At 24/7 Injury Law, we are intent on representing victims who are injured in a drunk driver accident in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boyton Beach, and other surrounding areas.
Our belief is simple: Drunk driver accident victims deserve the utmost respect and attention when you or a loved one is seriously or fatally injured in a car accident with a drunk driver.
When a FL Drunk Driver Causes an Accident, Call a Lawyer! Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton… Wherever You Are in South Florida, We Can Help!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 10,228 fatalities nationwide caused by drunk drivers (BAC .08 and higher) in 2010. This accounted for nearly one-third of the fatalities reported that year. That same year in Florida, drunk driver accidents contributed to 660 of these fatalities, all of which were caused by negligent drivers who did not follow Florida’s drunk driving laws.
When South Florida accident victims suffer damages in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, an accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale from 24/7 Injury Law can be of help. The firm’s accident lawyers help West Palm Beach and Boca Raton victims too as well as other victims in surrounding areas. Whether you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of a drunk driver, 24/7 Injury Law is the resource to contact.
Lost a Loved One in a FL Drunk Driving Accident? Lawyers in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale Can Help!
Losing a loved one in a drunk driver accident means the surviving spouse and family has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver charged with DUI and who caused the fatal accident. This civil lawsuit may also be tied to a criminal lawsuit for the charge of DUI manslaughter, a second degree felony in Florida (first degree if the driver flees the scene).
Drunk Driver Accident Cases: The Insurance Company Isn’t on Your Side
Even though you may think that the damages suffered make for an obvious case for compensation from the insurance company, the adjusters may try to convince you differently during the settlement process.
The insurance company may not fully take into account the devastation a car accident involving a drunk driver can have on victims or their families, but your attorney will. If the adjuster offers a settlement at all, it may be barely enough to cover the current medical expenses and financial losses that the victim may suffer from the drunk driving accident.
Victims should ask themselves these questions when determining if they need to hire an accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, or surrounding areas:
- Did I sustain serious injuries?
- Was a family member killed in the accident?
- Am I unable to work after my accident?
- Is the insurance company denying my claim that the other driver was at fault?
- Will I be permanently disabled due to my injuries?
Answering yes to any of these questions is a sign that a drunk driver accident attorney may be necessary to secure a fair settlement.
What’s Needed for an Injury Lawsuit After a Drunk Driving Accident?
There are three main components of a lawsuit following an accident with a drunk driver:
- substantial damages;
- proof of negligence; and
- one or more liable parties.
It is the duty of a personal injury attorney to assist accident victims in securing these components for their lawsuit.
Damages from a drunk driver accident fall into many categories. Typically, these include medical bills stemming from the accident and resulting injuries, as well as any lost wages the victim suffers while recovering. Further, pain and suffering may be recoverable in a lawsuit as well. An attorney can offer guidance during this process.
Punitive damages may be recoverable in a drunk driver accident, too. While compensation for other damages typically intends to make the victim financially whole again or compensate for emotional damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are not a common part of an injury claim settlement, and something an accident lawyer is best equipped to negotiate.
In order to be awarded punitive damages in a car accident with a drunk driver, the defendant must have acted in a grossly negligent manner. In many cases, driving while intoxicated is considered potential grounds for recovering these damages. Further, Florida law states that limits that are placed on punitive damages do not apply to drunk driver accident cases.
Nevertheless, an accident lawyer should examine your case to determine if grounds may exist to request punitive damages.
Proof of negligence is established through the evidence of your accident. Your personal injury attorney should thoroughly investigate the crash to collect evidence including:
- photographs of the scene;
- witness interviews and statements;
- the results of the breathalyzer and field sobriety test;
- the 9-1-1 recording/tape;
- a copy of the arrest record;
- criminal background check of the Defendant;
- driving record check of the Defendant;
- video from the patrol car of the roadside test & arrest; and
- analysis, photographs and measurements of the vehicles involved.
Some of the evidence may be destroyed, lost or misplaced and, therefore, the sooner an accident lawyer at 24/7 Injury Law can begin working on your case the sooner a drunk driver accident lawyer can obtain and preserve the evidence needed to demonstrate that another party, or parties, was responsible for the drunk driver accident or was in some way liable.
Liable parties in a car accident with a drunk driver may vary depending on the circumstances and are not always obvious – an accident attorney can evaluate other parties that may owe drunk driver accident victims compensation.
