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South Jersey Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

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All car accidents are frightening and traumatic, especially if they involve serious injuries, but when the driver responsible for the accident caused the crash because they were drinking and driving, the victim’s anger and frustration only add to the distress. The criminal justice system is in place to punish a drunk driver for their reckless actions, but it’s the civil court that brings justice and financial compensation to the accident victims. If you or a close family member suffered serious injuries due to a drunk driving accident in South Jersey, it’s important to understand your right to pursue compensation. Despite New Jersey’s no-fault car accident laws, the victims of a drunk driving accident could recover damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. According to our South Jersey car accident lawyers, you may also recover punitive damages—an amount awarded to you from the drunk driver to serve as a punishment and a deterrent to repeated behavior.

Drunk Driving Statistics in New Jersey

South Jersey drunk driving accident lawyer

Law enforcement in New Jersey takes drunk driving seriously, with strict laws and enforcement measures. Thanks to increased awareness and more robust drunk driving laws, New Jersey’s drunk driving accident rate has declined from 1,061 alcohol-related accidents in 1982 to 556 in 2014. Still, drunk driving remains a problem in South Jersey and throughout the state. One New Jersey study revealed that 30% of car accidents in New Jersey between November and December of 2021 involved drinking under the influence of alcohol. The same study showed that 42% of respondents reported witnessing a family member or friend drive after drinking more than one alcoholic beverage.

According to New Jersey statistics:

  • There were 1,646 drunk driving arrests in New Jersey under a single grant-funded enforcement program
  • Drunk driving plays a role in 30% of weekend car accidents in New Jersey vs. 15% during weekdays
  • Drivers between ages 21 and 24 are more likely to cause a drunk driving accident in South Jersey than other age groups
  • Men are more likely to cause fatalities in drunk driving accidents in New Jersey than women

New Jersey is one of four states and the District of Columbia that requires ignition interlock devices for those convicted of drunk driving. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), this law reduces drunk driving deaths by 16%.

New Jersey Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Laws and Penalties

New Jersey considers a driver over age 21 as intoxicated and over the legal limit when their blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher. If a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion of a driver’s intoxication, they perform a BAC test to determine the suspect’s alcohol level. In New Jersey, the higher the BAC, the stiffer the penalties. The following penalties apply to convicted drunk drivers in South Jersey:

  • A driver convicted of driving with a BAC of greater than 0.08% but less than 10% receives a 30-day license suspension and up to 30 days in prison in addition to around $3,000 in fines
  • A DUI conviction with a BAC of more than 10% but less than 15% requires a 7 to 12-month license suspension, up to 30 days in prison, and $3,000 in fines
  • DUI convictions involving BAC levels of 15% or higher require up to 12 months of license suspension, $3,000 in fines, 30 days imprisonment, up to 48 hours in drunk driving classes in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), and an ignition interlock device for up to a year following license restoration

New Jersey drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 may face drunk driving charges with a BAC of 0.01% or greater.

How Does Alcohol Affect Driving?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down the normal function of the brain and body. Regardless of how skilled a driver may be while sober, alcohol significantly impairs the ability to drive safely. A blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher has impacts on driving that include all of the following:

  • Reduced motor coordination
  • Blunted alertness level
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired vision, including blurriness or double vision
  • Increased drowsiness
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Difficulty following traffic laws
  • Over-confidence and risk-taking behaviors

Drunk drivers may have trouble staying in their lane or drive erratically, including sudden braking, acceleration, and swerving.

Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Drunk Driver in South Jersey?

New Jersey is a no-fault car accident state that requires car accident victims to file claims against their own insurance policies; however, after a serious accident, the amount of compensation available may not fully cover the victim’s losses. Medical expenses, future medical care costs, lost income, and temporary or permanent disability as well as compensation for pain and suffering can amount to substantial damages for drunk driving accident victims in South Jersey. The law allows victims of drunk driving accidents to pursue compensation through the civil courts.

Drunk driving in New Jersey is negligence, leaving the driver liable for the victim’s damages in a lawsuit. New Jersey has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits, including for drunk driving accidents. Your lawsuit petition must be filed within two years from the date the accident occurred.

Do I Need a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in South Jersey?

When you or a family member suffer serious injuries due to the reckless actions of an intoxicated driver, you have the right to hold the wrongdoer accountable through a civil action for justice and compensation for your damages. Insurance companies commonly dispute claims, even when a driver is clearly at fault due to exceeding the legal limit of alcohol. They may try to claim that other factors contributed to the crash or assign a portion of fault to the victim.

A serious drunk driving accident claim in South Jersey deserves serious legal representation. The South Jersey injury lawyers at Grungo Law are ready to help by proving the intoxicated driver’s liability, carefully calculating your damages, and maximizing the amount of compensation available to you in your claim or lawsuit.