One of the unfortunate realities of driving or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle is that no matter how safe and careful you are, you cannot protect yourself from certain wrongful acts committed by other drivers. Despite it being common knowledge how dangerous it is to drive while under the influence of alcohol, many people continue to do it, and the physical, emotional, and emotional fallout for innocent victims can be horrible and life-changing.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, call Kogan & DiSalvo today to start fighting for justice. Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your claim in a free consultation.
Some of the more common types of drunk driving accidents include the following:
- Rear-end accidents
- T-bone crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
- Wrong way crashes, such as when the drunk driver may drive the wrong way on a street or freeway
Drunk driving accident victims are often seriously injured, and some of these injuries may even be life-changing or fatal. Common injuries suffered in drunk driving crashes include:
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- Broken or fractured bones
- Internal injuries
- Damage to ligaments
- Organ damage
- Neck, spinal cord, and back injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other head injuries
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
If you are seriously hurt in a drunk driving crash, the legal system cannot do anything to undo the accident, but it does provide recourse for you to recover financial compensation in order to adjust – as best as possible – to your new reality that was necessitated by the accident. Here are some common types of damages that you may pursue following a drunk driving crash:
- All medical bills, which includes transportation to the hospital by ambulance or helicopter, emergency room visits, hospital stays, doctor appointments, x-rays and imaging, procedures and surgeries, prescription medication, physical therapy, psychological therapy, occupational therapy, assistive devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, or canes, modifications to your home to accommodate your newfound disability, and in-home care.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Lost wages cover the income and benefits that you lost due to not being physically, emotionally, or mentally capable of returning to work. Loss of earning capacity covers the gap between what you would likely have earned in the future had you not been disabled and what you will actually earn in the future now that you have suffered this injury. For example, if you were the president of a company earning $200,000 prior to the accident, but suffered a severe TBI and can no longer function the same mentally or cognitively, you may be relegated to a clerical position earning $40,000 a year. In this example, the loss of earning capacity category of damages would pay you $160,000 a year to make up for the difference.
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Knowing and understanding your legal rights is crucial if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident. While the legal system does provide you an opportunity to pursue financial compensation, there are limits as to how long you have in which to file your claim – referred to as the statute of limitations. You may forfeit all legal rights to your claim if you fail to meet this deadline.
Please note that there are occasional exceptions to the statute of limitations that may grant you additional time, and an experienced Stuart drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to inform you as to whether or not any of these exceptions apply to your case.
- if the victim survived the crash, then he or she has two years from the date of the accident in which to file a negligence claim.
- If the drunk driving accident in Florida was a fatal accident, then his or her family has two (2) years from the date of the victim’s death to file a lawsuit.
While you may not feel much urgency to act because two years seems like a long time, our lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo strongly suggest consulting with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney as soon as physically possible following the accident. This is because much of the strongest evidence needed to build your case may disappear or lose value the longer you wait.
For example, the skid marks created by your crash in Martin County may be paved over a month later, or eyewitnesses to your accident may not recall the collision quite as clearly or even become unreachable the longer you wait.
The right Stuart car accident lawyer can play a crucial role in helping you maximize the amount of financial compensation that you receive for your DUI accident in Florida. However, there are also several steps that you can take in the immediate aftermath of the crash that can make a significant difference in the ultimate outcome of your case:
- If you are physically capable of doing so, call the police and ensure that an accident report is filed.
- Seek medical attention as soon as you can, even if you feel healthy. Some injuries will only surface once your adrenaline wanes, while others may not surface until multiple days later.
- Take pictures of anything you can think of that may help you build your case, such as your injuries, the other driver’s injuries, any property damage caused, the exact location of the accident, the weather, traffic, and road conditions at the time of the crash, and the area surrounding the scene of the collision.
- Document the contact information of anyone who witnessed any part of the accident.
- Schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
- Make sure not to accept any settlement offers from the insurance company prior to your consultation with an attorney, as these are often lowball offers that are far below the true market value of your claim.
- Do not post any updates, pictures, or videos regarding the accident, your injuries, or your claim on social media. Make sure that no one else posts any updates, pictures, or videos that discuss these topics or may call into question the severity of your injuries.
- For the duration of your lawsuit, assume at all times that you are being followed and recorded by a private investigator, and live your life accordingly. For example, if you claim that you have seriously injured your spinal cord in the crash and a private investigator photographs you jogging in the park, that could significantly undermine the financial value of your claim.
Some victims of drunk driving accidents who contact our attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo express concern about their ability to recover financial compensation because they may have been partially responsible for the crash. For example, the drunk driver may have plowed into you after running a red light, but you may have been texting while driving.
Florida is a modified comparative negligence state, so you can still recover financial compensation as long as you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Your total damages will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For example, if you suffered $1 Million worth of damages and were found to have been 35 percent at fault for the crash, you would still recover $650,000.
At Kogan & DiSalvo, we fully understand how important your case is to the well-being of you and your loved ones, and we treat it as such. Your case requires individualized attention, hard work, and rigorous preparation, and that is what we do on behalf of every single client of ours as we pursue justice and full financial compensation.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident here in Stuart, call us today to schedule a zero-cost consultation. Because our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, nothing comes out of our clients’ pockets unless they win their case.