Martin County Drunk Driving Accident
When impaired motorists get behind the wheel, they put not only themselves at risk of serious injuries but also everyone on the road around them. Drunk driving accidents are some of the most tragic because they are 100% preventable.
Driving under the influence is so egregious, in fact, that those who cause a collision while doing so are often ordered to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. If you were hurt in a crash with an impaired motorist but you’re not sure how to approach the claims process, contact the Martin County drunk driving accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston.
We take great pride in helping innocent victims recover the compensation they need to move on with life. To discuss your case with one of our compassionate injury attorneys, call 772-266-5555 and schedule a free consultation.How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
Personal injury cases that involve impaired motorists tend to be more complicated than other kinds of claims because of the concurrent criminal proceedings; however, the civil case is ultimately independent from the criminal one.
Like other types of civil cases, there is no set timeline for resolving a drunk driving accident claim. During your free consultation, a drunk driving accident attorney from Donaldson & Weston will evaluate your case and explain how the following factors might affect the duration of the proceedings:
- The Extent of Your Injuries: You should not attempt to negotiate for a settlement until you have reached maximum medical improvement. Therefore, sustaining injuries that are especially severe and take months to heal could extend the proceedings.
- The Strength of Your Evidence: A dispute related to liability or your damages could prolong your claim. The injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can use toxicology reports, the police report, eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, expert witness testimony, medical documentation, proof of lost wages, and other types of evidence to avoid a dispute and fight for a fair settlement.
- The Circumstances of the Crash: If multiple parties were liable for the collision or if you were partially at fault, the proceedings are going to be inherently more complicated.
- The Insurance Adjuster’s Willingness to Cooperate: If the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster refuses to offer a fair settlement—or acknowledge the policyholder’s liability at all—you may have to take the case to trial. Although doing so could ultimately result in the compensation you deserve, it will add a considerable amount of time to the proceedings.
Since drunk driving accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, the damages that result are often substantial. Fortunately, victims may be able to recover compensation for all the medical bills and other losses they incur.
In the state of Florida, personal injury claimants can pursue the following damages:
- Medical Expenses: Drunk driving accident victims may be able to recover compensation for all the costs associated with treating their injuries. This includes ambulance fees, hospital bills, doctor’s copays, prescription costs, and expenses for ongoing care like physical therapy. If doctors believe you will need surgery at various stages of the healing process, the estimated cost of future treatment can also be included in your claim.
- Lost Earnings: Recovering from serious injuries can keep you out of work for weeks or even months. Fortunately, you can include all lost wages in the settlement negotiations. If your injuries are so severe that they prevent you from returning to the same profession, you may also be entitled to compensation for loss of future earning capacity and lost benefits.
- Property Damage: Your claim can also include the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and other property that was damaged in the accident.
- Other Costs Incurred as a Result of the Accident: Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to arrange home care, alternative transportation, domestic help, child care, and other services. As long as all these services are reasonable and necessary, your attorney can account for them when negotiating for a settlement.
- Non-Economic Damages: The psychological effects of the accident may not be verifiable through receipts or invoices, but they are every bit as real as the economic damages. Your lawyer can help you determine a fair value for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and emotional distress.
- Punitive Damages: Drunk driving accidents are one of the few personal injury scenarios that may warrant a punitive award; however, there’s usually a cap on such damages in the state of Florida. Typically, the punitive award cannot exceed $500,000 or three times the total compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
It’s important to remember that even though you may be entitled to compensation for the damages listed above, their total value is not the only factor that can influence the final payout. Other potential factors include:
- The total insurance coverage available;
- The extent of any scarring, disfigurement, or disabilities that your injuries caused; and
- Whether you were partially at fault for the accident.
If you were hurt in a drunk driving accident, your personal injury claim will proceed independently of any criminal proceedings; however, certain kinds of evidence will be relevant in both.
The following evidence may contribute to the strength of your claim:
- The official police report;
- The results of any chemical tests conducted at the scene or administered a short while later;
- Arrest records;
- Statements from eyewitnesses;
- Dash cam footage or surveillance recordings of the accident;
- Social media posts detailing what the impaired motorist was doing prior to getting behind the wheel; and
- Receipts from any local establishments that served the impaired motorist prior to the accident.
If you or someone in your family was hurt in a drunk driving accident, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our injury lawyers will handle the logistics of your claim, guiding you through every stage of the proceedings, so you can focus on more important matters such as your health and your family’s wellbeing. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation.