It was all very innocent. 

You went to a holiday party. You were given a few drinks. You felt great. Then it was time to leave.

You got into your car to head home. You really felt good. You felt you were able to drive. You didn't feel like you were driving under the influence of alcohol. It had been hours since your last drink.

Halfway home, while stopped at a red traffic light, a careless driver slammed into you causing you to become paralyzed. You broke your spine in this horrific accident. You did nothing wrong. You were just stopped at the traffic light.

At the accident scene, the ambulance personnel ask if you were drinking. You answer truthfully and say "Yes."

The police officer on the scene asks you the same question. Again, you answer truthfully and say "Yes."

In the emergency room, the nurses and doctors ask you if you were drinking that night and once again, you respond truthfully "Yes."

You then bring a lawsuit against the careless and negligent driver who destroyed your life on that wonderful evening.

You claim that he was careless and failed to operate and drive his car properly. 

He and his attorneys have a different viewpoint.

They argue that since you'd been drinking that evening, you never should have been on the road. Naturally, if you were not on the road at that moment, this horrific accident never would have occurred.

That's an interesting argument that should be totally flawed, but may have some validity to it.

BUT...the only way that information may come into your trial is if they can somehow show that your drinking caused or contributed to your accident.

You and your attorney argue that since you were legally stopped at a red traffic light, it should have nothing to do with how this accident happened.

BUT...when it comes time to evaluating the extent of your injuries, if the jury hears that you were drinking that night, there's a chance you might not recover full and fair compensation for your catastrophic injuries.

Can you keep out the 'drinking' part of your evening, while the jury considers your injuries?

The answer is "Maybe."

If your drinking had nothing to do with the nurses and doctors evaluation for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment of your condition, then there is a good possibility a New York judge would not allow that information to come in as evidence during your trial.

If however, the doctors needed that information to diagnose and treat your condition, there is a good chance that information will be permitted into evidence and then you and your attorney will have to spend a great deal of time, effort and energy addressing this issue throughout your entire trial.

Gerry Oginski
Connect with me
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer