The horrors of drunk driving cannot be overstated. Drunk driving accidents injure or kill many people in the Tampa area each year, leaving victims devastated and having to cope with their injuries and losses.
If a drunk driver caused an accident that injured you or killed a close family member in Tampa, you need to know how you can obtain compensation from the at-fault party and hold them accountable. Speaking with a drunk driving accident lawyer in Tampa is vital to ensuring you protect your rights and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
The Tampa drunk driving accident lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys have more than 30 years of experience handling drunk driving accident claims in Tampa and throughout Florida. We can review your claim at no cost and advise you of your options. You can also count on us to fight hard to hold the drunk driver liable for your injuries and losses and improve your chances of getting the fair compensation you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Why Choose Hancock Injury Attorneys to Handle Your Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Claim
Choosing Hancock Injury Attorneys to handle your Tampa drunk driving accident claim means selecting a legal team with a proven record of compassion, experience, and success in advocating for victims of such incidents. Here are compelling reasons to entrust us with your case:
- In-Depth Legal Knowledge: Our team has extensive experience handling personal injury cases, including drunk driving accident cases. We possess in-depth knowledge of Florida's laws, regulations, and legal precedents related to these cases, ensuring you receive skilled guidance tailored to the unique aspects of your situation.
- Proven Track Record: Hancock Injury Attorneys has a history of successfully securing compensation for victims of drunk driving accidents. Our dedication to achieving favorable outcomes for our clients is reflected in the settlements and verdicts we have obtained over the years.
- Compassionate Advocacy: We understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges you face after a drunk driving accident. Our attorneys approach each case with empathy, providing compassionate support to help you navigate the legal process while focusing on your well-being.
- Thorough Investigation: Building a strong case requires a thorough investigation. Hancock Injury Attorneys are committed to uncovering all relevant facts, working with accident reconstruction experts, and gathering evidence to strengthen your claim.
- Negotiation Skills: We are skilled negotiators who will aggressively pursue a fair settlement on your behalf. Our attorneys have a history of successful negotiations with insurance companies, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Trial Experience: While many cases are resolved through negotiation, we are prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. Our attorneys have the experience and courtroom skills to present a compelling case before a judge and jury, fighting for your rights and seeking justice.
- Client-Centered Approach: At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we prioritize open communication and collaboration. You are not just a case number; you are an individual who deserves personalized attention. We keep you informed at every step, addressing your concerns and answering your questions.
- No Fees Unless You Win: We understand the financial strain that can accompany a personal injury case. To alleviate this burden, we operate on a contingency fee basis. You pay no attorney fees unless we successfully recover compensation for you.
When you choose Hancock Injury Attorneys, you choose a dedicated legal partner committed to achieving the best possible outcome for your Tampa drunk driving accident claim. Let us advocate for your rights and pursue the justice you deserve. Contact us online or call us at (813) 590-0145 for a free case evaluation.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive from a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
In a Tampa drunk driving accident claim, you may be eligible to receive various types of compensation to address the physical, emotional, and financial impact of the incident. The specific types of compensation can vary based on the circumstances of the case and the laws of the jurisdiction, but common types of compensation include:
- Medical Expenses: Coverage for all past and future medical treatment related to the injuries sustained in the accident. This includes hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and therapy costs.
- Property Damage: Compensation for the repair or replacement of damaged property, such as a vehicle involved in the accident.
- Lost Wages: Reimbursement for income lost due to time away from work during recovery. You may also receive compensation for diminished earning capacity if the injuries result in a long-term impact on the ability to work.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages to compensate for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall impact on the victim's quality of life.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy suffered by the victim's spouse or family members due to the injuries.
- Wrongful Death Damages: In cases where a drunk driving accident leads to a fatality, compensation may be available to cover funeral and burial costs.
- Punitive Damages: In some jurisdictions, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party for their reckless or intentional conduct, acting as a deterrent to others.
The availability and limits of compensation can vary based on state laws and the specific circumstances of the case. Working with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Tampa can help you understand the types of compensation you may be eligible for and ensure that your claim is properly evaluated and pursued.
How Do I Prove the Driver Who Caused the Tampa Accident Was Drunk?
Proving that the driver who caused the accident was drunk typically involves gathering and presenting evidence that demonstrates the driver's impairment due to alcohol. It’s best to rely on an attorney to help you, as the process is complex and requires the skills and resources only an attorney can provide.
Some of the ways a lawyer can help you prove the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the Tampa accident include:
- Getting the Police Report: The police report is a crucial document that often contains information about the responding officers' observations, field sobriety tests conducted, and any preliminary breath tests administered at the scene. If the driver was arrested for DUI, this information may be included in the report.
