Drunk Driving Liability for a New York Accident
Drunk driving liability can extend beyond just the intoxicated driver. Other parties whose negligence contributed to the accident can also be liable. New York's social host liability and dram shop laws provide victims of drunk driving accidents more avenues to recover compensation.
Intoxicated MotoristThe drunk driver involved in the accident is the most obvious liable party in your drunk driving accident claim. This is likely your number one source to recover compensation. However, don't assume that police officers will administer a breath test and prove that the other motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time. Drunk drivers often do all that is possible to prevent a DUI arrest. Soon after your accident, check if the other motorist is using eye drops or a breath spray to hide intoxication. See if he or she tries to hide containers of alcohol in the car or exchange seats with another occupant. If you notice any of these behaviors, report them to the officers who respond to the scene so they can administer an alcohol breath test and determine that the motorist was legally intoxicated. Further, your lawyer can help you obtain test results conducted following an arrest, such as blood or urine tests.
Commercial EstablishmentsUnder New York's dram shop laws, commercial establishments like bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs that serve alcohol may be liable for accidents from drunk driving that their patrons cause. Staff at these commercial establishments must look for signs of excessive alcohol intoxication in a patron. They must stop serving patrons alcohol when the patron becomes visibly intoxicated. This applies even if the server only dispensed one drink to the patron as purveyors of alcohol must take into account that the patron could have been drinking previously or taken medication or drugs. If the bar or restaurant employees are negligent in serving an intoxicated person alcohol, they may be liable for any damages that result from the intoxicated person's actions. A New York car accident lawyer will conduct investigations to identify the commercial establishment that served the drunk motorist in your case. This can open another source from which to recover compensation for damages.
Social HostsNew York also has social host liability laws which hold hosts of social gatherings responsible for alcohol-related car accidents caused by guests at their events. The term "social host" can apply to persons or parties who provide alcohol to guests. New York's social host liability laws only apply to persons who serve alcohol to minors below the age of 21. If your accident involved an underage drinker, discuss your case with a car accident lawyer to determine whether you can file a claim under social host liability laws.