A. Understanding How Drunk Driving Car Accidents Are Different from Other Accidents
Drunk driving remains a serious issue not only in Orlando, Florida, but throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Despite concerted efforts to reduce its occurrence, drunk driving accidents claim over 10,000 lives annually across the country and leave hundreds of thousands more seriously injured.
Given this sobering reality, understanding how drunk driving accidents are different from other types of vehicle accidents can be valuable, especially for those who unfortunately become victims. At Spetsas Buist PLLC, our team is committed to empowering victims of reckless driving with knowledge and legal support.
B. How Drunk Driving Accidents Are Different: The Comparative Analysis
There are key differences between drunk driving accidents and crashes not involving alcohol, which underline how drunk driving accidents are different in their complexity and impact on victims.
1. Legal Implications and Consequences
The first aspect that illustrates how drunk driving accidents are different is the legal implications involved. Drunk driving is a criminal offense, meaning a driver under the influence of alcohol can face DUI charges and other related traffic offenses. However, these criminal proceedings are separate from civil claims for damages.
As a victim, to recover compensation for damages from a DUI accident, you must file an insurance claim and potentially a civil lawsuit. This process often requires experienced legal guidance.
2. Punitive Damages
One factor that explains how drunk driving accidents are different is the potential awarding of punitive damages. In a drunk driving accident claim, victims may be eligible for punitive damages in addition to compensation for financial losses and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. These punitive damages are intended to "punish" the offender for gross negligence or willful disregard for others' safety. When an accident occurs due to intoxication, the court may classify such behavior as grossly negligent, warranting punitive damages.
3. Multiple Defendants
Another aspect that highlights how drunk driving accidents are different involves the number of potential defendants. In certain scenarios, a bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver could also be held accountable. These claims, known as DRAM shop claims, necessitate comprehensive investigations into the circumstances leading up to the crash.
C. Deciphering Who Pays for Damages in DUI Accidents
The question of who pays for damages in a DUI accident is another facet that illustrates how drunk driving accidents are different from other types of crashes. In many instances, you need to prove the driver's actions caused the accident to receive compensation. While the fact that the driver was drunk is significant, it isn't enough on its own to attribute the crash to their actions.
For example, the impaired driver could have been following too closely, leading to a rear-end collision, or they may have drifted into your lane, causing a head-on collision. The key is proving how their actions led to the crash, which often involves an in-depth accident investigation and expert testimony.
D. Pursuing a Claim Against the Drunk Driver That Injured Me
In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, it's critical to take the appropriate steps to safeguard your rights and position yourself to pursue a successful claim against the party responsible for your injuries. Here's a guide to help you navigate this challenging process.
Step 1: Gathering Evidence
The foundation of any successful legal claim lies in strong evidence. This includes photographs from the accident scene, witness statements, medical reports, and police reports. In drunk driving cases, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) results and any charges or convictions against the driver can also serve as potent evidence.
Step 2: Reporting the Incident
Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, even if you weren't at fault. Be careful not to admit any liability during your conversations with insurance adjusters.
Step 3: Seek Medical Attention
Even if your injuries seem minor initially, it's crucial to get a complete medical evaluation. Some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding, might not be immediately apparent. Prompt medical attention ensures these are not overlooked, and also helps document the extent of your injuries, which is vital for your claim.
Step 4: Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Engaging the services of a skilled personal injury attorney, like the team at Spetsas Buist PLLC, can be incredibly beneficial. We can help you understand the nuances of how drunk driving accidents are different and guide you through the complex legal terrain, including insurance negotiations, gathering evidence, and exploring all potential sources of compensation.
Step 5: Filing Your Claim
Your attorney can help you file a claim against the drunk driver's insurance company. Remember, the goal of insurance companies is to minimize payouts, so having an experienced attorney on your side can help ensure your rights are protected.
Step 6: Pursuing a Lawsuit if Necessary
If negotiations don't yield a satisfactory settlement, you may need to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver. This step might also include other parties if your case involves DRAM shop liability.
In conclusion, pursuing a claim against a drunk driver involves several steps, each vital to your case's success. It can be an arduous process, especially when dealing with injuries and recovery. That's why having dedicated legal representation, like the team at Spetsas Buist PLLC, is invaluable in fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Do You Need to Speak with a Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver in Florida, you should speak with a skilled, experienced, and aggressive Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on our website, or you can call our Orlando, Florida personal injury law firm today at (321) 352-7588 and schedule your free consultation by phone. When you schedule a consultation at our law firm, you will get a consultation with a Florida car accident lawyer, not a customer service representative or intake person.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you’ve been injured in the Southeast, we have you covered. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.