plaintiff in a drunk driving accident case may also seek punitive damages such as in a Dram Shop Action. A Dram Shop action arises from the unlawful sale of liquor to a minor or a person visibly intoxicated. Under New York law, it is within the discretion of the jury to punish a defendant or “send a message” about the dangers of drunk driving by ordering the defendant to pay an amount that exceeds the amount that would reasonably compensate the plaintiff for what they have endured due to the accident.Seek Guidance from a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Saratoga County
Timeliness is very important in legal matters, especially when it comes to talking to an attorney about filing a claim against a drunk driver whose actions hurt you or a loved one. Evidence tends to fade away or become subject to spoliation over time, which may devalue an otherwise solid case. Additionally, claims not filed within the statute of limitations will likely be dismissed by the trial court on procedural grounds. To get started on holding a drunk driver accountable for a crash, call Saratoga drunk driving accident lawyer Gregory P. Garofalo at (518) 584-1557 or contact us online and ask for a free consultation. He represents victims who need a personal injury attorney in Ballston Lake, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, Saratoga Springs, Malta, Rotterdam, Gansevoort, Waterford, Albany, Latham, Schenectady, Glens Falls, and Queensbury, as well as other areas of Saratoga, Albany, Warren, Washington, and Schenectady Counties.