Evidence of Liability | Potential Sources of Recovery
According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 7% of all traffic accidents in the United States involve consumption of alcohol,and approximately 15% of all traffic deaths are alcohol-related. If you or someone you love is injured by a drunk driver, you have a right to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. In this blog, we look at what’s required to establish proof in such a personal injury claim and the various sources from which you might recover damages.
Proof of Fault
In the aftermath of an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident, there typically are two different legal proceedings—the criminal prosecution to determine penalties and a civil lawsuit to recover money damages for personal injury and property loss. A guilty plea or verdict in the criminal matter does not automatically translate to fault or liability in the civil claim. However, the fact that the defendant has been convicted can be introduced as evidence to establish fault or responsibility.
Potential Sources of Recovery
Under New Jersey’s no-fault auto insurance law, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident files a claim with their own insurance company, rather than seeking to recover from the at-fault motorist. In addition to the amount you can recover from your insurer, you also may have other potentially responsible parties from whom you can get compensation:
- Under New Jersey’s “dram shop” law, you can seek damages from an individual and/or establishment that served alcohol to the at-fault party, provided the person was “visibly intoxicated” when served or was under the age of 21. New Jersey also extends liability to “social hosts,” persons who host private events.
- You may have a claim against a municipality if the accident was caused in part by a roadway defect.
- You may have a claim against the designer or manufacturer of the car, or a component part of the car, if the wreck was caused in part by defective product design or manufacture.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, or videoconference.
We handle all wrongful death claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.