What Are The Recoverable Damages In Dram Shop Cases?
The recoverable damages are the same as any other personal injury case. Our New York City personal injury lawyers have on many occasions obtained compensation for pain and suffering. We can recover for medical bills, lost income and potentially even future lost income. Certainly in the case involving a wrongful death, a spouse or child would be able to obtain the financial loss caused by the accident to them. In those kinds of cases, we can obtain an economist to be able to do projections of the amount of financial assistance they actually received or would have received throughout the course of a person’s life.
Are Punitive Damages Available In Dram Shop Cases?
For punitive damages you generally have to show a certain degree of moral culpability. Certainly you can get a punitive damage reward against the driver of the vehicle who was operating the vehicle and caused the accident or did something else that was morally wrong. But in general, the dram shop based act is more of a negligent standard. Dram shop cases are not widely available. Assuredly in extenuating cases maybe somebody could show that someone had a 0.2% BAC or above, but it has to show that it was practically a severe and egregious case, then punitive damages will probably be available.
Do Criminal Actions Against The Drunk Driver Have To Be Complete Prior To Filing For Civil Claims?
The hard and fast rule is that a criminal action in New York has to be completed before a lawsuit can be filed for civil damages. However, the defendant will always have the right to refuse to answer questions or potentially even stay the case while the criminal case is pending. So for a number of reasons, it makes no practical sense to bring a case until the criminal case is resolved. That being said, the DWI cases tend to resolve fairly quickly.
Certainly in Westchester, they resolve within six to eight months and in New York City, they tend to resolve within a year, especially where there has been a particularly bad injury. When there has been a very significant injury, the driver is facing not just a DWI, but they are usually facing vehicular assault charges which carry pretty significant sentences, including prison time. There is an incentive on their part to resolve the case earlier for a break in a sentence and not a full sentence.
Can Someone Handle Dram Shop Cases On Their Own?
No one can handle dram shop cases on their own. The insurance companies will never take you seriously without a lawyer representing you. A lot of times they do not even take attorneys who are not experienced personal injury lawyers seriously. If you are not an experienced personal injury lawyer you would not know how to obtain the information such as the person’s blood alcohol level or identifying the bar where the individual was drinking or being able to consult with a forensic toxicologist.
Basically trying to be your own lawyer is like trying to operate on yourself if you are a surgeon. It is not a good idea, because there are a million technical issues that could be overlooked or missed and that would cause your case to be dismissed.
What Sets You Apart In Handling Dram Shop Cases?
Our experience as New York City attorneys sets us apart from other firms. We have extensive knowledge and experience in handling dram shop cases. A lot of other attorneys simply just have not handled them. We really leave no stone unturned and do an incredibly thorough investigation. Once we are contacted, we have our investigators out immediately, looking for witness statements, getting the information from the police department, obtaining criminal records and consulting with the forensic toxicologist who we utilize to really build a solid case for our clients.