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3 parties that may be required to cover the costs of a drunk driving crash

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Auto Accidents

Driving is dangerous on its own, and the choices people make while in control of a vehicle can increase the risk of a crash. The decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol is a common one, and it is one of the top contributing factors to some of the worst collisions that occur each year in New Jersey.

Drunk driving collisions can disable vehicles and put people in the hospital. They can also lead to preventable traffic fatalities. The costs generated by a drunk driving crash can easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more.

Who might be required pay for the expenses triggered by a drunk driving collision in New Jersey?

An insurance company

The law in New Jersey requires insurance to legally register a vehicle and drive. Motorists have to carry a minimum amount of property damage and bodily injury liability coverage. Those policies apply when the policyholder is at fault for a crash. Even if a driver blatantly violates the law, such as choosing to drive after drinking, their insurance policy can provide compensation up to the limits that they established when they purchased their coverage.

The drunk driver

Just like someone can make the choice to drive after drinking despite the law, they might also drive without insurance. Even if a drunk driver has insurance coverage, they may not have enough to actually cover someone’s expenses after a crash. When there isn’t insurance or the policy is insufficient, someone affected by a drunk driving collision could file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver. The courts can award damages based on the actual financial impact that the crash has on the other people involved.

A bar or restaurant

New Jersey has dram shop laws that can make a business partially liable for a drunk driving collision. Those working at licensed establishments that distribute alcoholic beverages must follow state law. If a bar or restaurant serves an underage patron or if waitstaff continues serving someone who is already clearly drunk, their actions violate the law. The business could face litigation brought in accordance with the dram shop law. Particularly in scenarios where the drunk driver does not have adequate insurance or income to reimburse the people affected by the crash, dram shop claims can be a viable option.

Exploring every potential source of compensation is often necessary for those affected by drunk driving collisions. People who know who may be liable for the crash can potentially pursue more thorough compensation after a wreck saddles them with massive expenses.