- Obtaining Breathalyzer or Blood Test Results: Results from breathalyzer or blood tests conducted by law enforcement can provide definitive evidence of the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If the driver was arrested for DUI, these test results should be part of the police report. Keep in mind that the admissibility of these tests may be subject to certain legal standards and procedures.
- Collecting Witness Statements: Eyewitnesses at the scene may have observed the driver's behavior, including signs of intoxication. Their statements can be valuable in establishing the driver's impairment. Be sure to obtain contact information for any witnesses who may be willing to provide statements or testify and share them with your lawyer.
- Obtaining Video Footage: If available, video footage from traffic cameras, surveillance cameras, or even dashcams of other vehicles can be powerful evidence. Your attorney can subpoena video evidence that may capture the driver's behavior, such as swerving, erratic driving, or difficulty maintaining balance.
- Getting Statements from the Driver: Your attorney can help get statements made by the driver at the scene or afterward, admitting to drinking or feeling impaired. This can be important evidence and can include statements to law enforcement officers, medical personnel, or even social media posts.
- Obtaining Medical Records: If the driver sought medical attention following the accident, medical records may indicate intoxication. Healthcare providers often document any signs of impairment, such as the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or erratic behavior. Your attorney can help you gather these documents.
- Presenting Official DUI Charges: If law enforcement formally charges the driver with DUI, the charging documents and court records can serve as evidence of the driver's alleged intoxication. Your lawyer will have the means to get these documents as well.
An attorney experienced in drunk driving accident claims can help gather, evaluate, and present this evidence effectively to support your personal injury claim. Additionally, they can navigate any legal challenges related to the admissibility and reliability of the evidence.
Can I Pursue Compensation Even If the Drunk Driver Is Never Convicted of DUI?
Yes, you can pursue compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident even if the drunk driver is never convicted of DUI (Driving Under the Influence). The outcomes of criminal and civil cases are separate, and one does not necessarily depend on the other. Here's how it typically works:
Criminal and Civil Cases
Criminal Case: In a criminal case, the state prosecutes the drunk driver for violating DUI laws. A conviction in criminal court requires the prosecutor to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. However, criminal cases might not result in a conviction for various reasons, including lack of evidence, procedural issues, or legal defenses.
Civil Case: A civil case is a separate legal proceeding brought by the victim (or their representative) against the at-fault party to seek compensation for damages. The burden of proof in civil cases is lower than in criminal cases; it typically requires a preponderance of evidence, which means showing that it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable for the injuries.
Evidence in a Civil Case
While a DUI conviction can serve as strong evidence in a civil case, it is not a strict requirement. The victim can still pursue compensation by presenting other evidence that demonstrates the driver's negligence or fault. This evidence may include eyewitness statements, accident reconstructions, medical records, and toxicology reports.
Insurance Company Involvement
Often, compensation in personal injury cases, including those involving drunk driving accidents, comes from the at-fault party's insurance coverage. Whether or not the driver is convicted of DUI, the victim can file a claim with the driver's insurance company.
Civil Liability Standard
The civil liability standard focuses on whether the defendant's actions (negligence or recklessness) contributed to the victim's injuries. It is a separate legal process that allows victims to seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.
It's important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can assess the specifics of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you pursue compensation. The Tampa drunk driving attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys will gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Dram Shop Cases
The Dram Shop Law in Florida says someone who knowingly serves a person “habitually addicted” to alcohol can be liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from that person’s drunkenness. This is called “Dram Shop” Liability. These cases are very difficult to prove and are usually lengthy, and a battle. To hold an establishment liable you generally have to prove:
- The establishment sold the person alcohol
- The establishment continued to sell alcohol while the person was drunk
- and sometimes prove, the establishment knew the person was driving
In most jurisdictions, dram shop liability laws extend only to protect third parties, not the drunk driver themselves, for example, a family member or spouse. In a story that is close to home, Max Holloway, 26, a former star football player at Jefferson High School lost control of his Dodge Charger, veered off the road and crashed into a house. Holloway died from his injuries. His parents have filed a lawsuit against Panini’s Bar and Grill in Lutz as they believe the restaurant is to blame. Holloway was a frequent customer; the lawsuit claims employees knew he was addicted to alcohol, but served him anyway.
How Long Do I Have to File a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit in Tampa?
Florida’s statute of limitations allows you two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the driver in civil court. If you don’t have an attorney file your lawsuit within that time, you will lose any legal recourse you have to get the compensation you need. Some exceptions can extend the time you have to file, but you need to contact an attorney right away. Evidence can disappear or witnesses’ memories may fade. Contact a Tampa drunk driving attorney right away to discuss your options for free and begin the process.
Contact A Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer:
Drunk driving is a serious public safety and health issue, and the problem is on the rise. For victims of drunk drivers, it is important to know that you have rights and are entitled to compensation for the damages you have sustained. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, speak to a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and help you protect your rights.