Drunk Driving Accidents in New Jersey: What You Need to Know

Date: June 7, 2023
a person driving a car on a road with traffic lights

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone is killed in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes. Drunk driving crash injuries can lead to death or serious long-term injuries. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can review your case and explain your legal options.

Understanding Drunk Driving Accidents in New Jersey

In New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.08. A DUI is treated as a traffic offense. Still, it carries a minimum jail sentence, even for a first offense. The penalties for second offenses or driving with a BAC greater than 0.10 can escalate.

DUI accidents can cause serious injuries. Often, the other driver cannot anticipate what a drunk driver may do behind the wheel, and they cannot take any evasive action. In addition, drunk driving accidents often occur at high speeds, increasing the chances of serious injuries.

Legal Rights and Protections for Drunk Driving Accident Victims

If you have been injured in any car accident, you may pursue compensation for the injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. This includes payment for both your economic and non-economic damages associated with your injuries. Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages, while non-economic damages compensate you for the post-accident experience, including pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.

New Jersey law would look at whether you were partially to blame for your injuries, potentially reducing your financial recovery under the principles of comparative negligence. However, a drunk driver might be 100 percent to blame for the accident.

State law may also allow you to pursue other responsible parties. For example, New Jersey dram shop laws could make a tavern or restaurant owner liable for your injuries if they continued to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron involved in a drunk driving accident.

What to Do at the Scene of a Drunk Driving Accident

You should do whatever you can at the accident scene, including taking pictures, getting contact information from witnesses, and learning what they saw. Obtaining evidence may not always be easy when you have suffered physical injuries. If you cannot do it yourself, you should ask someone else at the scene to help you gather evidence.

Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident

What you do after a drunk driving accident is critical. You should report the accident to the police. An officer will come to the scene and potentially arrest the other driver if they have a BAC over 0.08 percent. They will also write an accident report, which may be critical to your insurance claim. Then, you should report the accident to your insurance company. If you have been injured, you should get medical help and call a car accident lawyer to represent you.

The two people you need the most after you have been injured in a drunk driving accident are a doctor and a lawyer. Both your medical and legal situations are critical. You must do everything under your control to recover from your injuries. At the same time, you should pursue full financial compensation. An experienced lawyer can handle the details of your case while working to maximize your claim.

Get Legal Help From Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC

Contact our New Jersey car accident lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC to begin the legal process of pursuing financial compensation after a DUI accident. We can help explain the steps you must take after a drunk driving accident to put you in the best legal position. Call us at 732-800-9474 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Manasquan, New Jersey, we serve clients in and around Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.