Florida has no-fault insurance laws, but this does not mean you cannot hold a drunk driver liable if you suffer serious injuries. While all car crash victims must first turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) policy for coverage after a drunk driving accident, those who meet the serious injury threshold can also file a claim based on the drunk driver’s auto liability policy. A drunk driving accident lawyer in Miami, FL, can help.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, our car accident lawyers can review your case, explain your legal options, and help you hold the drunk driver accountable under the furthest extent the law allows. Call us today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free case evaluation and consultation.
Recoverable Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident With Serious Injuries
If your medical records and other documentation of your injuries clearly show you suffered serious injuries in the crash, you can file a third-party liability claim based on the drunk driver’s auto liability policy. This type of claim allows you to try to recover a wide range of compensation for damages not available under your PIP coverage.
While your PIP coverage provides you with medical care and a limited amount of lost wages up to your policy limit, you can hold the at-fault driver accountable for the remaining economic and non-economic damages you suffered. These may include:
- The rest of your medical bills and related costs;
- Ongoing or future care costs;
- In-home nursing care;
- Prescription drugs, including pain management;
- Adaptive equipment and mobility aids;
- Lost wages and future lost income;
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs;
- Related out-of-pocket expenses; and
- Pain and suffering
In addition, if we take your case to court, the judge may award you with punitive damages. Punitive damages are unique to drunk driving cases and other instances where the driver acted in a purposefully careless way. Unlike the other damages you can recover, punitive damages do not pay back the money you lost because of the accident. Instead, they punish the driver for their heinous actions.
Negligence and Liability in a Miami Drunk Driving Car Accident
Drunk drivers face criminal charges after a crash, and this can work to our advantage. The police will conduct an investigation to prove their case, and this may make it much easier to prove the driver acted negligently. While a criminal conviction does not mean an automatic win in an insurance claim or civil suit, it certainly helps.
Before we can file a third-party liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver, we need to prove you suffered a serious, life-altering injury. The definition of serious injury, under Florida law, includes any injury that leads to:
- A significant impairment affecting an important body part;
- Permanent injuries; or
- Significant scarring or disfigurement.
Once we feel certain you meet these qualifications, we will investigate your accident and work to prove our case against the drunk driver. Winning a third-party auto insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit will require us to prove the four elements of negligence. These are:
- The driver had an obligation to drive in a careful and responsible manner;
- The driver failed to uphold this obligation by driving while intoxicated;
- Their intoxication led to the accident and your injuries; and
- You suffered major physical and financial damages.
These accidents tend to produce a wealth of evidence we can use to demonstrate negligence, including a police report, video of the driver’s arrest, and the evidence presented in their criminal case. We can also enlist the help of accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to help us build a strong case for compensation.
You May Be Eligible for Other Compensation.
If a drunk driver caused you to suffer extensive injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering, there may be additional ways for you to collect compensation beyond filing an insurance claim or civil suit. First, the judge in the criminal case may award you restitution.
As the victim of a crime, you may also qualify for compensation under Florida’s Crimes Compensation Act. You may qualify for this payout even if you do not meet the serious injury threshold. This can provide important assistance for those who suffered moderate injuries that were not completely covered by their PIP policy. We can help you determine if you qualify under the rules of this statute.
Time Limits on Filing a Florida Drunk Driving Accident Claim
The Florida statute of limitations gives you four years from the date of an accident to take legal action against the liable party who caused your injuries. This means you have four years following your crash to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver.
Technically, this deadline only applies to filing a lawsuit, but we need to pay attention to the ticking clock when we pursue an insurance claim as well. If we do not reach a settlement in time and this deadline passes, we will lose most of our leverage for a fair settlement. The insurance company knows we cannot take their policyholder to court, so it will be much less likely to cooperate with our negotiations.
Talk to a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Miami.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will work aggressively to get you the payout you deserve after a crash with a drunk driver. We can usually settle these cases out of court, but we will not hesitate to litigate your drunk driving accident case if that is what it takes to recover the money you deserve. Call us today, and let us get to work on your case. Call 1-800-747-3733 to talk to someone in our Miami office.