Intoxicated/Drunk Driving Lawyer in Waterbury, CT

If you have been injured in a Waterbury car crash as a result of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation, for both damages to your vehicle and the injuries you sustained.

Waterbury, CT

The sad reality is that almost all of us have been impacted by drunk driving in Waterbury. Approximately one in three traffic deaths in our country involve a drunk driver. Connecticut is in the top five states with the highest percentage of fatal accidents involving drunk drivers.

“The numbers don’t lie. The destructive force of drunk and drugged driving must end.”

MADD’s Intoxicated Driving Statistics:

  • An average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before the first arrest.
  • Each day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times, but only about 3200 are arrested.
  • In 2017, 10,874 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 48 minutes – and more than 300,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes.
  • Every day about 800 people are injured in a drunk driving crash.
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,300 people each year – that’s more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
  • MADD has helped save nearly 30,000 young lives through the passage of the 21 minimum drinking age law.
  • Since 1980 MADD has saved 380,000 lives …and counting.
  • In the United States, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980.
  • MADD compassionately provides a supportive service to a victim every 3 minutes.

Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving

One reason we support MADD: “Drunk Driving is one of the Leading Killers of Children”

Here at BWP, we all know what it means to be a part of a family and a member of the community.  Furthermore, we know that our children are a vital part of that. 

In 2017, 1,147 children under the age of 14 were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Of these deaths, 220 of them were a result of alcohol-impaired drivers. More than half of the children were killed by their own drinking driver.

Source: U.S. DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Connecticut DUI Laws:

BAC Limits in CT: If you are over the age of 21 and your BAC reaches 0.08% or higher, you are considered intoxicated and no other evidence is needed. This is the “per se” law. Under the “per se” law, commercial drivers are considered intoxicated if their BAC reaches 0.04%. If you are under the legal drinking age, in accordance with the “zero tolerance law” you are considered intoxicated when your BAC reaches 0.02%.

Implied Consent: In the State of Connecticut, we have a law known as “implied consent.” Essentially, just by operating a motor vehicle, you are consenting to a chemical analysis whether it be your blood, breath or urine. Failure to comply may result in suspended driving privileges.

Administrative Penalties:

1st Offense: Automatic suspension (up to 45 days) or revocation of your license. In order to restore your license, you must install an ignition interlock device for one year. You won’t be able to start your car unless your BAC is under a certain level.

2nd Offense: License will be suspended and one must install the ignition interlock device for three years.

3rd Offense: Under most circumstances, your license can be permanently revoked.

Criminal Penalties:

1st Violation: Up to 6 months in prison, $1,000 in fines

2nd Violation: If your second violation is within 10 years of your first conviction- Up to 2 years in prison, $4,000 in fines. In addition, the court may order community service and/or a treatment program.

3rd Violation: If your third violation is within 10 years of your prior conviction- Up to 3 years in prison, $8,000 in fines. The court may also order community service and/or a treatment program.

Fatality: Second Degree Manslaughter with a motor vehicle

Dram Shop: Getting Served for Serving Alcohol in Waterbury, CT

Dram shop laws allow an individual to sue bars and restaurants if one of their patrons causes damage or injury to another person after being served while intoxicated.  Essentially, the claim is that the individual was served alcohol when he or she was already intoxicated, which caused or helped to cause the accident. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have dram shop laws.

To prevail under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 30-102, the plaintiff must prove that the establishment sold alcohol to the individual; that said individual was intoxicated; and that the intoxicated person caused injury to the person or property of the plaintiff because of his or her intoxication. In 2003, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the dram shop act allowed for both recovery under the dram shop statute and a claim of negligence where the intoxicated individual is under 21 years of age.

What is an “intoxicated person?”

This issue has been the subject of a lot of litigation because the statute does not define “intoxicated person.” The court held that, “[w]hen it is apparent that a person is under the influence of liquor, when his manner is unusual or abnormal and is reflected in his walk or conversation, when his ordinary judgment or common sense are disturbed or his usual will power temporarily suspended, when these or similar symptoms result from the use of liquor and are manifest, a person may be found to be intoxicated.”

Are there limits to liability?

Yes. In Connecticut, you can only recover up to $250,000 in a single accident.

There are also some procedural requirements which must be followed. You must provide the seller with written notice of your intention to sue within 120 days of the incident or 180 days in the case of death or incapacity of the injured party. Additionally, there is a one-year statute of limitations for filing a claim under the dram shop act. Contact Buckley, Wynne & Parese to know your rights by calling 203-776-2278 or visiting www.bwplaw.com.

Is Drunk Driving in Waterbury Reckless?

Yes! Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-295, in a civil action where the at-fault party has deliberately or with reckless disregard operated a motor vehicle in violation of such statutes as the one prohibiting drunk driving, the plaintiff may be entitled to double or treble damages. Driving under the influence in Waterbury is considered reckless driving, beyond the standard of mere negligence. Contact Buckley, Wynne & Parese to know your rights by calling 203-776-2278 or visiting www.bwplaw.com. Protect your family!

Who is Paying for all this?

One study estimated that the cost to the public is $114.3 billion, including economic and life losses. As for the offender, there are numerous costs associated with a DUI, as well. These costs can add up quickly, totaling more than $20,000 even for a first offense with no property damage or injuries. This includes fines, bail, towing and impound of the driver’s vehicle, higher insurance premiums, an attorney, alcohol education programs, licensing fees, chemical testing fees, probation supervision, installation of the ignition interlock device and maintenance, license reinstatement fees, community service fees, alternate transportation during the license suspension, and more.

Know your rights! Contact Buckley, Wynne & Parese today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to pay legal fees out of my pocket?

No. Your legal fees are paid on a contingency fee basis unless otherwise specified. That means that we are not paid unless we recover compensation for you.


What should I do if I’m involved in a traffic accident?

Once it is safe to do so, you should attempt to document the entire situation by taking photographs and careful notes. Having notes to remind you of all the details of what happened, and what you went through, is far easier and far more accurate than relying on your memory.

Write things down as soon as you can: begin with what you were doing and where you were going, the people you were with, the time and the weather. Include every detail of what you saw, heard and felt. Be sure to add anything you remember hearing anyone — a person involved in the accident or a witness — say about the accident.

Finally, make daily notes of the effects of your injuries. You may suffer pain, discomfort, anxiety, loss of sleep or other problems you are experiencing. These notes can be very useful two or six or ten months later, when you put together all the important facts into a final demand for compensation.

*For more information on your rights and responsibilities after an accident, see: Motor Vehicle Rights and Responsibilities.


What determines who is responsible for a traffic accident?

Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For vehicle accidents, there is a set of official written rules telling people how they are supposed to drive and providing guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules of the road are the traffic laws everyone must follow.

Sometimes a violation of one of these traffic rules is obvious and was clearly the cause of an accident — for example, when one driver runs a stop sign and crashes into another. In other situations, whether or not there was a violation will be less obvious. A common example is a crash that occurs when drivers merge into a single lane of traffic.

Sometimes, the ultimate determination of who should be responsible is left up to the fact finder or jury.


Who Pays For Damages On My Vehicle?

Ideally, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay for repairing your vehicle. Sometimes, liability is not accepted, however, and it is easier and quicker to pursue a damage claim under your own insurance coverage.


Am I entitled to a rental vehicle while my car is being repaired?

Yes. In Connecticut, you are entitled to Loss of Use, which includes either a rental vehicle or the value of a comparable rental vehicle. For more on your rights, see Motor Vehicle Rights and Responsibilities.


What if the party at fault has no insurance? Can I still pursue an injury claim?

You can pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM” or “UIM”) claim under your own auto insurance policy. This insurance coverage applies if you have been hit by an uninsured driver or where the coverage of the at-fault driver is insufficient to pay for your damages. “UM” and “UIM” coverage is mandated by law. You should consult with an attorney before filing a claim.


Who pays repair costs and the costs of a rental car?

The accident was my fault-

When you caused the accident, you are responsible for repairing your own vehicle and the other vehicle that you damaged.  Assuming you are insured, your company will pay for the damages to the other vehicle up to your policy limits. If you have “collision coverage” under your policy, you will also be covered for repairs to your vehicle up to the amount of your coverage.  You will likely have a deductible of $500 or $1,000.  You should not have to pay more than your deductible if you have full collision coverage. When you caused the accident, your right to a rental car is subject to the terms of your insurance policy.  If you purchased rental reimbursement coverage, you will be covered for a rental car.  Most insurers can set up direct billing with the rental car company.  Check with your insurance company or insurance agent regarding your coverage. 

The accident was not my fault-

If someone else caused the accident, that person’s insurance company (if the other person is insured) should pay for the cost of repairs.  You should not have to pay for anything.  You are entitled to take the vehicle to a repair shop of your choice for repairs.  If you were injured, you should consult with an attorney before communicating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company about repairs. If the other person was not insured but was at fault, you should use your own insurance.  Your company will later undertake efforts to get its money back through a process known as subrogation.


How is the value of my car determined?

The insurance company is required to use at least the average of the retail values according to the NADA Used Car Guide (www.nadaguides.com) and one other automobile industry source approved by the Insurance Commissioner. The insurance company must give you a copy of the information relied upon in determining the value of your car. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to underestimate the value of your car or the damages sustained to a repairable car.  Don’t hesitate to get an explanation for the method used to calculate the value of your vehicle.  If you continue to have any concerns, contact an attorney.


What does it mean when I’m told my car is a Total Loss?

When the cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds its value, or, depending on your policy, the repair cost will exceed 80% of your vehicle’s value, your vehicle will be deemed a “Total Loss”. Insurance companies have the authority to declare a vehicle a “total loss”, but they are subject to regulation by the Insurance Department. Under Connecticut law, a vehicle may be declared a “constructive total loss” when the cost to repair or salvage the damaged property, or the cost to both repair and salvage such property, equals or exceeds the total value of the property at the time of loss.  In such a case, the car will be deemed a total loss.


Can an insurance company certify my vehicle repairs are safe?

No. When the vehicle is done, make sure that a licensed repairer tells you that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy.


What’s the difference between OEM, Aftermarket and Recycled Parts?

“OEM” parts are new parts made by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. “Aftermarket” parts are new parts that are not manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturer. “Recycled” parts, sometimes referred to as salvage, reconditioned or used parts, are frequently obtained from auto recyclers or junkyards and can be either OEM or non-OEM parts. “Recycled” or “Non-OEM” parts may be used for repair work, but you should be notified of that fact in the repair estimate. Independent repairers often argue against the use of certain recycled and aftermarket parts on the grounds that they are not as dependable or safe as OEM parts.  Make sure to talk to your repairer about whether recycled or aftermarket parts are being used and how they could affect the safety of your repair.


General Car Accident FAQs

What is Loss of Use?

If someone else was at fault, you are also entitled to compensation for the loss of use of your property.  That means either: The use of a comparable rental vehicle (i.e. a full-size truck if you were driving a full-size truck); or Reasonable compensation for the loss of the use of your vehicle if you do not get a rental.  Generally, “reasonable compensation” means the amount you would have had to spend on a rental car for the period of time necessary to settle your claim or repair your vehicle.

Tip: Insurance companies are generally eager to cut claim costs whenever possible.  This is why you may be pressured to take your car to the insurance company's direct repair shop.  Don’t let the insurance company steer you away from an independent repair shop. 


Insurance FAQs

I wasn't at fault, but had to use my own insurance. Can we get that money back?

After your insurance company pays for your repairs, it will likely seek reimbursement through a process known as “subrogation”.  In a subrogation claim, the insurance company essentially steps into your shoes and brings a claim against the other driver in an effort to get its money back.  If successful, your insurance company will be reimbursed and you should also be reimbursed for your deductible. In some accidents, fault is uncertain.  In other words, both parties may share in the responsibility.  Thus, it may be found that one party is 80% responsible and the other is 20% responsible.  If this happens, damages will be apportioned accordingly. If you paid for your own damages and rental car because you had no collision coverage, you may wish to bring a claim against the at fault party for reimbursement.  For more information on this process, consult with an attorney.  


Will my rates go up?

There is no hard and fast rule regarding premium calculations.  In general, if you cause your insurance company to make payment on your behalf because of an accident you were responsible for causing, there is a chance your rates will go up. If, on the other hand, your insurance company has to pay you on your policy because of the other party’s negligence (i.e. Med-Pay claim or UM/UIM), your rates will not likely go up. For specific guidance regarding your policy, contact your insurance agent or representative. 


How do I report a claim?

As soon as practical, you should call your insurance company and report the accident.  You should do this regardless of who was at fault. An agent will likely ask you about what happened, damages to the vehicles and personal injuries. As part of your insurance contract, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company.  If you do not cooperate with the reasonable demands of your insurance company, you risk denial of coverage. You have no duty or obligation, however, to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. The other party’s insurance agent may ask you to give a recorded statement.  You should not agree to do this without first speaking to an attorney. 


