If you are in an auto accident where the other driver was drunk or impaired from a controlled substance, then you may be able to seek compensation for injuries sustained. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party should help but if the accident occurred in a no-fault state, such as New Jersey, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced NJ personal injury attorney rather than filing a lawsuit on your own. . Here are your legal options if you sustained injuries from a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
Insurance Claims Remain Your Best Option in New Jersey
If your injuries and related medical expenses are significant, it’s best to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer. At the very east, consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer prior to speaking with any insurance company is the prudent way to go… our team of attorneys at The Grossman Law Firm are well-versed in handling these cases and offer free initial consultations.
New Jersey “No-Fault” State Laws
If you live in a state that follows the no-fault car insurance laws, such as New Jersey, then you have more limited options – at least at the outset. Even if the drunk driver was at fault, you would need to rely on your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to settle your bills. Fortunately, you can step out of the no-fault system if your injuries are considered permanent or your injuries fall into one of the statutory requirements. . Under these circumstances, you may be entitled to pursue aliability claim against the driver at fault.
Civil Suits vs. Criminal Proceedings
A drunk diving civil suit is different from a criminal proceeding for drunk driving. Criminal proceedings seek to protect the public from potential harm by deterring acts like drunk driving. They also try to punish the drunk driver for being reckless. Additionally, drunk drivers can still be criminally charged even without an injury or accident involved.
A civil case is a personal injury lawsuit you file if you were victim or kin of the victim of drunk driving and there are injuries, damages or fatalities. A civil suit is a way to claim compensation for medical costs, lost wages, other economic wages or other property damage. In New Jersey, if your injuries satisfy the statutory threshold, you can also file a civil suit against the at-fault drunk driver to recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
New Jersey No-Fault Laws and Civil Suits
As mentioned, it’s trickier to claim compensation in no-fault states and these laws can affect your ability to file a civil suit in a drunk driving case. If you are in a no-fault state, such as New Jersey, there will likely be a threshold which may limit your legal rights to file a lawsuit for car accidents unless the sustained injuries meet a certain statutory severity or your injuries are deemed permanent
The impact of no-fault laws on drunk driving civil cases is a constant debate for these states. It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the appropriate course of action
Civil Suits and the Pure Negligence States
If you are in a pure negligence state, then you can sue the driver for any sustained injuries. For personal injury claims, you need to prove the fault of the driver Winning is never as easy as it sounds, and you would find many attorneys and insurance companies defending such cases. You must consult an attorney on the best way to prove your case and maximize your recovery.
For more information on how you can handle your situation in New Jersey contact The Grossman Law Firm.