Drunk driving continues to be a problem in Florida. In 2018, over 800 deaths were caused by drunk driving. In 2019, drunk driving caused 916 deaths. Florida law allows injury victims and their relatives to initiate legal action against drunk drivers and other at-fault parties after an accident. Drunk driving accidents vary in severity, so whether you can initiate legal action will depend on several factors.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, depending on the details of your case, you take legal action against:
- The driver who caused your injury (the at-fault driver)
- The driver’s insurance company
- Any establishment that served alcohol to an at-fault driver. This legal action is known as a dram shop claim, and the claim is strengthened if you can prove the at-fault driver was over-served. If the at-fault driver was inebriated and the establishment continued to serve them, you can sue them for contributing to the cause of the crash that caused your injury.
What is the process for taking legal action after a drunk driving accident?
It’s not easy to just sue someone you think is at fault in the drunk driving accident that caused you or your loved one’s injuries. Filing a lawsuit in a drunk driving accident requires proof that the drunk driver caused the accident. The police officer who arrives at the scene handles this task. The evidence gathered at the scene will help to establish fault, but the presumed at-fault driver will have an attorney whose job is to refute all the evidence presented. The level of difficulty in bringing a lawsuit in this type of case is why injured victims and their families should seriously consider hiring an attorney immediately. Hiring an attorney early means you will have more time to develop a strategy and begin investigating the crash as soon as possible.
Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Accidents
If injury victims or their families plan to file a lawsuit, it’s important to note there is a statute of limitations regarding drunk driving accidents. Victims or their families will file lawsuits in the county where the accident occurred, and there are two important dates to remember:
- If the accident was non-fatal, the injured victim and their families must file any civil lawsuits within four years from the date of the crash.
- If the accident caused a fatality, the victim’s family must file their wrongful death lawsuit no later than two years from the date of the fatality.
- Typically, the lawsuit is filed in the county where the accident occurred.
Lawsuits in these types of cases seek financial compensation to offset accident-related expenses, both short and long-term expenses. It’s important to put the losses suffered into perspective, so when an attorney is working on your case, they can represent the depth of injuries suffered in the accident.
Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys at Mitchell & West LLC
When you’re ready to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in a drunk driving accident, it’s important to remember that each case is different. The approach to one case will not be the same as the one used in another. At Mitchell & West LLC, our attorneys have more than a century of combined experience helping clients navigate legal issues. If you or your family member was injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, call today at (305) 783-3301. We will schedule a consultation to review the details of your case.