Drunk driving accidents are among the most tragic traffic crashes. They are potentially deadly but entirely avoidable. Impaired driving leads to unnecessary injuries and deaths every year across Florida. DUI car accident victims deserve support while they pursue financial recovery for their losses. An attorney collects evidence to establish your claim and secure your full and fair compensation.
Reach out to a DUI car accident lawyer in Spring Hill, Florida if you or a loved one has experienced injury or loss in a car accident involving an impaired driver.
Florida DUI Law
Each state has laws and penalties regarding driving under the influence. Most laws against impaired driving prohibit drivers from operating a vehicle after ingesting an intoxicant. It is illegal in Florida for any driver to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. Drivers who test positive for alcohol or other substances might have liability for DUI.
Why Is Collecting Evidence After a Florida DUI Case Important?
Gathering evidence in a Florida DUI case is crucial for securing compensation following a crash. The victim doesn't automatically receive a monetary recovery after a car accident. You must prove that the impaired driver was liable for the accident. You will not receive a settlement if you cannot prove the drunk driver is liable for the accident.
A person is liable if they are responsible for causing the accident. Liability is unclear in some cases. An attorney can aid in identifying the evidence necessary to prove the drunk driver's responsibility for causing the accident.
Can Acting Quickly Help My Florida DUI Claim?
Acting quickly after an accident can help strengthen your Florida DUI car accident case. Evidence in DUI cases can deteriorate quickly. For example, police labs might preserve evidence of the impaired driver's blood alcohol concentration for a limited time. The lab may mishandle the specimen, and you can lose access to stored evidence.
Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after a DUI car accident helps protect your legal rights to recovery. For example, the impaired driver's insurance company might contact you quickly after the crash. The insurance company may ask for a statement or offer a settlement to quickly resolve the case. However, a car accident victim should not speak to an insurance company without seeking legal counsel.
What Evidence Should I Collect When Pursuing Compensation for My Florida DUI Case?
Certain evidence helps prove liability in impaired driving cases. Driving under the influence is negligent. An impaired driver may be liable for causing injuries to other travelers. You and your legal team can work together to collect evidence proving your injuries and what caused the accident.
Evidence pertinent to a DUI case can include the following:
- A breathalyzer test
- Blood test
- Infrared light test
- Dashcam footage
- Officer testimony
The above examples are specific to DUI cases. However, some common types of evidence for traffic accident cases are more widely available and can help prove your DUI accident case, too.
Examples of evidence that can support your car accident case include:
- The police report
- Your notes and documentation of the accident
- Traffic cameras
- Eyewitness testimony
- Your medical records and bills
- Documentation of lost income
- Photos of your injuries and property damage
- Recorded statements taken by the insurance company
Trying to collect evidence after a DUI crash might get overwhelming, especially if you try to do it alone. Forming a legal team provides the support of knowledgeable individuals who assist in gathering all the necessary evidence to prove your claim.
Common Signs of Intoxication in Florida DUI Car Accidents
While the listed types of evidence can conclusively establish the other driver's impairment at the time of the crash, there are more ways to determine if the other driver was under the influence of alcohol when they hit your vehicle. Some of the most common signs of intoxication include:
- The smell of alcohol on the driver's breath
- Difficulty standing or stumbling
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
Take notice of any of these signs of intoxication. Speak to your Attorney about the details you noticed regarding the driver's behavior and condition after the crash. Your account of how the accident happened is evidence, so pay close attention and collect details about what you observed.
Keep a Journal About the Florida DUI Car Accident
An accident journal is a good outlet for your emotions after a crash. Jotting down your thoughts can aid in recalling the events leading up to and following the accident. You can use your journal to help document your recovery from your injuries. It can be helpful to include notes on:
- The emotional impact of the accident and how the recovery process is affecting your mood
- Whether your pain is getting better or worse
- Recommended medical treatments and when you completed your treatment plan
- Details about your rehabilitation or physical therapy appointments
How Does a Criminal Case Affect My Florida DUI Civil Lawsuit?
Driving while impaired is a criminal offense in Florida. Under Florida law, an impaired driver can face criminal and civil penalties if they cause injuries to others while under the influence. The outcome of the defendant's criminal case does not directly affect your civil lawsuit against them, though the outcome can help prove your civil claim. Since criminal and civil cases have different burdens of proof, a DUI accident plaintiff can recover civilly even if the driver is not criminally convicted.
The burden of proof in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is a much higher burden of proof than required in civil cases.
