Being injured in a drunk driving accident can have lifelong consequences for the survivors and their families long after the accident occurred. Preliminary data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Division shows 349 impaired driving crashes in 2020 with 294 deaths and 252 injuries reported. In spite of Florida's dedicated efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road, DUI-related accidents continue to happen causing serious bodily injuries.
In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, life becomes complicated and determining the best course of action can be unclear. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Florida, a DUI lawyer can help you recover damages for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, damages to your vehicle, and other expenses.
What First Steps Should I Take After Being Injured In A Drunk Driving Accident?
Immediately after a drunk driving accident, you should seek medical help even if you do not believe you are injured. You may not feel any pain because of the adrenaline flooding through your system and sometimes, the pain from serious injuries does not show up immediately.
After the initial evaluation and treatment of your injuries by a health care provider, the next step is to contact a DUI lawyer to discuss the possibility of pursuing legal action against the drunk driver who is responsible for the accident and your injuries. You may meet with the attorney in their office or if you are seriously injured, the attorney can meet with you in the hospital.
Once the attorney has obtained police and medical reports and reviewed them, a follow-up meeting is scheduled to discuss options and possible remedies for your situation. If you are undergoing medical treatment for your injuries, the lawyer will inform you about the importance of keeping all appointments for treatments and following up with any specialists you are referred to during your recovery. It is important to document all appointments and treatments to prepare a strong case should you go to court.
The best DUI attorney will also handle any dealings with your insurance company and the insurance company for the other driver involved so you can focus on recovery.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A DUI Lawyer For A Personal Injury Case?
While there are many personal injury lawyers in Sarasota, Florida, having a DUI lawyer represent you in a drunk driving matter is beneficial because of their comprehensive understanding of DUI laws and skills in the courtroom. In addition, your attorney will be continuously gathering countless documents to prepare your case including:
- Police reports.
- Witness information.
- Photographs of the accident scene.
- Medical reports and treatment plans from each health care provider.
- Reports from all insurance companies involved.
Your lawyer will instruct you about the importance of going to all medical appointments and obtaining medical records and test results from every health care provider who is treating you.
What Damages May Be Awarded For Being Injured In A Drunk Driving Accident?
In Sarasota and Key West, Florida there are two categories of damages available to accident victims: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages may include compensation for:
- Lost wages.
- Medical expenses.
- Transportation costs for medical treatment.
- Vehicle repairs.
- Future economic losses such employment earnings, additional surgeries, therapies, and long-term care or treatment.
Non-economic damages include the intangible ways you may suffer because of the DUI accident. If you are no longer able to participate in activities you enjoyed before the accident, you could be awarded for loss of enjoyment of life. Other types of non-economic damages include emotional distress, disfigurement, disability, physical pain and suffering, and loss of sexual function and companionship.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded when the other driver's actions were clearly willful and wanton and demonstrate their intentional malice or gross negligence. The objective of punitive damages is to punish the driver for their egregious behavior and to warn others that such behavior will not be tolerated.
Anyone who has been injured in a drunk driving accident should consider contacting a DUI attorney who practices in Sarasota or Key West. A local attorney is familiar with the courts and procedures. They understand how to protect your rights and build a solid DUI accident injury case.