Being in a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if it involves injury. When the accident was the fault of another driver, the expenses incurred by the injured party can be recovered in a civil lawsuit. An accident with a drunk driver can make it simpler to recover damages and may extend to other individuals in addition to the driver of the vehicle. If you have been in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, a car accident attorney in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach can answer all your questions and assist in getting the compensation you deserve.
Civil Suits to Recover Damages
When insurance does not cover the damages suffered in an accident such as medical bills, lost wages and other expenses, the injured person may ask for those damages to be awarded in a civil lawsuit. This award may include economic and noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. Even if the individual has insurance coverage in Florida, a civil suit can be filed to recover additional expenses in excess of that coverage. Since Florida insurance has a minimum limit of $10,000, exceeding that value is easy in today’s healthcare system.
Finding Proof of Fault
An individual who is in an accident and suffers injuries due to the actions of a negligent driver has the burden of proving fault. Civil suits rely on the preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower grade of evidence than the proof beyond a reasonable doubt required in criminal cases. If the driver is convicted of a DUI offense related to the accident, this can serve as evidence in a civil suit.
Dram Shop Laws
In Florida, an establishment that sells liquor to a minor or person with an alcohol addiction can be held liable if that person causes an accident while under the influence. While establishments are not always liable for DUI-related accidents, dram shop laws can be used to lodge a lawsuit not only against the drunk driver but the establishment from which the alcohol was purchased. Your attorney can review police records that may provide additional information.
Insurance Company Claims
Once an accident happens, even in a no-fault state such as Florida, expenses are paid up to the limit of your car insurance. However, medical expenses often exceed such limits. Your attorney can assist in filing a claim against the other driver and his or her insurance company for the additional amount, assuming that serious injury occurred. The insurer may be willing to negotiate a settlement if the at fault driver was intoxicated. Your car accident attorney can help with such negotiations, and if the amount is insufficient to meet your expenses, proceed with filing a lawsuit.
Seeing a Doctor
An individual who has been involved in an accident should seek medical care right away. Even a small injury should be evaluated since some injuries do not manifest for several days following the accident. Professional evaluation by a physician or at an emergency room provides you with a record of the injury and helps with both an insurance claim and with a civil lawsuit.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
When injured in an accident caused by another driver, consulting with a car accident attorney right away is a good idea. The law firm of Kaiser Romanello has attorneys experienced in all facets of motor vehicle accidents and can review your case and advise you whether you should seek compensation to pay the expenses associated with the crash. In addition, our attorneys are available for a free case evaluation and to answer any questions you may have.