Car accidents happen every day and cause serious injuries and death to many unsuspecting people. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (FLHSMV)crash facts, just over 341,000 car accidents involving nearly 570,000 drivers occurred in 2020 in the state. Of that number, more than 4,500 accidents were caused by drunk driving.
Impairment from alcohol can present itself in a variety of ways. In many cases, an intoxicated driver lacks the ability to make judgments and decisions, see the road and other traffic clearly, and distinguish traffic lights and signs. Alcohol use can also lead to drowsiness, negatively impacting a driver’s response time.
How Alcohol Leads to Car Accidents
Accidents caused by drunk driving happen because a driver loses the ability to control their car. The effects of alcohol on a vehicle driver include:
- An inability to visually respond to moving objects like vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians
- A noticeable lack of coordination which can cause trouble steering accurately
- Difficulty concentrating on the road or maintaining a safe vehicle speed
- Difficulty staying in the correct lane or stopping quickly if needed
Many people do not realize how easily consuming alcohol can inhibit their ability to operate a vehicle and navigate traffic safely. If an intoxicated driver caused a car accident that injured you or a family member or damaged your property, your attorney could help you seek the financial compensation you are due.
Annual Cost of Accidents Caused By Drunk Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 30 accident victims lose their lives in drunk driving collisions daily. In addition, car accidents involving drunk drivers across the country create more than $44 billion in related expenses each year, among other surprising facts about impaired driving.
Like in any car collision, drunk driving collisions significantly impact victims and their families. But unfortunately, it can also significantly impact the victims’ ability to return to regular activities and resume the same quality of life they enjoyed before the accident.
The expenses related to drunk driving can include a variety of costs, including:
- Increased insurance rates
- Legal and filing fees
- Costs to repair damaged property or completely replace personal property
- Emergency medical treatment
- Recovery and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
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What Should I Do If I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver?
Drunk driving accidents are often violent and unexpected. They can result in serious, life-altering injuries. Extensive medical expenses may join these injuries. Making matters worse, hospital time can prevent you from returning to work, lowering your income.
DUIs are serious crimes punishable by fines and prison time. What of the victims, though? Immediately after an accident, you should seek medical attention. Once you have consulted a doctor, weigh your legal options. You could qualify for compensation through a civil lawsuit or insurance claim.
A Florida drunk driving accident lawyer can identify the potential sources of compensation in your case, including:
- Your insurance
- The liable driver’s insurance policy
- A lawsuit verdict
- Another liable party, like a vehicle manufacturer or bar owner
What Compensation Is Available in Drunk Driving Cases?
Florida law allows drunk driving accident victims to pursue various compensation types called damages. Damages are divided into two groups, economic damages and non-economic damages. Each type reimburses you for your losses in different ways.
As noted previously, drunk driving accidents come with a financial cost. Economic damages provide compensation for this type of loss, including:
- Upfront medical expenses like hospital time and surgery
- Ongoing treatment costs, like physical therapy or counseling
- Lost or reduced wages
- Property damages if your vehicle needed repairs after the crash
Drunk driving accidents do not just hurt your wallet, though. They come with an emotional cost, too. Non-economic damages account for the mental suffering inflicted by your accident. They can compensate you for pain and suffering, mental trauma, and other psychological damages.
A drunk driving accident attorney can estimate the damages associated with your case. They can help you understand what your case may be worth. This information could prove invaluable during settlement negotiations. This way, you will know if the liable party offers you an unfair settlement.
Establishing Liability After a Drunk Driving Accident
Drunk driving accidents fall into the category of personal injury law. You will need to prove that another party was responsible for your injuries if you want a successful outcome in your case. This process is called establishing liability.
Establishing liability involves proving the four elements of negligence:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care: All drivers on the road are responsible for keeping others from harm. This responsibility is known as a duty of care and is a given in most drunk driving cases.
- The liable party breached this duty: Breaches of duty are negligent behavior. For example, driving drunk is considered negligent behavior. If the driver that caused your accident was drunk, they failed to uphold their duty of care.
- This negligent behavior caused your accident: The evidence your lawyer uses must show that this negligent behavior caused an accident.
- You suffered damages: Finally, you need to prove that you suffered damages because of your accident. Medical records and receipts can be used as evidence for this element of negligence.
Evidence in a Drunk Driving Case
You will need evidence to establish negligence and highlight liability. Without clear evidence, getting your case off the ground may be challenging. Common types of evidence in a drunk driving case include:
- Police reports
- Traffic camera footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert input from a crash reconstruction specialist
- Your medical records and expenses
- Images of the crash scene
Gathering evidence and building a legal case takes time and energy. An attorney can handle this process, so you do not have to. Then, while you recover, they can work with experts to review the details of your case.
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Hold the Drunk Driver Who Injured You Responsible
Car accidents caused by drunk driving can leave you with severe injuries that might also leave you unable to return to your normal lifestyle and activities. You might also be unable to return to work right away, in addition to having mounting medical bills for your emergency and ongoing care.
If you or a family member suffered injuries in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you are entitled to compensation for your accident-related expenses. Speak to an attorney near you about the drunk driving accident that caused your injuries when you call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today.
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