In a typical case, the driver of another vehicle who was found to be intoxicated at the time of the crash will be the liable party. In Florida, a driver with blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is considered to be operating the vehicle while intoxicated. Therefore, if someone operates a vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above, that person will usually be charged with DUI. The criminal charges may prove helpful for victims of a car accident with drunk driver involvement who are looking to file a civil claim to recover damages they’ve suffered as a result of the accident.
In the case of a hit-and-run accident, there may not be another driver to hold liable for the damages. This is one of the cases of a car accident with a drunk driver that benefit the most from the help of a personal injury attorney with experience in handling personal injury claims stemming from a car accident with a drunk driver.. The victims in these may only have their own car insurance to rely on for compensation for their damages if the other driver is never found.
At 24/7 Injury Law, an accident lawyer from our staff works diligently to pursue every avenue of compensation available to accident victims and their families. In some cases, our attorneys find that parties other than the one driving may be liable for accidents caused by drunk drivers.
Florida Dram Shop Laws & Liability in Drunk Driver Accidents
While the drunk driver who causes an accident is usually the obvious guilty party, establishments that serve alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated may also be held liable for that person’s actions under dram shop liability. Dram shop liability is a complex legal concept that should be discussed during your consultation with a personal injury attorney.
For example, if a bar serves a patron who clearly has had too much to drink and is intoxicated, and that person leaves the establishment, gets behind the wheel and causes an accident that seriously injures another driver or passenger, or any other individual, the bar may also be liable for damages suffered by the victims of this car accident with a drunk driver.
Furthermore, a bar or restaurant may be liable for damages caused by an underage drinker who is served by the establishment. Some establishments may fail to check identification of all drinkers, which may allow an underage person to become intoxicated. If he or she then operates a vehicle and causes an accident, the establishment may be liable under dram shop law. This may also be the case if the underage drinker is injured while driving drunk.
However, bars and restaurants aren’t the only parties that may be liable under dram shop laws. Party hosts who serve alcohol in a private home may also be liable if an intoxicated guest later causes a drunk driver accident. Victims of these accidents should consult a drunk driver accident lawyer to help them navigate dram shop liability and determine if it may apply to their personal injury claim.
Crossover Between a Civil and Criminal DUI Case
Unlike a typical car accident injury claim, which is normally just a civil lawsuit, when a car accident is caused by a drunk driver, the injury claim may also involve the accident victim in a criminal case. DUI is a crime punishable under Florida state laws and accident victims and their families are often called to testify in the criminal case as witnesses.
Victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers have the right to work with a personal injury attorney to assist them with settling their civil case for damage compensation. Having an attorney will also provide the advantage of advisement on any criminal case involvement.
The victim of a car accident does not need the added pressure of being involved in a criminal case. That is why it is highly advised that victims contact a drunk driver accident lawyer as soon as possible so legal council may act on their behalf in certain respects and alleviate some of the legal pressures they may face.
Benefits of Working With a Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer Serving Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach & Boca Raton
Our drunk driver accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton prepare a detailed and complete presentation of the evidence that the defendant was suspected or convicted of DUI to the insurance company representatives and the defendant’s accident lawyer. Such evidence may lead the insurance company to pay a significantly higher settlement than in an injury claim that does not involve a drunk driver. If a lawsuit is filed, the presentation will initially be made in mediation with your attorney representing your case.
Recently, Carlos J. Jimenez, an accident lawyer who covers Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton, secured a settlement (while the case was in litigation) of five times the available policy limits when an insurance company failed to pay in a timely manner. The personal injury claim involved a drunk driver accident in which the intoxicated driver ran into a van. In the van were a father, mother and two of their children. The settlement was secured after the presentation of damages and the presentation of the DUI evidence, which included the video tape of the arrest of the drunk driver.
Accident cases like these are just one example of how victims of a car accident with a drunk driver may alleviate some of the frustration and complications of filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a crash with a drunk driver.
At 24/7 Injury Law, each accident lawyer has dealt with numerous cases, each one unique.
A personal injury attorney from our firm takes serious car accident injury cases involving victims or their families who experience significant injuries and damages due to a drunk driver. Our focus is to obtain justice for the victims and their families – we are not a law firm whose drunk driver accident lawyers will represent the insurance companies or drunk drivers in these types of cases. We are concerned with helping victims of serious accidents caused by a drunk driver seek a fair settlement for their damages and minimize the stress in their lives when it comes to settlement negotiations.
After a serious car accident with a drunk driver, the next step is to protect your rights to compensation. To schedule a consultation with an accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, call 954-623-5032. To speak with an accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, call 561-253-0434. If you want to talk to an accident lawyer in Boca Raton or other surrounding area, call 888-984-4878.