To start off with the answer to your question, yes, you can sue a drunk driver in Florida if you sustained damages and injury from their negligent driving. But, of course, it’s more complicated than – yes, you can sue them. With close to 30% of all fatal car accidents caused by drunk driving, the question of can you sue drunk drivers is a serious one. With the high rate of drunk driving car fatalities, it’s not surprising so many drivers are seeking solutions for how to respond to this threat. If you are involved in a drunk driving crash, and you survive, you may have suffered injuries, loss of income, and property damage to your vehicle. Drunk driving car accidents aren’t the same as regular car accident claims. For starters, you will need to prove your assumptions are the truth of what happened. Just because you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver doesn’t mean they caused the accident. Since the intoxication of the driver isn’t enough proof the accident was their fault, this is integral to your case.
Because establishing negligence is paramount, hiring an attorney with experience litigating this type of personal injury claim is a must. Your case will be established using details of the accident, like whether the intoxication was the cause of the accident and the exact blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of the driver. Your attorney can help investigate the details of your case and find out if the driver has prior drunk driving charges. If the drunk driver has multiple prior drunk driving convictions, this and other details can directly impact the damages in your case. Based on the BAC of the drunk driver, they could also face criminal charges – especially if the accident caused severe injury or death.
Civil vs. Criminal Drunk Driving Case
Civil claims against a drunk driver are not connected to the criminal case that could be initiated by the prosecutor based on the evidence from the accident. The civil claim is about making the drunk driver pay damages for property they destroyed or injuries they caused due to their negligent driving. A criminal driving while intoxicated or drunk driving case is not about making the injured parties whole. It’s about accountability and punishing the drunk driver for breaking the law. This is a purposeful and good thing. The focus shouldn’t be splintered because no one would be served by that inability to do both jobs well. Having both cases happen simultaneously won’t hurt your civil case if you’re planning to file against the drunk driver. For those with drunk driving charges however, this can be a nightmare situation.
Filing a Wrongful Death Suit after a Drunk Driving Accident
If the personal injury case is not for you but for a loved one who died because of drunk driving negligence, you can file a wrongful death claim. This type of personal injury is done on behalf of the decedent. The estate or family of the deceased party would file based on the losses incurred from the loss of their family member, including funeral and burial costs, loss of income contributions, and emotional toll. If you or a loved one was involved in a serious accident because of a drunk driver in Florida, don’t let the medical bills or loss of income go unanswered. You deserve to be made whole from your losses. Don’t wait; Florida has a two-year statute of limitation period for wrongful death claims.
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