Client Reviews of Our Waterbury, CT Personal Injury Attorneys

    Friendly, professional and VERY responsive!

    Friendly, professional and VERY responsive!

    Attorney John Buckley was highly recommended to me by quite a few people and upon my first meeting to discuss my case, I knew immediately that I was in good hands. He took his time to explain everything to me in great detail and stayed in communication throughout my entire case. His staff was also extremely friendly, professional and VERY responsive! I actually never had to reach out about my case because they over-communicated with me from beginning to end. My accident was very unfortunate, but I’m extremely grateful I was working with Attorney Buckley through it all! I highly recommend this law firm!!!

    - Jamie B.

    Respectful, extremely knowledgeable, & understanding

    Respectful, extremely knowledgeable, & understanding

    Recently engaged BWP concerning a motor vehicle accident. From the initial consult, and continuing throughout the entire process, John Parese and the entire staff were respectful, extremely knowledgeable, understanding of my goals and supportive to work towards achieving the best possible outcome. It was a very seamless, friendly relationship and a firm that I would highly recommend to anyone.

    - Robert T.

    Couldn’t have been happier with the services I received!

    Couldn’t have been happier with the services I received!

    I contacted BWP in June 2019, after I was hit by a drunk driver. John Wynne was my attorney. I couldn’t have been happier with the services I received. Everyone I dealt with was very professional and made sure I had all the help I needed. I highly recommend this law firm.

    - Valerie

    Quick and consistent

    Quick and consistent

    John Buckley was quick and consistent in relaying information to me regarding litigation, and he and his staff were always very supportive of any requests I made. John’s experience and strategic expertise made the difference in dealing with the insurance company, and we achieved the best possible outcome thanks to his vigilance. Cannot recommend BWP highly enough!

    - Richard

    Thorough, caring, and patient

    Thorough, caring, and patient

    I don't have the words to describe how wonderful John Parese was to work with. He took my family and I under his wing during a difficult time. He was by our side for 3 years while I was treated. He was thorough, caring, and patient. He was always there to answer questions and made us feel that he was in our corner. John explained our options and walked us through the process many times. It was WAY outside of my comfort zone to go to litigation, but he believed in me and my case. He was phenomenal in court and I was very proud to be part of his team. We are forever thankful and would recommend him to anyone!

    - The Yanellis

    Kind, patient, honest and extremely knowledgeable

    Kind, patient, honest and extremely knowledgeable

    John Parese is an excellent attorney who provided care that was needed at an extremely difficult and a long period of time. He and his team are very dedicated and gave professional guidance in various aspects. I am very grateful for having received a degree of release for the painful accident, and trauma which was unfortunate and terrifying. Mr. Parese is very kind, patient, honest and extremely knowledgeable. I'd highly recommend his help to people in need.

    - Xueping Qiu

    Two thumbs up!

    Two thumbs up!

    John Parese is an amazing attorney! He constantly checked in with me to make sure I was feeling better after my accident and gave me updates on where we were in the process. I never doubted that I was in good hands. Thank you John and also to your team! Two thumbs up!

    - Kristen Reep

    Wonderful staff.

    Wonderful staff.

    Wonderful staff. They gave the impression that they really care for their clients. I will call on them again if I need in the future.

    - Kelly Best

    Excellent attorney who always fights to protect his clients

    Excellent attorney who always fights to protect his clients

    John has assisted me with several issues. He is an excellent attorney who always fights to protect his clients. I was able to recover medically knowing John was fully handling the insurance and issues with my case. I will continue to use him in the future.

    - Danielle Quilligan

    5 star all the way!

    5 star all the way!

    Upon my first meeting to discuss my case, I knew that I found the right place to handle it!! Attorney John Parese was fantastic, definitely 5 star all the way! Everything regarding the process and the timing was very well explained. The communication was excellent, and I was always kept up to date throughout beginning to end! Each person that I had contact with in the office was professional and very responsive. I never had to worry about anything which was a great relief to me. While my case may have to been as complicated as others are, I was always made to feel important. I can’t recommend Buckley Wynne & Parese enough should you find yourself being injured from an accident. Do yourself a favor and give them a call!

    - JB Keys