West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accidents
For some, it only takes one drink to start experiencing the effects of alcohol on the body. These effects, which include poor coordination, lowered inhibitions, and blurred vision, are why getting behind the wheel while under the influence is so dangerous.
People who operate motor vehicles while impaired have reduced reaction times, which means they are unlikely to respond to hazards that arise quickly enough to avoid a collision. They are also unlikely to maneuver the vehicle safely in traffic. They might drift or swerve into adjacent lanes or oncoming traffic, struggle to maintain a constant—or safe—speed, and ignore posted signs and signals.
If you were hurt in a crash with an impaired motorist, the West Palm Beach drunk driving accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston will help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We have recovered several multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for our valued clients. Call 561-299-3999 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our seasoned injury attorneys.Are Punitive Damages Recoverable in Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuits?
In the state of Florida, injured parties can only recover punitive damages in certain scenarios. Fortunately, a drunk driving accident is usually one of them. In order for a case to warrant punitive damages, though, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions showed a reckless disregard for the safety of others or for human life in general.
Impaired motorists do not plan on causing a collision when they get behind the wheel and thus do not intentionally cause harm; however, the very act of driving under the influence shows an utter lack of care regarding the lives of others. Therefore, if there is evidence of impairment, you may be able to recover punitive damages.What Other Kinds of Damages are Recoverable in Drunk Driving Accident Claims?
In addition to punitive damages, which are designed to punish defendants for gross negligence or intentional misconduct, claimants can pursue compensatory damages following a drunk driving accident. These damages compensate the victim for all costs associated with treating their injuries and then living with any lasting repercussions.
There are two kinds of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages essentially reimburse claimants for tangible costs they incur such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate accident victims or their loved ones for non-monetary losses such as mental anguish, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. Other examples include loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of consortium.We’ll Make Sure the Insurance Company Treats You Fairly
No matter how confident you are in the strength of your case, there are dozens of tactics the insurer might use to reduce the value of your claim or deny it outright. Many of these tactics are dependent on you making a mistake early in the proceedings.
For example, the insurance adjuster will search for reasons to argue that you were partially liable for the crash. You might think this would be impossible if the driver who hit you was drunk, but if you provide a statement that indicates you were breaking a traffic law when the collision occurred, the value of your claim may be reduced. In the state of Florida, the financial recovery in a personal injury case is reduced by the claimant’s percentage of fault, so it’s important that you don’t give the insurance adjuster any reason to contend that you were partially liable.
A West Palm Beach drunk driving accident lawyer from Donaldson & Weston can help you avoid making costly statements by handling all correspondence with the insurer on your behalf. We know how to manage this dialogue in such a way that will protect your claim.
We’ll also monitor the insurance company’s activities to prevent unnecessary delays. It’s not uncommon for insurance adjusters to draw out the investigation so the victim falls further into debt. The idea here is to pressure you into accepting an early settlement to release the insurance company from liability for damages that might arise in the future. One of our drunk driving accident attorneys can help you determine the most strategic time to enter settlement negotiations, which will likely be after you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and have a clear idea of the medical care you will need in the future.
Finally, we won’t accept an unfair settlement—even if that means taking your case all the way to trial. Our DUI accident lawyers have extensive experience litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases, so we’re not afraid to go to court if it’s in your best interests to do so.Social Media Tips to Keep in Mind While Your Case Is Pending
The best tip we can give: stay off social media entirely. If you disable your social media accounts, that’s one fewer source of evidence the insurance adjuster will have to challenge your claim.
You never know how a text post or photo might be taken out of context to dispute liability or the value of your damages, so you should play it safe and deactivate your accounts until your claim has been resolved. A single post about the progress of your recovery or a photo of you spending time with loved ones could be all it takes for the insurer to argue that your injuries are less severe than you’re claiming.
Keep in mind that your social profiles aren’t the only ones the claims adjuster might be monitoring. Be sure to ask friends and family not to post anything about you while your case is pending.Call 561-299-3999 to Speak with a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in West Palm Beach
If you or someone you love was hurt at the hands of an impaired motorist, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our compassionate drunk driving accident attorneys will gather evidence, track damages, calculate a fair settlement amount, and negotiate with the opposing party on your behalf. Call 561-299-3999 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer in West Palm Beach.