New Jersey Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Every year, hundreds of people are killed, and thousands more are injured in drunk driving accidents across New Jersey. These collisions can leave victims with painful injuries, deep psychological scars, exorbitant medical bills, and lengthy absences from work.

At the law firm of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our attorneys have been representing injured people in New Jersey since 1929. In that time, we have secured hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of deserving clients. Our firm has the resources to tackle the toughest cases while still giving you the individual attention you deserve.

To learn more about how we can help you demand the compensation you’re owed for a crash involving an intoxicated driver, contact our office for a free consultation with a New Jersey drunk driving accident attorney.

How Our New Jersey Lawyers Help People Injured by Drunk Drivers

If you have been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you should not have to jump through legal hoops while healing from your injuries. You need to focus on getting better. While you are doing that, our New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyers can get to work by:

Investigating the accident

We can gather and review every piece of evidence to determine precisely how the crash happened and who was at fault.

Identifying the liable parties

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, multiple parties could be responsible for your injuries. If that is the case, we can file multiple claims to recover as much money as possible.

Documenting the full extent of your injuries

You need to document all the physical, financial, and emotional losses you have suffered. Using your medical records, doctor’s reports and other evidence, we can compile a complete account of your injuries and if and how the injuries will impact your enjoyment of life going forward.

Filing your claim

Once we have finished investigating the accident, we will send a demand letter to each liable party and their insurance company, alerting them that we are seeking compensation on your behalf.

Negotiating for a fair insurance settlement

Most drunk driving accident cases end in a settlement with the liable party’s insurance company. We know the techniques insurance companies use to deny accident victims the total compensation they deserve, and we will fight for a fair settlement.

Bringing your case to trial

If settlement negotiations fail, we may need to bring your case to trial in civil court to continue pursuing compensation. Our attorneys are highly skilled litigators and can develop a robust and compelling strategy to use at trial.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, we do not charge you any fees upfront to start work on your personal injury case. We will review your case for free, with no obligation to you. If we believe you have a claim for compensation, we will do all the legal legwork with no out-of-pocket cost to you. When we recover compensation for you, our fee then comes as a percentage of that. If we don’t win, you don’t pay us. It’s that simple.

From our clients

I would recommend Richard Isolde to my family and friends, and he was accommodating in handling our case. He was always available by text, phone calls, and email. Most significantly, he helped us get what we deserved. Richard Isolde is always there for his clients and does whatever he can to get the job done.


Richard Isolde worked very hard on my case, making the impossible possible.
He was able to get the full amount up to the policy limit and then get punitive damages in addition. I understand that is a rare accomplishment. I am grateful for that and I congratulate him. Your firm was recommended to me by a friend and I will pay it forward by recommending him as well as PRA.


I used Mr. (SQ) Lee for a personal injury matter and could not have been any more pleased with his services. He understood my injury and helped me every step of the way. He was courteous and kind and I always felt better after speaking with him. His assistant, Sherrill, was also wonderful and together they made a great team! I would absolutely recommend them, and the firm, to anyone.


Determining Liability for a Drunk Driving Crash in New Jersey

police car following a pickup truck

Personal injury cases in New Jersey generally require proof that the defendant was negligent. As negligence can be broadly defined as failing to take reasonable precautions to avoid injuring others, drunk driving is a form of negligence.

To prove a drunk driver was negligent, your attorney can use evidence like:

  • Police accident reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Breathalyzer and toxicology reports taken by medical professionals
  • Testimony from anyone who observed the drunk driver prior to the crash
  • Photos from the scene of the crash
  • Surveillance videos from stores or traffic cameras
  • Your personal account
  • Expert witnesses (forensic accident investigators, medical experts, chemical experts, etc.)

The better evidence you have to back up your case, the likelier you are to recover maximum compensation. However, crucial evidence in drunk driving accident cases can disappear or deteriorate quickly. Talk to our lawyers as soon as possible so we can begin collecting and preserving critical evidence.

Our Victories

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With former insurance defense attorneys on our team, we have the experience and insight into how insurance companies pay as little as possible in claims. We use that experience to level the playing field. 


