West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accidents
As one of the major cities in South Florida, West Palm Beach is home to over 100,000 people, and many thousands more commute there from the surrounding cities. Unfortunately, not everyone who lives or works in the area is operating their vehicle in a safe manner or otherwise complying with Florida’s motor vehicle laws. Some people may even be driving under the influence. Each year, hundreds of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are killed in drunk driving accidents, and thousands more are seriously injured. The West Palm Beach drunk driving accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can assist your family and you if you have been involved in a DUI accident.
Under Florida law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .08 or if your normal faculties are otherwise impaired. Although DUI laws may result in fines and imprisonment for those who violate them, the criminal justice system does little to assist victims of DUI accidents in receiving compensation for injuries or a wrongful death caused by a drunk driver.Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim After a Drunk Driving Accident
The primary means of pursuing damages after a drunk driving accident is through a civil lawsuit based on negligence. A driver may be held liable for damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of spousal consortium in a negligence action if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to the plaintiff and that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages. In wrongful death cases, the estate or family of the decedent may be able to seek damages such as funeral and burial costs, loss of consortium, and lost net earnings to the estate. It is also possible to pursue an award of punitive damages in some negligence lawsuits, if the defendant’s conduct rose to the level of reckless, willful, or wanton.
Ideally, a person or family affected by a DUI crash should retain a drunk driving accident attorney in West Palm Beach to participate in the investigation of the accident as soon as possible so that valuable evidence may be located and gathered prior to litigation. It is also important to retain counsel in time to file the necessary paperwork to comply with Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. (Wrongful death cases have a much shorter statute of limitations than do personal injury claims.) In some cases, an accident victim may need to put their uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance carrier on notice of a possible claim within a certain time period as well.Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in the West Palm Beach Area
Being seriously injured or losing a loved one in an accident is emotionally devastating. It may be difficult to focus on the long term under such circumstances, but often the only way for a family to get back on their feet financially following a tragic accident is to pursue a fair settlement or judgment against the responsible party through a lawsuit. The compassionate West Palm Beach drunk driving accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston understand the difficulties that your family is facing and can help you protect your legal rights. Call us at (772) 266-5555 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer.