You are driving and hear the crunch of metal, airbags deploy, and jostled from your seat, with only your seatbelt holding you in place. After the car stops you take a deep breath and start to gather your surroundings. Adrenaline is rushing and your hands start shaking while you try and grab your cell phone. After a moment your breathing starts to get back to normal and you dial 911.
You are sore and your body aches. But you are able to get out of the car and see the impact. The driver who hit you gets out of their truck and you start to exchange insurance information. Immediately, you smell the odor of alcohol on their breath and notice their eyes are bloodshot and watery, while they talk to you with slurred speech.
The police arrive and they begin the exchange of information. While taking your statement you tell them what happened. In fact, you inform them that the other driver may be under the influence of alcohol. The adrenaline in your body subsides after an hour. Then you realize your injuries and you seek medical attention. You wonder, what do I do next?
Unfortunately, this scenario in Florida is more common than you may think. According to the 2016 Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report, 5,223 accidents involved impaired drivers. Many of these accidents involved injuries to people. So what makes drunk driving accidents different?
Difference between recovery for a DUI case compared to a regular auto accident case?
Anyone injured in a car accident is entitled to compensatory damages, regardless of the impairment of the defendant. Compensatory damages reimburse the injured party for loss, including:
- Medical Expenses – Any medical expenses related to your injury.
- Pain and Suffering – If you suffer from physical or mental aftereffects from the accident, such as depression or anxiety, you may be able to receive damages.
- Lost Wages – Your injuries received in the accident prevented you from working.
- Loss of Earning Capacity – The accident prevents you from working the same as you did before the accident, you may recover damages for the difference in potential income.
In Florida, injuries from a car or truck accident involving an impaired driver, you may also be able to receive punitive damages. The intent for punitive damages is as both a punishment for the drunk driver and a deterrent for other drivers.
Florida has said through the legislator and court system that plaintiffs can seek punitive damages in DUI accident cases. Because the act of driving while under the influence shows a “sufficiently reckless attitude.” You can ask a jury to provide an award of punitive damages if it determines liability exists for compensatory damages. Not only does the simple act of driving impaired mean that you can seek punitive damages; laws that limit damages for other negligence cases do not apply to drunk driving accident cases.
Only the defendant is liable for punitive damages, and if the defendant has limited resources then he or she may be unable to pay them. However, the insurance company has a duty to the insured to settle for the policy limits whenever possible and could be found liable for the punitive damages if they act in bad faith to their insured.
How can we help?
The auto accident lawyers at RHINO Lawyers want to help you Take Charge of your injuries and we won’t take less from the insurance company than YOU deserve. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, call us at (844) RHINO-77 for a free consultation. We don’t recover unless you win!
A drunk driver (DUI) injures you or someone you know in an accident in Florida, you need an attorney to fight for you. With these cases, there is more likely a criminal charge, but there are also civil penalties for the driver. This means victims can recover damages from the accident. We sue drunk drivers.
Our auto accident attorneys will fight each case and assist you through the process. We know that DUI accident injuries can be overwhelming and painful, and we are here to help.
At RHINO Lawyers we know that insurance companies want these cases to go away with paying the least amount of money to you as possible. Our personal injury team wants you to take charge and let us help you recover damages and be compensated for any medical bills you have to pay.
While there are similarities between a driving under the influence (DUI) accident case and a regular accident case, there are some differences that affect the value of a DUI accident case.