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Can Bars, Restaurants, Shops, and Social Hosts Face Liability?

New Jersey has a law that says, in certain circumstances, bars, liquor stores, restaurants, and other alcohol vendors can be found liable for contributing to an accident. These laws are known as dram shop laws.

To successfully demonstrate that a bar, liquor store, or other establishment is partly responsible for a drunk driving accident, you must prove one of the following conditions is true:
  • The person who was served was already visibly intoxicated; or,
  • The establishment knew or should have known that the person who was served was under the age of 21.

If you can prove that either of these conditions is true and that the person who was served was the one who caused your injuries, you can demand compensation from the establishment through a dram shop claim.

New Jersey also allows social hosts to be held liable for drunk driving accidents under certain conditions, specifically when:
  • The host knew or should have known that the guest was visibly intoxicated.
  • The host continued to recklessly serve that person despite the increased risk of a drunk driving accident.
  • The overserved guest then left the host’s house and caused the accident that injured you.

Though drunk drivers should be held responsible for their choices, negligent alcohol vendors and social hosts should also be held accountable when their careless actions lead to a crash. Our experienced drunk driving accident lawyers can build a case for compensation under New Jersey’s dram shop law if these facts apply to your situation.

Severe Injuries from Drunk Driving Accidents

flipped car alcohol related accident

Drunk driving accidents in New Jersey frequently leave victims with severe injuries, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paraplegia and quadriplegia
  • Crushed, amputated, or severed limbs
  • Bone fractures
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Burns
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Psychological trauma

The cost of treating these and other injuries can be substantial, and you may need long-term care for many years to come. A successful personal injury lawsuit can provide you with the money you need to pay for your medical treatment.

Potential Compensation in a New Jersey Drunk Driving Crash Case

drunk driving accident

By working with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney at our firm, you may be able to recover compensation for losses such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Damaged personal property

New Jersey Laws on Drunk Driving

driver being tested on breathalyzer

According to information from the New Jersey state government, any driver tested by police with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher is guilty of DUI per se, meaning they are presumed to be too intoxicated to drive. However, a driver can be charged with DUI if they have consumed any amount of alcohol and their driving performance is negatively affected.

The penalties for a first-time DUI include a fine of up to $400 and up to 30 days in jail. If convicted of additional offenses, the penalties can increase substantially, including loss of driver’s license.

An important thing to understand is that a drunk driver does not need to be convicted of DUI for them to be found liable in a personal injury case.

Can I Recover Compensation Even If the Drunk Driver Isn’t Charged?

Drunk driving is a crime, and if prosecutors have sufficient evidence to charge a drunk driver after an accident, they usually will. However, it is important to remember that a personal injury lawsuit is a civil matter distinct from any criminal charges a drunk driver may – or may not – face.

A criminal drunk driving case is meant to determine if someone broke the law by driving drunk and, if so, to punish them for a wrong committed against society. To secure a conviction, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drunk driver broke the law. That can be a high standard to meet, which unfortunately means some drunk drivers are either never charged or are acquitted.

On the other hand, a personal injury case takes place in civil court and is specifically about compensating a victim for the wrong they suffered because of the drunk driver’s actions. A much lower standard of proof is required to find a defendant liable in civil court. You must show that it is more likely than not that the driver was negligent and, therefore, responsible for compensating you.

In other words, a civil suit allows you to hold someone financially liable for your injuries and losses independent of any criminal charges against them.

Deadline for Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Case in NJ

served drink next to car keys

In most cases, you have two years from the date of a drunk driving accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver or any other liable parties. If you miss this deadline, you most likely will have no way to compel the drunk driver to compensate you for your injuries.

Two years sounds like a long time, but you do not want to harm your case by waiting too long to get started. Your best option is to contact a drunk driving accident lawyer immediately after the crash.

Get Help from Our New Jersey Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

dui law book on a desk

The team at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman is ready to help you pursue justice if you have been injured by an intoxicated driver. Contact our office for a free case review with our New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyers.


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