East Brunswick DWI Accident Lawyer

DWI Lawyer

Drunk driving remains one of the leading causes of car accidents across New Jersey and the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 39 minutes. In 2022, 13,524 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths.” By the time most people get caught for drunk driving, they likely drove intoxicated on dozens of different occasions.

Innocent bystanders are disproportionately affected by the negligent actions of drunk drivers. These collisions can leave victims with life-altering injuries and high medical bills. They may also need to take extensive time off from work in order to recover. This places an enormous burden on victims and their families. Any person injured by the negligent actions of a drunk driver may be able to seek justice through a civil claim. The East Brunswick DWI accident lawyers at Beninato & Matrafajlo are here to help you. Our legal team can examine the unique facts of your case and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued. You can reach out to us anytime at (908) 355-7100).

How Alcohol and Drugs Impair Driving

Alcohol reduces key aspects of a person’s brain function, impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. All of these abilities are critical in order to operate a vehicle safely. The level of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream correlates with increased negative effects on their nervous system. Part of the problem is that alcohol blinds a person to how poorly they are driving in the first place. Even small amounts of alcohol below the legal limit can have a serious impact on a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) 0.02: A BAC of only 0.02 is associated with a decline of visual function and a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time.
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) 0.05: A BAC of only 0.05 is associated with reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, and difficulty steering.
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) 0.08: A BAC of 0.08 is associated with short-term memory loss, impaired concentration, and impaired perception.
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) 0.10: A BAC of 0.10 is associated with a reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately.

What many people do not realize is that alcohol is not the only substance that could impair a driver. Certain drugs like opioids can cause impaired cognitive function. Muscle relaxants can cause drowsiness, which may lead drivers to inadvertently fall asleep. Even over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs can lead to dizziness and impair vision. It is always best to consult with your doctor about how any particular medication may affect your ability to drive safely.

Liability for Driving While Intoxicated In New Jersey

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. When a person is injured in a DWI accident in New Jersey, they will typically have legal recourse regardless of who was at fault for the accident. New Jersey operates on a no-fault insurance model. Every driver must have Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance, according to N.J.S.A. 39:6A-3.2. This insurance provides aid to drivers and passengers regardless of who was at fault. According to N.J.S.A. § 39:6A-8(a), any person who is seriously injured in a collision may be able to pursue a negligence claim against various defendants.

  • Drunk Drivers: Drunk drivers could be legally responsible for any collision in which they seriously injure someone.
  • Commercial Drivers: Commercial drivers are held to an even higher standard than civilians and are considered intoxicated if they operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
  • Truck Companies: If a truck driver or other commercial driver is intoxicated and causes a collision, their employer could potentially be held at fault.
  • Businesses That Serve Alcohol: A restaurant or other business that serves alcohol could potentially be liable for a DWI accident. In particular, the business could be legally responsible if they furnished alcohol to (1) a visibly intoxicated person or (2) a person under the legal drinking age.
  • Government Entities: A government agency could be liable for a DWI collision if a police officer knew (or should have known) that a driver was intoxicated and let them drive off in any case.

Determining liability for any DWI collision can be a complex process. It requires looking at all of the physical evidence left after a crash. These cases can become even more complex if the intoxicated driver was impaired by medications or some substance other than alcohol. To complicate matters, drivers and their insurance providers will often do everything in their power to deny responsibility for any DWI collision. This is one of the many reasons it is so crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced DWI accident attorney.

Common Injuries Associated With DWI Accidents

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) accidents often result in severe and life-altering injuries. The impaired judgment, delayed reaction times, and decreased motor skills of intoxicated drivers increase the likelihood that they crash at high speeds without attempting to brake. These same drivers are also much more likely to veer out of their lane of traffic and cause head-on collisions. What follows below are just some of the common injuries associated with DWI accidents.

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): One of the most serious outcomes of DWI accidents is traumatic brain injuries. TBIs occur when an impact or sudden jolt causes a person’s brain to violently smack against their skull. Victims can suffer from a range of symptoms, including cognitive impairment, memory loss, and long-term disability.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries are another traumatic result of DWI accidents. These injuries can result in partial or even complete paralysis. In turn, this can impact a person’s ability to work or simply enjoy everyday activities.
  • Broken Bones: The force of an impact from a DWI accident can lead to broken bones and fractures. For drivers and passengers, commonly affected areas will include a person’s wrist, legs, arms, ribs, and pelvis. These injuries often require surgery and lengthy rehabilitation periods.
  • Internal Injuries: Many of the injuries associated with DWI accidents are internal and may include organ damage. These injuries are not always immediately apparent, which can make them particularly dangerous. Prompt medical attention is crucial for identifying and treating internal injuries.

Beyond physical injuries, it is common for people who survive serious collisions to suffer from long-term emotional and psychological trauma. In particular, many victims of DWI accidents have reported experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD can manifest in a variety of different ways, including intrusive thoughts, distressing dreams, reluctance or refusal to drive, and a numbing of emotional responsiveness.

Why You Should Hire A DWI Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a DWI accident, hiring an attorney is crucial to ensuring that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated. The aftermath of a DWI can be extremely overwhelming. In an instant, people lose access to their livelihoods, their vehicles, and may need to contend with high medical bills. An attorney can take tangible steps to help you with all of these outcomes. Here are just a few reasons you should hire a DWI accident attorney if you’ve been injured.

  • Expertise In DWI Laws: Navigating the complexities of DWI laws in New Jersey requires specialized knowledge and experience held by an attorney. They understand the arguments that defense attorneys and insurance providers may attempt to use to avoid responsibility for a collision. Accordingly, they can identify the legal strategies that will be most effective for holding intoxicated drivers accountable.
  • Thorough Investigation: An attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. This will include gathering police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, and consulting with accident reconstruction experts if necessary.
  • Establishing Liability: Determining liability in a DWI accident can be complex and involve multiple liable parties. Your attorney will work to establish who is responsible for your injuries, including drivers, social hosts, employers, and vehicle owners.
  • Maximum Compensation: A DWI accident can leave victims with significant financial burdens. Your attorney will take into consideration how an accident has impacted all parts of your life and career in order to ensure that you are fairly compensated.
  • Legal Advocacy In Court: If an insurance provider is refusing to offer a fair settlement, they can take your case to trial if need be. Having an experienced DWI accident attorney by your side ensures that you have a strong legal advocate in your time of need.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to hiring a DWI accident attorney is the financial arrangement between both parties. Unlike most attorneys, accident attorneys do not charge up-front legal fees in order to start working on your case. Instead, they operate on a contingency fee arrangement. They only get paid by the opposing party’s insurance provider if they are able to successfully resolve your claim. You owe them nothing out-of-pocket.

Getting Legal Help After A DWI Accident

At Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC we understand the severe impact that a DWI accident can have on individuals as well as their families. Our legal team is committed to getting victims justice and holding all liable parties accountable. There is no case too large or too small for us to handle. If you are unsure where to begin after a DWI accident, allow us to be your source of strength.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a DWI accident? You may be entitled to financial compensation. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims across New Jersey. In fact, our law firm has recovered over $100 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of assistance, we are here to serve your needs. You can reach out to us anytime at (908) 355-7100).

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Frequently Asked Questions

Drivers are considered intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

Yes, drivers can be liable for DWI even if they were intoxicated by medications.

A bar or other business that served alcohol could be liable for an accident if they served someone visibly intoxicated or under the legal age to drink.

Victims of DWI accidents can suffer a wide variety of serious injuries including broken bones, organ damage, and head injuries.

There are no up-front costs associated with hiring an attorney, and they only get paid by the opposing party if they are able to successfully resolve your claim.