The burden of proof in a civil matter is the preponderance of the evidence. In civil cases, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant more likely than not caused the accident that is the subject of the lawsuit.
An experienced DUI car accident attorney will assist in strategizing how to present your case to meet the burden of proof.
The impaired driver's criminal DUI trial can be a valuable source of information that can strengthen your civil claim. Some defendants choose to testify in their defense, for example. Listening to the defendant's firsthand account of the accident can assist in determining if additional evidence is required to support your civil lawsuit.
Fighting Insurance Companies in Florida
Insurance companies sometimes provide adequate settlements to accident victims. However, insurance companies often resist paying out claims to injured people. DUI car accident victims can expect common tactics from insurance companies while their claim is pending.
Examples of strategies that insurance companies use to avoid making large settlement offers include the following:
- Offering fast settlement offers quickly after the accident
- Delaying contact with the accident victim to exhaust them and make it more likely that they will accept an inadequate settlement offer
- Downplaying their insured’s injuries
- Shifting the blame from their insured back to the victim or another potential defendant
An experienced Florida DUI car accident attorney can shield you from these harmful tactics that insurance companies use.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Florida?
What you do after a DUI car accident is important. If you get injured in a DUI car crash, get medical attention. Stick to your treatment plan. Completing your medical treatment plan helps your physical condition and your legal claim. Failing to complete a medical treatment plan can give the insurance company a reason to deny your claim.
Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Creating a legal team quickly after the accident helps protect your legal right to recovery.
How Much Is My Florida DUI Civil Lawsuit Worth?
There is no way to guarantee how much money you will receive in a DUI car accident settlement. However, some factors help attorneys estimate your claim's worth. The following might affect the final value of your claim:
Drunk driving accidents can cause serious injuries that need medical intervention. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you can spend quite a long time in the hospital or require ongoing treatment.
Medical treatment can quickly become extremely expensive. An insurance settlement or lawsuit can assist in covering the healthcare expenses necessary for a full recovery. Keep copies of your medical records and bills. Generally, the greater your final medical expenses are, the greater your final settlement value.
Some injuries are so severe that DUI car accident victims cannot return to work. If your injuries permanently keep you from work, your final settlement should reflect your current and future lost income. You might have lost earning capacity if you cannot return to work at the same rate or in the same industry.
Collect evidence of lost income or earning capacity and share it with your Attorney.
Copies of repair estimates help support your claim to recover the value of your property damages. Keep any receipts for repairs or estimates to help prove property damage.
Mental and Emotional Distress
Florida law allows DUI car accident plaintiffs to recover for their mental or emotional losses after an accident. Maintaining a journal documenting how the accident affects your mood can assist in articulating how the incident has impacted your life.
Unfortunately, impaired driving is sometimes deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37 people die in DUI car accidents nationwide every day. Florida law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death attorney can clarify your rights in this complex area of the law.
How Can a Florida DUI Lawyer Help Me?
An attorney can safeguard your legal rights and assist in financial recovery after a DUI car accident. Your legal team is available to support you as you deal with the stress of pursuing an accident claim.
An attorney and their team will help investigate your claim. Having a legal team ensures that you collect relevant evidence supporting your case and leading to your full financial recovery. An attorney will assist in gathering evidence to establish liability in your DUI car accident case.
Most civil lawsuits get resolved during the negotiation phase. Many car accident victims are inexperienced with negotiations with insurance companies. Without an attorney, victims remain vulnerable to insurance companies and might lose money if they negotiate alone. Having a car accident attorney protects you from accepting a bad deal during settlement negotiations.
Your attorney can offer you legal advice about your rights and overall situation. It is normal to have many questions while your case is pending, and a knowledgeable advocate provides:
- Reliable answers to complex questions
- Ensures your decision about your case is based on sound counsel
- Gives you peace of mind
If the insurance company fails to offer a satisfactory settlement, your case will proceed to trial. Taking your case before a judge or jury can feel overwhelming. Having an attorney equals the playing field.
Contact a Florida DUI Car Accident Attorney Today
An attorney's help after a DUI accident is invaluable. Protecting your legal rights after a DUI accident is crucial, and you can do so with the representation of a skilled lawyer. A local legal team will collect evidence to prove the impaired driver caused your injuries and losses.
If you need guidance or legal representation following an injury or loss in a DUI car accident, contacting a Florida DUI attorney today can offer valuable assistance and support. Consultations are free, so start protecting yourself now by making the call.