Filing a Claim for a Drunk Driving Accident in New Jersey

Can You Sue for a Car Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver?

Experiencing a motor vehicle accident is a terrifying ordeal, especially when it is caused by a drunk driver. The aftermath can leave you dealing with serious injuries, emotional trauma, and even the loss of a loved one. These accidents are entirely preventable and result from reckless behavior that puts lives at risk. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you deserve justice and fair compensation. The Law Offices of Richard A. Stoloff is here to help you navigate this challenging time and hold the responsible parties accountable.

Understanding New Jersey's No-Fault Insurance System

New Jersey operates under a no-fault insurance system. This means that your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers your damages, regardless of who caused the accident. If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, your PIP insurance can help cover:

  • Lost wages if you cannot return to work
  • Hospital bills
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Medication
  • Various other medical expenses

In the unfortunate event of a fatality, PIP may also provide death benefits to the surviving spouse. The amount of compensation you can recover will depend on the level of personal injury protection you have purchased.

Determining Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident

At first glance, you might think that only the drunk driver can be held accountable for the accident. However, in some cases, other parties may also be held liable, including businesses and social hosts.

Social Host Liability

You may have a valid claim against a social host if they served alcohol to the driver, knowing they would be driving later. To establish social host liability, the following conditions must be met:

  • The guest was either underage or noticeably intoxicated.
  • The alcohol was served recklessly, creating an unreasonable risk to others.
  • The guest caused an accident or injury after leaving the host’s event.

Dram Shop Liability

Dram shop liability involves filing a lawsuit against establishments like bars or restaurants. New Jersey takes dram shop liability seriously. If an establishment continues to serve someone who is clearly intoxicated, they may be held liable. To establish a dram shop claim, the following conditions must be present:

  • The establishment continued to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
  • The establishment served alcohol to an underage person, even if they believed the individual was a minor.

Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident

If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident due to a drunk driver, follow these steps to protect your rights and strengthen your case:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health should be the top priority. Ensure you get a thorough medical examination, even if you feel fine.
  • Call the Police: A police report will be crucial for your claim. Provide the officers with all the details and ensure they document everything.
  • Gather Evidence: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damages. Collect contact information from witnesses.
  • Contact Your Insurance Company: Notify your insurer about the accident as soon as possible to start the claims process.
  • Consult a Qualified Attorney: An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate the complexities of your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact The Law Offices of Richard A. Stoloff to Discuss Your NJ Car Accident Case

At The Law Offices of Richard A. Stoloff, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial burden a drunk driving accident can take on you and your family. Our commitment is to ease your burden by handling the legal complexities of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery. We will fight for the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages resulting from the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, don’t wait to seek legal assistance. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you take the first step towards justice.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.