Drunk Drivers

Juries in New Jersey continue to return significant awards to persons injured by drunk drivers, many times in the millions of dollars. These jury awards have been recovered not only against drunk drivers, but also bartenders, bars, taverns, as well as others responsible for serving alcohol such as homeowners and persons responsible for private parties.

Juries are most responsive to situations where a bartender serves a patron who is obviously intoxicated, and continues to serve such patron. Thereafter, the patron is permitted to leave the bar, and shortly later the intoxicated patron is involved in an automobile accident causing severe injury to an innocent person or persons.

Typically the intoxicated driver has a blood alcohol level in excess of that permitted by state statute, which proves intoxication. Eyewitness observation at the bar, and subsequent testimony as to the condition of the intoxicated patron at the bar, linked with service by the bartender, are important elements of proving the case.

Interestingly, bars, taverns, restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol will, on occasion, call a cab for the intoxicated patron. Additionally, the establishment may hire a valet service which will be instructed not to give a key to a patron who is obviously intoxicated when calling for his or her car in the parking lot. Failure of the establishment to follow these and other procedures may also result in liability against those serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons which results in personal injury.

Persons injured include not only drivers of other cars, but also pedestrians. Injuries involving drunk drivers are, unfortunately, many times very severe requiring extended hospitalizations, surgeries and long periods of recovery with permanent injuries. Plaintiffs' attorneys have been successful in recovering monies to compensate innocent victims injured by drunk drivers.

Proving a drunk driving case may involve expert testimony including toxicologists, accident reconstruction experts, security experts, medical experts and other experts necessary to prove the various elements of the case. Plaintiffs attorneys are well versed in the law involving drunk drivers, and in appropriate cases, recover significant monetary awards from insurance companies and/or juries for their clients.

If you or someone you know has sustained personal injury as a result of drunk driving accident, contact Tepper, Scherling & Berliner, LLC to discuss your legal rights.