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Liable Parties in a New York Auto Accident Case Involving a Drunk Driver

Drunk driving is a serious issue. Those who are caught driving while intoxicated can face serious criminal penalties. If, however, you are harmed as a result of someone else’s driving drunk, you should contact a New York car accident lawyer, since you may have remedies available to you in the civil justice system. Depending on the circumstances of the driver’s alcohol consumption, you may have a case, not only against the driver but also against the party who served him drinks. In a recent case surrounding one Buffalo incident, the plaintiffs defeated a defense motion for summary judgment because they had evidence indicating that the driver was visibly drunk but continued to receive more drinks at a party.

Sometimes, life is a series of unfortunate events. Marcy was driving late on April 1, 2013 when she lost control and slammed her vehicle into a concrete barrier. Marcy, her husband, and another passenger got out of the car and stepped onto a grassy area. Another driver then hit Marcy’s car. The husband and the passenger returned to where the cars were located. Police arrived. While the police were working on the scene, another driver hit Marcy’s car, thrusting it into the husband and the passenger, injuring both of them.

The injured men sued the last driver, who was allegedly legally drunk at the time of the accident. The defendant failed field sobriety tests and recorded a .127 result on a blood-alcohol content test. The defendant had imbibed alcohol at a church function and, later, at an event located at the Buffalo Central Terminal. The allegedly drunk driver left the terminal at around 10:30 p.m., stopped at his place of work, and then hit Marcy’s car at around 11:00.

In addition to naming the alleged drunk driver, the plaintiffs also sued the non-profit corporation that had hosted the event at the terminal. The corporation argued that it was entitled to summary judgment in its favor. It couldn’t be liable, it argued, since the evidence showed that the driver was not visibly impaired during his time at the terminal. The corporation presented several witnesses’ testimony, none of whom indicated that they recalled the driver seeming noticeably impaired. This strengthened the case for the corporation because the law under which the plaintiffs sued required proof that the corporation served alcohol to the driver despite his being visibly intoxicated.

The plaintiffs nevertheless were able to defeat the summary judgment request in the trial court, and that ruling was upheld on appeal. The key was the proof the plaintiffs had that countered the witness testimony offered by the corporation. The plaintiffs presented testimony from the police officers, who stated that the driver failed every field sobriety test, smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, and displayed bloodshot and glassy eyes. The plaintiffs also had an expert toxicologist who opined that, based upon the police officers’ observations and the blood-alcohol test results, the driver was likely showing visible signs of intoxication when he was at the event at the terminal.

When you are injured in an auto accident in New York, your case may present you with many options and avenues for seeking compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Your injury attorney can help you navigate the system and select a path forward. The knowledgeable Queens drunk driving accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been helping injured people for many years pursue recovery for the harm they have suffered. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Raising awareness about risks of drunk driving in New York, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 24, 2014

Drunk driving statistics bring problem into focus, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 25, 2014

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