One could think that due to the massive public transportation services and rideshare apps available, drunk driving accidents may decrease in New York, but that is far from what is happening.
Drunk driving accidents account for nearly 2,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2022. There is an alarming number of accidents in the city, and it increases each year.
If you have been involved in an accident where the at-fault driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
Contacting a drunk driving accident lawyer in The Bronx can be a great help if you want to receive the fairest compensation.
New York's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limits
In New York, a law prohibits drivers from getting behind the wheel when they are 0.08% or more blood alcohol content.
As a rough estimate, a standard drink in the United States is typically c ounces (about 148 milliliters) of wine with an alcohol content of around 12% - 14%.
To reach a BAC of 0.08, the legal limit for driving in many jurisdictions, you might need to consume around 4 to 5 standard drinks over a short period.
Remember that BAC can vary significantly from person to person, so it's crucial to avoid drinking and driving altogether to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
The specific law in New York that addresses driving under the influence (DUI), including blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits, can be found in the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), specifically under Section 1192.
Zero tolerance laws for underage drivers
Like many other states, The Bronx, New York, has implemented a "zero tolerance" policy regarding alcohol consumption and underage drivers. This means that individuals under the legal drinking age are subject to strict penalties if they are found to have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle.
Under the Zero Tolerance Law:
The legal drinking age in New York is 21.
If a driver under 21 is found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher, they can be charged with violating the Zero Tolerance Law.
Penalties for violating the Zero Tolerance Law can include a driver's license suspension, fines, and the requirement to attend an alcohol education program.
Subsequent violations can result in more severe penalties, including longer license suspensions and increased fines.
Commercial vehicle DUI standards
Commercial drivers, who operate vehicles such as trucks, buses, and other large vehicles, are held to stricter standards regarding alcohol and drug impairment due to the potential for more severe consequences in an accident involving such vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets national standards for commercial drivers operating in interstate commerce. These regulations apply to drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that cross state lines or transport goods or passengers between states.
The FMCSA has established a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of 0.04% for commercial drivers.
Under New York State law
Commercial drivers are subject to the same 0.04% BAC limit mandated by the FMCSA.
Suppose a commercial driver is found to have a BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial motor vehicle. In that case, they can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192.
Penalties for commercial drivers convicted of DWI can include fines, license suspensions, and other consequences impacting their ability to drive professionally.
A first-time DWI offense by a commercial driver can result in disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. Subsequent offenses can lead to extended disqualification periods and, in some cases, lifetime disqualification.
Commercial drivers are subject to more strict regulations because of the size and weight of their motor vehicles; also, because they often carry dangerous materials, they transport people and goods that are essential to the functioning of the economy.
They also cross multiple states, so they must meet the national standard laws to drive over them.
Bronx Drunk Drivers Causing Injuries
Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous for the people sharing the public highways and the drunk driver itself. They often ignore traffic signs and perform reckless driving.
Not to mention that high levels of alcohol in the blood affect their reaction times and cause drivers to make bad decisions.
If we sum all of these up, poor judgment, speeding, aggressive driving, and slowed reaction times, only mean an inevitable accident that may take the lives of one or more innocent people at the wrong place at a bad moment.
If the victim does not lose their life in the accident, they may sustain injuries from mild injuries to serious ones.
A list of potential injuries that can be found on drunk driving accident scenes is as follows:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck injury
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
The Process After a Drunk Driving Accident
Experiencing a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming, but knowing what steps to take afterward is essential for your well-being and potential legal claims.
Here's a straightforward guide on what to do in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident in The Bronx:
1. Ensure Safety First:
After the accident, prioritize your safety and the safety of others involved. If possible, move to a safe area and turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers.
2. Seek Medical Attention:
Check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is injured, call for medical help immediately. Your health is a priority, and documenting injuries promptly can also strengthen your case.
3. Contact Law Enforcement:
Call the police at the accident scene. A police report is a crucial evidence for insurance claims and potential legal actions.
4. Document the Scene:
Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and visible injuries. These photos can provide substantial evidence later.
5. Gather Witness Information:
If there are witnesses, ask for their names and contact details. Their testimony can support your version of events.
6. Exchange Information:
Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle information with the other driver(s) involved. Do not discuss fault or liability at the scene.
7. Avoid Discussing the Accident:
Refrain from discussing the accident with the other party, especially about fault or responsibility. Anything you say can be used against you later.
8. Report to Your Insurer:
Inform your insurance company about the accident. Provide accurate details without admitting fault. Cooperate with their investigation.
9. Preserve Documents:
Keep all documents related to the accident, including the police report, medical records, and communications with your insurer.
10. Consult an Attorney:
Reach out to a qualified drunk driving accident lawyer in The Bronx. They specialize in personal injury cases and can guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected.
New York law has statute limitations for filing claims and lawsuits after an accident. Generally, you have three years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
However, consulting with a DUI accident lawyer as soon as possible is advisable to understand your specific timeframe.
Compensation for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you've been a victim of a drunk driving accident in The Bronx, you have the right to seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial hardships you've experienced.
Understanding the types of compensation available and how potential payment is calculated can be essential in helping you recover after such a traumatic event.
You can seek compensation for medical bills related to the accident, including hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.
If the accident resulted in you missing work due to injuries, you can claim compensation for your lost income. This includes both current and future lost earnings.
Pain and Suffering:
Compensation can also account for the physical and emotional pain you've endured due to the accident and its aftermath.
If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you can seek repair or replacement costs reimbursement.
Loss of Enjoyment:
If the accident has affected your ability to enjoy life as you did before, you can seek compensation for the loss of activities and experiences.
Calculating Potential Compensation
Calculating potential compensation involves considering both economic and non-economic damages:
These are quantifiable losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Summing up these financial losses provides a base for compensation.
These are intangible losses like pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Calculating these damages is more subjective. Some use a multiplier (e.g., a factor of 1 to 5) of economic damages to estimate non-economic damages.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded. These are intended to punish the at-fault party for egregious behavior, such as driving under the influence. However, New York has limitations on punitive damages, which are not commonly awarded.
Bronx Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Feeling confused and overwhelmed when hurt due to a drunk driving accident in The Bronx is common. You may feel a lot of pain, and the consequences of the injuries could last long.
The best representation you can find to obtain the fairest monetary compensation is at The Ward Law Group P.L. We have a team of experienced and respected drunk driving accident lawyers who can support you in those vulnerable times.
Contact us at 855-DOLOR-55 for a free consultation, or chat online with one of our attorneys so you can get the answers you need.