Drunk Driving

To say that driving while intoxicated is a dangerous event is an understatement. Simply put, motorists who drive while intoxicated risk not only their own lives, but the health, safety and well being of innocent individuals.

For more than 50 years the lawyers at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf have personally represented individuals who have been severely injured or lost family members due to the negligent and reckless conduct of drunk drivers. Often, the drunk driver who caused the accident has insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate those who have suffered life changing injuries or those who suffered the death of a loved one.

In New York an attorney must conduct a thorough investigation of the accident as soon as possible after the event to determine if others might also be responsible for the incident. For example, the bar or club where the defendant drank might be responsible under New York’s Dram Shop Law. Appropriate and detailed investigation of the bar or club is crucial to successful prosecution of this type of case.

In New York the General Obligation Law Section 11-101(1) (Dram Shop Act) provides that an individual who has been injured (or killed) by an intoxicated person may recover monetary compensation from the server or seller of alcohol if it can be shown that the intoxicated person who caused the injury was “visibly intoxicated” when served alcohol. The Alcohol Beverage Control Law Section 65(2) makes it unlawful for anyone to sell, deliver or give away alcoholic beverages to any “visibly intoxicated” person.

A thorough understanding of the laws surrounding a claim of Drunk Driving is essential for a successful recovery. Our lawyers have expertise in this field that is, simply put, unparalleled. Our results in settlement and verdict are larger than any other firm in New York.

The following are representative cases of this type of claim:

The first involved the claim of a young mother and father who were driving to pick up their one month old baby boy when they were struck by a drunk driver. The impact was severe. The husband was killed; the wife suffered life changing injuries. The case, which was fully litigated at the trial and appellate Court levels, resulted in an award to the victims of Ten Million Dollars ($10,000,000.00). Our Partner Ben Rubinowitz litigated this case at the trial court level and then successfully argued the case before the highest Court in the State, the New York Court of Appeals winning a 7-0 decision in our client’s favor.

The next case involved the death of a husband as a result of being struck by a Drunk Driver. The insurance coverage was limited to the amount of $5,000,000. As a result of our thorough investigation and prosecution of this matter, the case settled for the policy limits, Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000.00).

The most recent case was resolved this year. It stems from an accident that took place a few years ago. At that time a 23 year old woman was driving with her 4 year old child who was seated in the back seat of her car in a car seat. Unbeknownst to them, a Drunk Driver was headed toward them on a collision course. As the cars approached each other, the Drunk Driver crossed over the double yellow lines, crashing into our client’s car. The mother was killed; the child survived. The Drunk Driver was prosecuted criminally and was convicted of, among other things, Criminally Negligent Homicide. Our job, as the civil attorneys for the surviving child, was to prosecute a civil claim for the wrongful death of the mother. Additionally, due to our expertise in the field, we successfully brought a claim for Zone of Danger Damages suffered by the child in witnessing her mother’s death. The case was resolved for a record result: Eight Million Dollars ($8,000,000.00), which is the largest award in the State for this type of claim. (See Blog entry).

If you or a loved one has been injured through the negligent, careless and reckless conduct of a Drunk Driver call us. We will give your case the individual attention it deserves.

 
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