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According to New Jersey law, an individual is considered to be driving under the influence when they are found to have a blood alcohol concentration above .08%. DUI/DWI charges are not criminal charges, rather traffic violations. However, in the case that a drunk driver causes injury to another driver or pedestrian, the drunk driver may face criminal charges, and the injured party may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver in order to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and potentially even their pain and suffering.

The choice to pursue criminal charges against a drunk driver who causes injury is entirely up to the county prosecutor, while the decision to pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit against the driver is up to the injured party.

Criminal Charges for Drunk Driving Injury Morris County Attorney

If an intoxicated driver causes serious bodily injury to another person, the county prosecutor may decide to pursue criminal charges against the drunk driver. Unlike a simple Morris County DUI/DWI charge, Assault by Auto is a criminal charge. A third degree assault by auto conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years, while a fourth degree Assault by Auto conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 18 months. Penalties are increased if the accident occurred in a school zone.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, it is important to remember that even if the driver is found innocent in criminal court, civil liability may still exist, while if they are found guilty, civil liability is ensured.

Car Accidents and Personal Injury Law Parsippany, NJ

Before discussing the specific case of a drunk driver causing injury and related civil claims, it is important to first understand New Jersey's Personal Injury Protection Law (PIP). When purchasing auto insurance in New Jersey, every policy holder must choose whether their plan will allow for a limited right to sue, or unlimited. Limited rights policies are generally cheaper, but only allow for injured drivers to seek compensation for medical expenses and lost income, but pain and suffering damages may only be sought in the case of sever injury such as dismemberment, disfigurement, a lost fetus, or permanent injury.

However, if the insurance policy plan allows for unlimited rights to sue, an injured driver may seek compensation for all losses, including pain and suffering.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Drunk Driver Morris County NJ

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you may wish to speak with an experienced Morris County Car Accident Injury attorney regarding a filing a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover compensation for damages incurred, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Not only may the intoxicated driver be held responsible, it is also possible that, under New Jersey's dram shop laws, any establishment which recklessly served the driver with excess amounts of alcohol may also be held accountable.

However, comparative negligence laws still apply. Just because the intoxicated driver is found guilty of drunk driving, may not necessarily mean that the accident was 100% their fault. As with any personal injury case, damages awarded to the injured party are lowered by the percentage of fault the injured party is found to have. For this reason, and many more, it is critical to retain experienced Morris County personal injury counsel throughout the civil claims process. Your personal injury attorney can help ensure fault is properly assigned to all involved parties, ensure that the necessary evidence is gathered and presented to a court of law, and that you receive the compensation you need and deserve to help you successfully recover from the damage caused by the accident and the resulting injuries.

Contact a Morris County Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today

At The Law Office of Smith & Doran, we have extensive experience helping clients across Parsippany, Randolph, Roxbury, Chatham, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area to successfully resolve all types of personal injury claims, including drunk driving injury lawsuits.

Founding partner Robert A. Smith believes that by keeping his clients well-informed and involved throughout the entire personal injury process, he can secure them the compensation that they need and deserve for injuries sustained as the result of the reckless and negligent actions of others. Bob Smith is a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Civil Trial Attorney, an accolade held by only 2% of the active lawyers in the state, and signifies his excellence when it comes to communication with clients, legal knowledge, and trial skills. Robert Smith is proud of this accomplishment, and ready to put these skills to work for you and your family, whatever your unique situation may be.

To speak with Bob Smith and the personal injury team of Smith & Doran today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential personal injury case against a drunk driver, bar, or restaurant, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at 973-532-2661.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
60 Washington Street, Suite 302
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2661
Fax: 973-292-9168
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