While most people understand it is a criminal offense to drive while intoxicated in St. Augustine, it is less well known that drunk drivers may be civilly liable for the damage they cause in a collision. In fact, a criminal conviction for drunk driving may serve as evidence of negligence. However, injured people must file a civil claim in order to recover the compensation to which they are entitled.
After a crash, a St. Augustine drunk driving car accident lawyer could work on your legal claim while you focus on healing. Whether the negligent party was driving a separate vehicle, or the plaintiff was riding in a car while a drunk person was behind the wheel, all injured people have the right to demand compensation. Allow a determined car wreck lawyer to stand by your side and help you recover the compensation you need to heal.
Drunk Driving as Evidence of Negligence
Many car accident cases rely upon a balancing act of the two drivers’ actions to distribute blame for the crash. One major exception to this rule is the concept of negligence per se. This facet of injury cases allows a court to assume that a defendant is at fault for an accident if they violated the law at the time of the incident.
If the defendant driver is arrested by the police for drunk driving following a collision, a plaintiff could use the police report as valuable evidence in a claim for compensation. Even if the defendant driver is convicted by a criminal court, the court cannot order the defendant to compensate the injured party for their losses. Instead, a plaintiff must pursue a separate civil case for recovery. Recovering damages after a drunk driving car accident can be daunting, but attorneys in St. Augustine could investigate and file a claim on a plaintiff’s behalf.
How To Recover Compensation Following A St. Augustine Crash
While demonstrating that drunk driver’s fault plays a major role in any claim for compensation, plaintiffs in a civil claim must also make a full account of losses connected to the collision. A car accident claim aims to financially place a victim in a position as if the wreck never happened. To accomplish this, potential plaintiffs could make a claim for their economic losses. For example, if someone misses time at work or is injured to an extent where they cannot work again, compensation could reimburse these losses. Potential damages could also include compensation for a claimant’s non-economic losses, such as mental anguish or the loss of quality of life.
Finally, all of the medical costs associated with treating the injury may be compensable. The physical injuries suffered by the plaintiff are the core of a claim. In fact, a case cannot move forward unless there is some sort of injury. To qualify, an injury must require medical treatment, though it does not have to be life-threatening. A St. Augustine drunk driving car accident lawyer may suggest someone injured in a car crash consult a medical professional.
However, anyone bringing a claim is subject to state time limits. Even though a criminal case may take over a year to come to a resolution, there is a strict time limit on when the court will hear a civil lawsuit. According to Florida Statute §95.11, plaintiffs have only four years to file a case in court.
Work With a St. Augustine Drunk Driving Car Accident Attorney
A St. Augustine drunk driving car accident lawyer could pursue the compensation you need to heal. They could work to gather evidence related to the car accident, including documentation of drunk driving, and to stay on top of any criminal charges faced by the defendant. Contact an attorney today to learn more, schedule your free consultation, and take the first step towards recovery.