Experiencing a drunk driving accident is a harrowing ordeal that no one should have to endure. In the serene community of Wesley Chapel, Florida, such incidents can shatter lives and leave lasting scars. While the legal aspects of these cases are important, it's crucial to remember the human toll they take.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges you may face after such an event. Our commitment is to provide compassionate support and skillful guidance throughout your journey towards justice and healing. We're here to help you navigate these difficult times with confidence and empathy. Call our office at (813) 537-6927 for a free consultation.
Why Choose Hancock Injury Attorneys?
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, or someone you love was killed by an intoxicated driver, contact Hancock Injury Attorneys. Your case is not just another file to us. We provide personalized attention and work closely with you to understand your specific needs and concerns.
Choosing Hancock Injury Attorneys means choosing a dedicated, experienced, and compassionate legal team that will stand by your side during this challenging time. Your well-being and your claim's success are our top priorities.
We have offices in the Wesley Chapel area and are familiar with the local and state regulations that govern impaired driving offenses. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a drunk driving accident can take on victims and their families.
Our drunk driving accident attorneys will fight tirelessly for your rights and to hold the responsible parties accountable. Our team handles each case with empathy and a commitment to seeking justice.
Contact us today. We can help you!
Our Office Location and Headquarters
We serve clients in Tampa, Spring Hill, Wesley Chapel, and throughout central Florida. We have offices in Wesley Chapel at 2224 Ashley Oaks Circle, Suite 102-E, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544. Call the Wesley Chapel office at (813) 537-6927. We also have offices in Tampa at 1317 W Fletcher Ave., Tampa, Florida 33612. You can reach us by phone at the Tampa office at (813) 915-1110.
Drunk Driving by the Numbers
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 7,500 people were killed in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver over nine years.
Alcohol-impaired driving laws make it illegal to drive with a BAC at or above a specified level (0.05 percent or 0.08 percent, depending on the state). For people younger than 21, zero-tolerance laws make it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their systems.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) notes that, nationwide, every 45 minutes someone is killed in a drunk-driving crash, and every 90 seconds someone is injured in a drunk-driving crash.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Under Florida law, both drunk driving and driving under the influence of other substances are generally covered under the same statute. The legal term used is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). It encompasses being impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any controlled substance.
DUI is proved by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of how the offense is proven. Penalties for DUI offenses can vary based on factors like blood alcohol concentration and prior convictions.
Who May be Liable in a Drunk Driving Accident?
In a drunk driving accident, liability can extend to various parties depending on the circumstances.
Here's a brief overview:
- The Impaired Driver: The primary liability often lies with the intoxicated driver who caused the accident. They can face both criminal and civil consequences for their actions.
- Establishments Serving Alcohol: In some cases, the bar, restaurant, or social host that served alcohol to the impaired driver may be held liable under dram shop laws if they knowingly overserved the individual.
- Vehicle Owner: If the impaired driver was using someone else's vehicle, the owner may be liable if they allowed an intoxicated individual to use their car.
- Employers: If the drunk driver was on the job at the time of the accident, their employer might be held responsible in some situations.
- Government Entities: In rare cases, if a poorly maintained road or inadequate signage contributed to the accident, government entities might be held liable.
Consult an experienced drunk driving accident attorney to navigate the intricacies of determining liability and seek justice. The specifics of your personal injury or wrongful death claim may also vary based on the jurisdiction and circumstances of the accident.
If you need further assistance or have specific questions related to a case, consult an experienced Wesley Chapel drunk driving accident lawyer from Hancock Injury Attorneys.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Wesley Chapel DUI Accident Claim?
A lawyer can play a crucial role in helping you with your DUI accident claim. Here's how they can assist:
- Legal Experience: A lawyer has in-depth knowledge of DUI laws and personal injury regulations. They can explain your rights and the legal process in a way that's easy to understand.
- Investigation: Attorneys can gather evidence to support your claim, such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. They may also work with accident reconstruction experts if needed.
- Negotiation: Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure a fair settlement for your medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.
- Filing a Lawsuit: If a settlement is not reached, an attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court. They'll guide you through the legal proceedings and ensure your case is presented effectively.
- Determining Liability: Your lawyer will assess all potentially liable parties, including the drunk driver, any establishments that overserved alcohol, or other entities. They'll pursue claims against those responsible.
- Maximizing Compensation: An attorney's goal is to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you're entitled to, including medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and more.
- Emotional Support: Lawyers offer compassionate support during a challenging time, helping you make informed decisions and providing reassurance.
- Legal Documentation: They'll handle all the necessary legal paperwork, ensuring that deadlines are met, and forms are filled out correctly. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a personal injury or wrongful death claim is typically two years. If you don’t file your claim within the required timeframe, you may lose your right to seek compensation.
