This article is by Aaron Wallenstein, a premier San Diego DWI lawyer.
A tort occurs when a person acts in an unreasonable way, and their actions result in harm to someone else. In New York, you have a right to be free from the consequences of another person’s drunk driving. When they choose to drive under the influence or over the limit, and they hurt you, you have a right to recover from them for your losses.
While you may receive some compensation as part of a criminal case against the drunk driver, you also have a right to bring a case in civil court for your damages. In many cases, this can encompass a larger range of damages than you may be eligible to receive as part of the criminal case. Although New York is a no-fault state, you may still be able to recover for your serious injuries. There are also dram shop laws that may work to hold an establishment responsible for your losses if they serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. An San Diego personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and help you determine who may be liable.
What can I recover?
You may assume that medical bills are the only thing you can seek payment for after you’re hurt by someone’s drunk driving. This isn’t the case. In fact, there are many different types of losses that you may be able to pursue.
If you’re hurt, you may not be able to return to work. You may need to take time off work, or you may not ever be able to return to work in the same capacity. Lost wages are something that you can seek compensation for.
You may also need to hire replacement services to help your family. You may need help with driving, housework or maintenance. Any of these out of pocket expenses can count as real losses because of your injuries.
There are also non-economic damages to consider. Your injuries are likely painful. You have to adjust to a new way of living without the same physical capabilities that you had before. These are real losses. Your San Diego personal injuries attorneys can help you value these losses and document them to the jury.
How can an attorney help?
If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, there are a number of ways that an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney can help you with your case. They have a network of experts that they can tap to help you prepare your claim. You may work with an accident investigator in order to reconstruct what happened and how you got hurt. While a police officer may just want to investigate the drunk driving offense and get a conviction, your attorney conducts a much more detailed investigation in order to determine the real chain of events that led to your losses.
From there, your attorney skillfully builds your case. They can use New York’s court rules to conduct depositions of witnesses and even the person that hurt you. Discovery proceedings help you gather documentation from the other side. There are also procedures for gathering records from government agencies. Your attorney can prepare your case according to New York’s rules of evidence. This allows you to present your case to the jury in the best possible light.
In addition, your legal team can negotiate with other side. In some cases, the process of preparing the case makes it clear to the other side that they’re at fault. In that case, they may offer to pay you a fair amount before your case even heads to trial. Your attorney can give you advice based in experience about whether you should accept a settlement offer. Their guidance can give you confidence as your case proceeds, until you receive justice for your losses.