Drunk drivers are responsible for nearly 30 traffic fatalities—and many more injuries—across the United States every single day. If you were struck by an impaired motorist, you’re probably wondering how to hold him or her accountable. Thankfully, as long as you meet Florida’s serious injury threshold, you should be able to take action by filing a personal injury claim.
Let’s take a look at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about building a strong claim so yours has the best chance of success:
1. How Can I Prove the Motorist Who Struck Me Was Impaired at the Time?
Proving liability for a drunk driving accident is two-fold. You must first prove that the motorist was, in fact, impaired. Then, you must demonstrate how his or her negligence caused the crash.
Evidence that may prove the former includes toxicology results, police reports, and eyewitness statements. Receipts and/or surveillance recordings from establishments that served the driver prior to his or her getting behind the wheel may also help. And if the motorist happens to have a history of drunk driving, that will contribute to your case, as well.
As for proving the collision wouldn’t have happened but for his or her negligence, your legal team may use photographs of the wreckage, statements from accident reconstruction experts, dash cam footage, and black box data.
2. What Kinds of Damages Should I Be Tracking in the Wake of the Accident?
In order to pursue a payout, you’ll have to prove that you incurred actual damages as a result of the crash. As such, you’ll want to save all receipts, invoices, bills, and paystubs that correspond to your monetary losses. It’s also wise to start a personal injury journal in which you write about your recovery and the everyday challenges you now face—i.e. your non-monetary losses—because of the accident.
If you’re wondering about specific damages, depending on the circumstances, Florida allows for the recovery of:
- Medical expenses;
- Reasonably necessary replacement services;
- Home and vehicle modifications;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earnings;
- Property repairs;
- Ongoing rehabilitation;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment in life; and
- Pain and suffering.
3. Can I Seek a Punitive Award?
Most car accident claims do not warrant punitive damages; however, it could be argued that getting behind the wheel while impaired constitutes gross negligence. As such, there are cases in which drunk driving accident victims manage to secure a punitive award in addition to the standard compensatory damages.
Call (727) 821-1500 to Speak with a Car Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg
At Emerson Straw PL, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that unanticipated injuries can take on the whole family. If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless driver, we can help you gather the evidence needed to pursue fair compensation.
Our resourceful team has recovered more than $27 million for clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call (727) 821-1500 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.