New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Uses Story with a Surprise Twist to Convey Anti-Drunk Driving Message

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After being horribly injured as a pedestrian by a drunk driver, attorney Steven Benvenisti of Teaneck’s Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., says he promised himself to do everything he could to end drunk driving.

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New Jersey personal injury lawyer Steven Benvenisti was in a coma for 10 days after he was hit as a pedestrian by a drunk driver in 1989.

I do this because it’s a promise I made to myself that, if I was able to make this impossible recovery, I would do whatever I could to end drunk driving, because a drunk driver almost ended my life at the age of 21.

New Jersey personal injury lawyer Steven Benvenisti presented his program, “The Most Significant Case of My Entire Career,” to a parent and student audience in River Vale, N.J., this month.

The program is one that Benvenisti, a partner with the New Jersey personal injury law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., presents throughout the country as a keynote and motivational speaker to national and medical rehabilitation associations, colleges, high schools, judicial, lawyer and law enforcement organizations.

In each program, Benvenisti tells the audience that the case involves a 21-year-old college student who was in Daytona Beach, Fla., on a spring break trip in 1989. While walking at night with his friends, the student was struck by a drunk driver who had been going roughly 50 mph.

The impact of the student’s head smashed the car’s windshield and made a “horribly unusual exploding sound” as the student’s torso slammed into the car, and he was thrown 75 feet.

He suffered intense bleeding, disfigurement of his legs and a severe traumatic brain injury, and he fell into a coma. When the Florida doctors called his parents’ New Jersey home to tell them of the accident, they said the young man could die within hours and asked about donating his organs.

Ten days later, the student awoke from the coma and was advised of his prognosis that a full recovery was not possible. He then made a promise that if he was able to achieve a full recovery, in spite of the doctors’ saying otherwise, that he would dedicate his life to spreading a simple but important message: Never drink and drive.

The student, Benvenisti tells the crowd, is standing before them.

“When I let them know that the ‘The Most Significant Case of My Entire Career’ is the story of what happened to me, I always get a huge applause,” Benvenisti says. “What’s important is that right after I tell them that the story is about me, I have their complete and undivided attention. I use that opportunity to get them to make a promise – right here, right now – that they will never drink alcohol and drive.”

As he did this month in River Vale, Benvenisti provides the audience with a two-part “Contract for Life.” In the contract, students promise they will never drink and drive, get into a car with someone who has been drinking or allow a friend to drink and drive, while parents agree to pick up their children if they call for a ride without any questions asked.

“Over the years, I’ve gotten overwhelming feedback,” says Benvenisti, who waives all honorariums in favor of donations to a worth charity, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Brain Injury Association of America.

“I do this because it’s a promise I made to myself that, if I was able to make this impossible recovery, I would do whatever I could to end drunk driving, because a drunk driver almost ended my life at the age of 21,” he says.

Today, Benvenisti is licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and he is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney. His practice is dedicated exclusively to representing personal injury victims, including those with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury and victims of drunk-driving accidents.

As a result of his anti-drunk driving efforts, he has been honored with many awards, including a U.S. Congressional Citation, U.S. House of Representatives Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, an Official Proclamation by the Governor of New Jersey and a New Jersey Joint Senate-General Assembly Legislative Resolution.

He says he is encouraged by a downward trend in drunk driving in New Jersey and across the U.S. For instance, New Jersey State Patrol (NJSP) statistics indicate that the number of intoxicated drivers involved in fatal crashes has steadily decreased over the last 20 years, going from 175 in 1991 to 102 in 2010.

“Twenty or 30 years ago, there weren’t as many messages about the dangers of drinking and driving. Today, many different organizations and communities are getting the message out, and DWI deaths are decreasing,” he says. “But it’s still a major concern. There’s more work to do.”

Benvenisti plans to continue his contribution to end drunk driving in the coming months. In addition to speaking at high schools, he currently has programs scheduled for March 2012 with the Brain Injury Association of Virginia, Brain Injury Association of Minnesota and College and High School Athletic Trainers of New Jersey. He estimates that he will give at least 30 presentations in the coming year.

To learn more about Benvenisti’s presentations, please visit his website, http://www.stopdwinow.com.

About Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys and dedicated staff of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., provide compassionate and skilled legal help to those injured by the negligence of others.

Since 1981, the firm has secured more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements for clients throughout North Jersey and New York, including the communities of Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Edison, Toms River, Trenton, Clifton, Camden, Brick Township, Woodbridge Township, Bergen Co., Middlesex Co., Somerset Co., Warren Co., Sussex Co., Monmouth Co., Mercer Co., Ocean Co., Hudson Co., Passaic Co., Essex Co., Union Co., Morris Co., Teaneck, Fort Lee, Paramus, Hackensack, Hoboken, Secaucus, Englewood, Mahwah, Bergenfield, Union City, North Bergen, Ridgewood, Bayonne, Ridgefield, Belleville, Alpine, New Milford and Atlantic City.

The firm’s practice areas include personal injury, auto accidents, drunk driving accidents, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, slip and fall, truck accidents and workers’ compensation.

For more information about Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., call (800) LAW-2000 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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