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New Castle Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Drunk Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania
Despite the well-known dangers of drunk driving, not to mention strict laws banning the operation of motor vehicles while intoxicated, countless people choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. In 2020, there were 7,700 alcohol-related traffic accidents in Pennsylvania, resulting in more than 4,900 injuries and 293 deaths. Although this marked a decrease in overall alcohol-involved crashes from the previous year, the fact remains that more than one in four (26%) of all traffic accident fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2020 involved alcohol impairment.
If you were injured or if your loved one was tragically killed by a drunk driver, you deserve justice—and Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George can help. Since 1933, our firm has represented individuals and families throughout Western Pennsylvania, providing highly personalized legal services and an emphasis on genuine attorney-client relationships. We believe in getting to know the people we serve, which is why our New Castle drunk driving accident attorneys will take the time to meet with you, discuss the specifics of your case, and learn more about your needs, concerns, and goals. We want to know who you are and what you have been through, as well as the challenges you and your family are still facing, so that we can help you seek the full, fair compensation you are owed.
How Is a Drunk Driving Accident Claim Different from a Criminal DUI Case?
Like every other state, Pennsylvania has outlawed drunk driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a criminal offense that carries certain penalties, including jail or prison time, fines, driver’s license suspension, mandatory community service, and more. While these penalties work to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as punish those who do get behind the wheel when intoxicated, they do little to help victims of drunk drivers.
Drunk driving accidents tend to be catastrophic, often leaving victims with severe, life-altering, or fatal injuries. Victims and their families may be left with exorbitant medical bills, ongoing medical care expenses, significant lost income, and immense physical pain and mental suffering. While these losses, known as “damages,” can be debilitating, a successful drunk driving accident lawsuit can allow individuals and families to recover monetary compensation and provide the resources they need to heal.
A drunk driving accident claim is a civil legal action, completely separate from criminal and/or administrative DUI proceedings the drunk driver may (or may not) face. While the outcome of a criminal DUI case (or lack thereof) does not necessarily affect the outcome of a civil drunk driving lawsuit, it can be a great benefit to your case if the drunk driver is found guilty of DUI.
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Who Pays for Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident?
Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault car insurance state, you may be entitled to compensation from your own auto insurance provider after a drunk driving accident. Under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, you do not necessarily need to prove that the other driver was at fault to collect compensation for covered losses. However, PIP coverage is limited and typically does not even come close to covering the cost of drunk driving accident victims’ damages.
The good news is that there may be several other sources of compensation after a drunk driving accident, depending on the specific details of your case.
Potentially liable parties include:
- The Drunk Driver’s Insurance Company: In some cases, you may be able to bring a claim against the insurance company for the drunk driver. This will depend on the type of no-fault insurance you have (i.e., whether you have limited tort or full tort coverage), the severity of your injuries, as well as other factors.
- The Drunk Driver: If the drunk driver was uninsured, you may be able to file a third-party personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against him or her for your damages. It is important that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable drunk driving accident attorney if you wish to pursue a third-party claim, as these can be challenging to navigate.
- The Bar, Restaurant, or Person Who Provided Alcohol to the Drunk Driver: Under what are known as “dram shop” and “social host” laws, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against an establishment, vendor, or individual who knowingly provided alcohol to the individual who went on to drive drunk and cause an accident, leading to injuries or death.
At Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George, we conduct exhaustive investigations to determine exactly what happened and who is liable for your damages. We leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of full and fair compensation for our clients. Our New Castle drunk driving accident attorneys are prepared to pursue every possible source of recovery on your behalf, all while providing you with the attentive, personalized, and compassionate legal support you deserve.
Pennsylvania Dram Shop & Social Host Liability
As mentioned above, Pennsylvania’s dram shop and social host liability laws allow you to bring a claim for damages against a vendor or individual who supplied alcohol to a person who went on to cause you injury. To have a dram shop or social host claim, there are certain things you must prove.
For a dram shop claim, you must demonstrate that:
- A bar, restaurant, establishment, or vendor provided alcohol to someone who was either visibly intoxicated at the time they were served or was a minor (under the age of 21)
- The individual who was served alcohol while visibly intoxicated or under the age of 21 went on to cause you injury (e.g., by driving drunk and causing an accident)
To hold a social host responsible for a drunk driving accident, you must prove:
- An individual knowingly provided alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 21)
- The minor went on to cause you injury related to being intoxicated or impaired
The law does not allow you to bring a claim against a social host who provides alcohol to someone over the age of 20, even if the individual was visibly intoxicated. Instead, you may have grounds to sue the intoxicated individual for the injuries and/or damages they caused.
We strongly recommend that you reach out to an experienced dram shop and social host liability lawyer, like those at Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George, for help with your claim. These types of cases tend to be very complex, but an attorney at our firm can help you put together powerful evidence and seek the full, fair compensation you are owed.
Trust Our Board-Certified Civil Trial Specialists
While any car accident can have serious repercussions, drunk driving accidents tend to be especially severe. You need someone by your side you can trust, an attorney who will take the time to get to know you and fight for the recovery you deserve.
At Luxenberg Garbett Kelly & George, our attorneys have been recognized by numerous prestigious legal organizations, including Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® and Martindale-Hubbell®. Additionally, Attorney Charles Garbett and Attorney Lawrence Kelly are Board-Certified Civil Trial Specialists by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a unique distinction held by only about 2,000 practicing attorneys nationwide. To receive board certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy, attorneys must demonstrate exceptional knowledge, skill, and experience in civil trial law. They must also pass a written examination and maintain good standing with the bar, among other requirements.
At LGKG, we believe that there is simply no substitute for experience. We also believe that you deserve a legal team that truly cares about you and your recovery. When you turn to our firm, you can rest assured that you will always receive the personal attention, direct attorney-client communication, and consideration you deserve. We strive to cultivate meaningful, lasting relationships with our clients and are dedicated to serving as a pillar in our community. We proudly serve clients in New Castle, Beaver Falls, Butler, Ellwood City, Cranberry Township, and throughout Western Pennsylvania.
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