I was hit by a drunk driver can I sue

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to open the newspaper and not find out about a traffic accident where one of the drivers was drunk; and almost everyone knows someone who had an accident in these same circumstances.

In fact, these accidents are so common that, on average, someone gets hurt in one every 90 seconds.

According to the law, victims, or those close to them if the victim died, can file a lawsuit against the drunk driver responsible for obtaining financial compensation.

However, many people do not know that the bar or restaurant that served the drinks could also be legally responsible.

What Does the Liquor Sale Liability Law Say?

Under sections 11-100 and 11-101 of the New York General Obligations Law, there are several situations in which a liquor supplier can be sued by the victim of a traffic accident with a drunk driver:

  1. if the seller consciously caused the poisoning by illegally selling alcohol to another person
  2. if the seller consciously caused the poisoning by illegally selling alcohol to a child under 21

Basically, if someone sells alcohol to a clearly drunk person or minor, he can be held responsible for any injury suffered by that person’s actions.

For example, if a 19-year-old teenager goes to a bar, the bartender does not ask for identification, he serves alcohol and, drunk, the teenager crashes into another car, then anyone hurt by the actions of the teenager can make an injury claim staff against the bar.

Should I Make a Claim for Driving Under the Effects of Alcohol?

It is common for victims of this type of accident do not know if they can take legal action or if the time it will take the whole process will even be worth it. Many of our clients confess to us that at first, they had faith that the insurance company would cover medical expenses and damages; A short time later they realized the truth.

Auto Insurance in New York

In New York, car insurance is mandatory and “no-fault”, which means that no matter what caused the accident, the insurer must cover the victims for the damages suffered.

The problem is that, when you get hurt in an accident, it is very easy to reach the limit of the policy. In New York, the minimum coverage is USD 25,000 for bodily injury to one person and USD 50,000 for all victims. This amount of money may seem high, however, it is not enough to receive the corresponding medical care.

The Costs of Common Injury Care

How easy is it to reach the USD 25,000 limit in medical care? Let’s analyze the typical costs for common injuries in traffic accidents.

Bone fracture

While a fracture may seem simple, all of the following may be necessary: x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, anesthesia, surgery, analgesics, gypsum, and physical therapy. A simple fractured ankle can end up costing around USD 10,000, while a fractured kneecap could reach USD 15,000. Obviously, if the victim suffers more fractures or has complications, the costs increase rapidly.


For the gas tank, each hit of a vehicle can end in a fire and, because gasoline is an accelerator, the flames and heat can expand very quickly.

Burn victims often suffer from complications, such as infections, and have to undergo skin grafts to heal. Even after months of treatments, there may be scars. Because of all this, the average cost to treat an adult victim of burns is just over USD 73,000.

Traumatic Brain Injury

The brain remains a medical mystery and when it hurts, can produce many things in the victim, such as personality changes, loss of speech, loss of memory or even paralysis. In addition, you need to have permanent care.

The average cost for treating a victim with a traumatic brain injury during a lifetime can reach USD 3 million.

Spinal damage

If the victim suffers damage to the nerves, the spinal cord or the bones of the spine, partial or complete paralysis may occur. As with brain injuries, the treatments needed for a spinal injury can reach millions of dollars.

These are just some of the injuries that can have serious consequences physically and economically. In these cases, it is best to hire a lawyer to get help.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

A traffic accident lawyer can not only help you file suit, but also deal with insurers, gather evidence and documents, identify other negligent parties, consult with specialists, negotiate settlements and represent you in court.

The objective of filing a claim is to obtain compensation for different damages:

  • medical expenses
  • lost income
  • physical pain and suffering
  • emotional trauma

The amount varies from case to case, however, studies show that plaintiffs who hire a lawyer are more likely to obtain compensation and receive a higher amount.

Arrangements in Demands

Most civil lawsuits end in an arrangement. This means that the defender made an offer of a certain amount of compensation for the victim. In return, the case does not go to court and no further legal action can be taken. Customers do not have to accept the offer presented to them and several negotiation sessions are required to reach the best agreement.

However, this has its benefits because you never know how much a jury could award. In addition, most settlement payments are received within 30 days. If the case goes to court, the plaintiff may have to wait for years for appeals.

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