- Settlement Reviews: Attorneys will review any settlement offers to ensure they are fair and in your best interest.
- Trial Representation: If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you in court, presenting your case professionally and effectively.
Overall, a lawyer will guide you through the legal process, advocate for your rights, and recover the compensation you deserve for the physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by a DUI accident. Their experience and compassion can make a significant difference in your journey toward recovery and justice.
What Type of Justice Is Available After a Drunk Driving Accident Resulting in Injury or Death?
Seeking justice after a drunk driving injury or fatality is essential to hold those responsible accountable and to provide compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages suffered.
Victims or their families can pursue both criminal and civil avenues to obtain the appropriate legal remedies and closure in the aftermath of such a tragic event.
The state typically initiates criminal proceedings against drunk drivers. If convicted, the offender may face penalties such as fines, probation, license suspension, or incarceration. These actions aim to hold the offender accountable for breaking the law.
In addition to criminal proceedings, victims of drunk driving accidents can seek civil justice through personal injury or wrongful death claims. This allows them to pursue compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If the accident resulted in a fatality, the victim's family may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Some states have "dram shop" laws that hold establishments accountable for overserving alcohol to patrons who later cause accidents. Victims can file lawsuits against bars, restaurants, or social hosts that negligently served alcohol to the impaired driver.
In cases where the drunk driver was on the job at the time of the accident, the employer may be held liable for the employee's actions, opening the possibility of seeking compensation from the employer.
In rare instances, if the accident was partially caused by poor road conditions or inadequate signage, government entities may be held responsible, and victims can seek justice through claims against them.
It's advisable to consult with a qualified attorney to understand the specific legal options available in your jurisdiction.
How Can a Drunk Driving Conviction Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
A drunk driving conviction can have a significant impact on your personal injury claim if you were the victim of a drunk driving accident.
- Evidence of Liability: A drunk driving conviction is strong evidence of the driver's negligence and liability for the accident. It can make it easier to establish fault, which is a crucial element in a personal injury claim.
- Negligence Per Se: In some jurisdictions, a drunk driving conviction can establish "negligence per se." This means that the driver is considered negligent by default because they violated the law by driving under the influence. This can simplify the legal process in proving the driver's fault.
- Insurance Company Attitude: Insurance companies are often more willing to settle claims when their insured party has a drunk driving conviction. The conviction makes it clear that their policyholder was at fault, which can lead to quicker and more favorable settlement negotiations.
- Criminal Penalties: A drunk driving conviction can result in criminal penalties for the driver, such as fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment. These penalties can make the driver more likely to cooperate with the personal injury claim process to avoid further legal consequences.
- Compensation: If you're the victim of a drunk driving accident, a conviction can strengthen your compensation claim. Clear driver liability will make it easier to recover damages for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, a drunk driving conviction can open the door to punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior. Courts are more likely to award them when the driver was convicted of driving under the influence.
Overall, a drunk driving conviction can work in your favor when pursuing a personal injury claim. It bolsters your case by establishing the driver's negligence and makes it more likely to receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
To navigate the legal aspects of your claim successfully, it's advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience handling drunk driving accident cases. They can guide you through the process.
What Compensation Can You Recover for a DUI Accident?
After a drunk driving accident, victims, their families, or the estates of deceased victims may recover three main types of compensation:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for all medical costs related to the accident, including hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and future medical needs.
- Lost Wages: Reimbursement for income lost due to the accident, including past and future earnings, job-related benefits, and potential career advancements.
- Property Damage: Coverage for repairs or replacement of damaged vehicles and personal property.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish experienced because of the accident.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Payment for the reduction in the victim's quality of life or ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
- Loss of Consortium: Damages awarded to a spouse for the loss of companionship, intimacy, and support because of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Wrongful Death Damages (for cases involving a fatality)
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: Compensation for the costs associated with a loved one's funeral and burial services.
- Loss of Financial Support: Recovery for the income and financial contributions the deceased would have provided to their family.
- Loss of Companionship: Damages awarded to surviving family members for the loss of the deceased's companionship, love, and emotional support.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, punitive damages may punish the drunk driver and deter similar behavior. These relatively rare damages typically require a showing of extreme negligence or intentional misconduct.
Drunk driving accident victims and their families should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to assess their unique situation and determine the types and amounts of compensation to pursue in a drunk driving accident case.
Contact Hancock Injury Attorneys
You don't have to navigate this challenging journey alone. We are committed to providing you with the legal guidance and advocacy you need to seek justice and fair compensation.
Choosing Hancock Injury Attorneys means having a dedicated and experienced legal team on your side. Your well-being and the success of your drunk driving accident claim are our focus. We strive to make this difficult journey as smooth as possible, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery while we handle the legal complexities. Let us be your trusted allies in this pursuit.