You had a traffic collision. Let’s say that you were driving from Clifton through Paterson and Fair Lawn on your way to one of the malls in Paramus. Right before you reach the mall, another driver changes lanes on Route 4 and clips you.
In the traffic collision, you suffer serious injuries. Your arm is broken and your wrist is badly strained.
So you hire a local personal injury lawyer. Does the fact that the other driver was drunk guarantee that you will win your case?
Traffic Collision Law
The short answer is that, as a practical matter, the other driver’s intoxication will very likely help your case. But it does not 100% guarantee a victory. What follows is what New Jersey law says on this issue.
The driver of a car must exercise the care that a reasonably prudent and sober person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. The fact that a driver of a car has been drinking and appears to be under the influence of alcohol does not in and of itself constitute negligence. However, it is proper evidence that a jury can consider, along with all of the other evidence in the case.
If a person, although intoxicated, drives his car in a proper manner, as a sober person would, the jury can’t find him negligent merely because he was drunk.
On the other hand, voluntary intoxication would not excuse the drunk driver’s failure to drive with proper care. If he drives carelessly, the jury may find him negligent. Whether intoxication caused the careless driving and the traffic collision or not.
If you or someone you know ever does have a traffic collision, with a drunk driver or not, contact a veteran personal injury lawyer immediately. Time is of the essence. Evidence can disappear if you wait too long. And there are deadlines to take legal action.
Feel free to contact me at any time if you ever have any questions on this topic.