All motorists know that drunk driving is a serious problem on roadways. People who choose to get behind the wheel after having too much drink choose to put the lives of people on the road, including themselves, at risk of serious and even fatal injuries. But even when drivers are very much aware of this concept, some people continue to operate vehicles when they should not.
Police are investigating the circumstances of a two-vehicle Wall Township collision believed to be have been caused by a drunk driver. Around 7:34 p.m. on November 21, a 47-year-old Atlantic Highlands woman, who was allegedly drunk, was entering Route 34 north from I-195 when she crashed into a another car that was already traveling on Route 34. The driver of the vehicle struck by the first driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The Atlantic Highlands woman was charged with assault by auto and driving while intoxicated.
Even through drivers understand the dangers of drunk driving, a number of motorists choose to do so anyway. From a civil lawsuit standpoint, drunk driving is a negligent act. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in this crash, although the potential of catastrophic or fatal injuries is high. Whenever anyone gets seriously injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, the intoxicated driver may be obligated to pay for the losses incurred by the injured victim.
When a driver is convicted of DWI, most courts accept the criminal conviction as strong proof of negligence of the driver. This is based on the legal theory or negligence per se. Presence of alcoholic beverage in the car, field sobriety test results, breath test results, and physical indications of intoxication are included in the police report. This information can also be used by the victims to prove the driver’s negligence when seeking to recover damages from the drunk driver.
In New Jersey, the criminal penalties for driving while intoxicated are quite severe. Under the law, intoxicated drivers are presumed to have acted with the intention to cause harm to other people. Many motorists can get their DWI charges reduced or dismissed in criminal courts. However, the people they injured may still recover damages whether or not the intoxicated driver is convicted of DWI.