Steven Benvenisti Esq.
Imagine the worst event that could ever happen to you; something so horrific and unimaginable that thinking about it keeps you up at night. That’s exactly what happened to me. I was a college student and on top of the world. I was an athlete, future homecoming king, president of the honors society, fraternity brother, all while having a great relationship with my girlfriend and family. Life could not have been better.
Being a senior at the College of New Jersey was supposed to be the best year of my life. My future dreams were set. My parents would soon see me graduate with high honors. I would then go to law school. Become an attorney. Get married and have kids one day. Nothing was going to stop me.
Unfortunately, it all came to a screeching halt during my college spring break. I did not realize at that time that a drunk driver would change everything. On the night of March 20th, 6 weeks before my college graduation, a drunk driver’s vehicle traveling over 50 mph crashed into my body throwing me over 70 feet with me landing face-down on the roadway.
My family was called at 3 a.m. to be told that I was in critical condition, in the deepest possible coma with a severe T.B.I., crushed legs, and hours to live. They were asked to consent to my organ donation.
After almost 2 weeks I awoke from the coma, spent 5 months in the hospital, underwent 15 major surgeries, and struggled for 1 year to walk again. After all that I endured, I was blessed to fully recover. I was one of the lucky ones, but it wasn’t easy.
Each day and night, I would look at the advice my loved ones hung on a piece of paper attached to my hospital bedrails: “The only constant in life is change. The past is behind you, the future has yet to come. The only thing you can directly control is the present moment. Enjoy striving to achieve the challenges before you now. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. Your emotions are controlled by what it is you’re thinking about.”
I made a promise that if I recovered, I would share my story in the hopes of ending drunk driving and D.U.I. I went on to graduate from college with high honors, graduate law school, passed the bar exams on the first try and became an attorney. My recovery from the ordeal inspired my choice of careers to represent injury survivors. As a personal injury attorney, I chose to represent those who are injured from car crashes, including drunk driving victims, fall victims, and other personal injury victims. Since my injury, our country has lost more than 300,000 people to drunk driving, with thousands of them being from our local region.
I also made a lifetime commitment to warn teens and their parents of the dangers of drunk driving as well as helping those living with brain and other injuries. Approximately 20 times a year, I serve as a motivational and keynote speaker to medical and rehabilitation associations, high schools, universities, judicial conferences and trial lawyer associations.
I served on the National Board of Directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving from 2012-2018 and am proud to be the current MADD New Jersey Board Chair. My leadership roles have allowed me to meet, support and mentor so many who have been in similar circumstances. MADD has helped me as they have helped so many of you. MADD staff and volunteers are here for all victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving, as well as underage drinking. Since MADD’s founding in 1980 drunk driving deaths have been cut in half, we have served more than 880,000 victims, and saved 400,000 lives…and counting.
Our amazing MADD family of volunteers consists of surviving parents, children, spouses, siblings, and injured victims who work every day to end drunk and drugged driving. We have employed wonderful full-time staff leadership, who work with our volunteers throughout the year. Together we annually award our law enforcement heroes, provide victim services and educational programs throughout the year, organize events, honor loved ones, and so much more.
Please be a part of stopping this 100% preventable crime and make a contribution to help us create a future of No More Victims® of drunk & drugged driving.
Steven Benvenisti, Esq.
Partner at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C.
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MADD NY | NJ | PA Regional Office: PO Box 20309, Huntington Station, NY 11746