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Victims of drunk driving may have legal recourse

It is a sad truth that despite the constant warnings about the dangers of impaired driving numerous people in New York and elsewhere fall victim to drivers who choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Nationwide, drunk driving is responsible for thousands of deaths and many more injuries every year. Those who have been hurt or lost loved ones in accidents caused by drunk or otherwise impaired drivers may have legal recourse.

After a car accident occurs, it is a common practice for law enforcement authorities to try to determine whether impairment was a factor. They will do this by first asking if either driver was drinking before getting into their cars. If there are signs of potential impairment, officers may perform field sobriety tests and test blood alcohol levels. In the event of a more serious accident, chemical testing may be performed at a hospital.

If it is determined that the driver deemed responsible for a wreck was intoxicated in any way, that individual will likely face criminal charges. If anyone was injured or killed as a result of the accident, DUI charges may be upgraded to felony-level offenses. Along with facing criminal charges, allegedly drunk drivers may also face legal claims filed by victims or -- in the event of fatalities -- their surviving family members.

In accordance with the laws of New York, those negatively affected by drunk driving accidents may be able to seek compensation for any recoverable losses. This can be done through filing wrongful death, survival actions, personal injury or any other claims applicable to one's specific case. With the assistance of legal counsel, the appropriate claims can be filed in civil court, and if litigation is managed successfully, monetary damages may be awarded.

Source: FindLaw, "Drunk Driving Accidents", Accessed on July 30, 2016

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