Drunk drivers are a far-too-common presence on New Jersey’s roads. Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous and illegal, and people who cause accidents while driving drunk can face severe consequences in the New Jersey courts. But, these consequences do not include paying victims for their losses. To recover compensation, victims must file claims of their own and fight to get what they deserve.
With this in mind, below is an overview of the steps involved in seeking compensation after a drunk driving accident in New Jersey.
Proving the Drunk Driver is Liable
The first step in recovering your losses is to prove that the drunk driver is liable. While this may seem obvious, you will still need proof to convince the insurance companies to pay. As a result, you will need to hire an attorney to conduct an investigation promptly; and, if the drunk driver gets charged, your attorney will need to follow the drunk driver’s case to find out if he or she gets convicted.
Determining What Insurance Coverage is Available
If the drunk driver has auto insurance, his or her policy should cover your losses. But, there is also a very good chance that this coverage won’t be enough. As a result, it will also be important to determine if you have coverage available under your policy (i.e., uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage), and your New Jersey injury attorney will need to figure out if you have a third-party claim (i.e., a claim against a bar, restaurant or the driver’s employer) as well.
Calculating Your Losses to Date
When seeking compensation for a drunk driving accident, the amount you can recover is based on your actual losses. So, it will be important to calculate your losses to date. This includes losses such as:
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Medical bills and prescription costs
- Lost income and benefits
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship, consortium, support and enjoyment of life
Calculating Your Future Losses
In addition to recovering compensation for your current losses, you can also recover for the losses you are likely to have in the future. To calculate these future losses, your attorney will need to work with your doctor (and potentially with other experts) to understand the long-term physical, emotional and financial effects of your injuries.
Dealing With the Insurance Companies
Finally, your New Jersey injury attorney will need to deal with the insurance companies. Using the available evidence, your lawyer will work to prove that you are entitled to compensation. If the insurance companies admit liability, he or she will attempt to negotiate a favorable settlement—while also preparing to take your claim to court if necessary.
Need Help After Being Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident in New Jersey? Contact Us 24/7
If you need help recovering compensation for your injuries after a drunk driving accident in New Jersey, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 877-435-6371 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.