Making the decision to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is an incredibly dangerous one. Not only does the driver put their own life and property at risk but they frequently leave a path of destruction which leaves other serious injured. That’s exactly what happened on December 12th, 2016, when a drunk driver hit another vehicle in Newburgh, NY.
Several People Injured
It was around 9:30 p.m. when the drunk driver, a 40-year-old woman, hit the back of a van carrying five people. The collision caused the van to flip and roll over.
One of the passengers was ejected from the van and thrown into the road where she was run over by a woman driving a Subaru Forrester who was unable to stop in time. Although she survived both the first collision and being hit by a car, the passenger sustained serious internal and facial injuries and is still in critical condition. Several of the other passengers in the van also had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
The police arrested the drunk driver and charged her with driving while intoxicated and felony vehicular assault. She has been scheduled to appear in court in the new year, on Jan 24th, 2017.
What Rights Do The Victims Have?
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of thousands of injuries and deaths through car accidents in Newburgh and throughout New York. In almost all cases, the police will arrest and press charges against the intoxicated driver. However, even if found guilty, these charges will not provide the victim with any sort of compensation, only a feeling that justice has been served.
This is why the law also allows the victims to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent party. A car accident lawsuit may provide them with monetary compensation for:
- The money spent on medical expenses from to treat injuries relating to the accident.
- Any income lost due to an inability to work because of the accident.
- Physical pain and suffering – if the injuries cause ongoing pain or result in serious scarring or disfigurement.
- Loss of enjoyment if the victim is unable to join in activities that they previously enjoyed prior to being injured.
- The emotional trauma that resulted from the accident.
While New York is a “no-fault” state and car insurance will likely cover some of these costs, when the victims sustain serious injuries they can choose to pursue legal action to obtain additional compensation.
What Documents Will I Need?
In most cases, the following documents will be helpful in proving your claim:
- The police report made after the accident.
- The contact information of any other passengers / witnesses to the accident.
- Photographs of the accident and injuries.
- Medical records.
- Any paperwork received from any insurance company.
If you have difficulty obtaining documents, consult with a car accident attorney.
What Should I Do If The Insurance Company Offers Me A Check?
If the check the insurance company issues you is for anything other than repairs made to a vehicle or the replacement cost of your vehicle, don’t accept or sign anything until you have consulted an attorney. Often, an insurance company will offer a settlement, hoping to avoid a lawsuit, however, it is not often that the offer is worthwhile.
How Soon Must I File?
In every accident, there is a statute of limitations. This means that the victim only has a certain amount of time before they can no longer file a lawsuit. For car accidents, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. If no complaint is filed within this range, the plaintiff may lose the opportunity to obtain compensation forever.