I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: What Are My Legal Options?
First of all, I’m sorry for what you’ve endured. Nobody should drink and drive. Ever. If you have been harmed by a drunk driver, you should know that you have legal options in civil court that are designed to award the compensation you deserve for your suffering.
Let’s review legal options for car accidents caused by a drunk driver. My Jersey City, NJ, law office can help you file a personal injury lawsuit for your car accident.
Beyond Criminal Proceedings
Driving drunk is a crime. In some cases, it is even a felony. As a victim of a drunk driving incident, you may be called upon to testify in criminal court to help ensure that the individual who harmed you faces the highest penalties possible.
While you are likely focused on your accident and situation, you should not neglect your own recovery. At the same time as any criminal proceedings are ongoing, or even after they have concluded, you can pursue a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver to seek the compensation you deserve for physical, financial, and emotional suffering.
Filing Soon Is Highly Advised
In New Jersey, a surviving victim of a drunk driving accident has just 2 years from the date of the crash to file their personal injury lawsuit. Grieving family members have 2 years to file a wrongful death case. While this can seem like more than enough time, you may miss your deadline to file if you solely focus on the criminal proceedings and not your civil lawsuit.
In addition to ensuring you don’t miss the deadline set by our state’s statute of limitations, filing sooner rather than later allows me to start obtaining crucial evidence while it is still fresh.
Finally, starting your case now can mean you receive your compensation sooner rather than later. Even though drunk driving suits can seem straightforward, the truth is they often are not. The defendant’s insurance company may deny liability and cause negotiations to drag out. While I will do my best to maximize your compensation in a timely manner, it is still wise to start as soon as you can.
Seeking Punitive Damages in DUI Cases
The standard type of money awarded in a car accident case is referred to as compensatory damages. These are given for quantifiable losses like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, as well as noneconomic losses like emotional distress and mental anguish.
There is another form of compensation that is rarely awarded, called punitive damages. Drunk driving lawsuits are one of the few personal injury case types in which punitive damages can often be pursued, as these damages are specifically designed to punish egregiously dangerous and reckless behavior.
I can seek punitive damages in a trial following the one in which any compensatory damages are awarded. While extending a lawsuit can seem like a daunting prospect, you should know that punitive damages in New Jersey can be as high as five times the amount of compensatory damages awarded.
Don’t Wait to Start Your Recovery
I take drunk driving accidents very seriously. As an attorney who has won many six-figure cases since opening my Jersey City, NJ, firm a decade ago, I am ready to do everything I can to help you obtain significant compensation for your suffering. Contact my Jersey City law office to request a consultation.