Feb 13, 2017

What to Do When a Loved One Is Hit by a Drunk Driver

Injuries caused by a drunk driver can lead to criminal charges, especially if injuries are severe.  Even if the injuries to you or loved ones were minor, you should still call an auto accident lawyer to discuss how you may not have a deductible or co-pay on you auto insurance policy for being a DUI victim.  Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent after the initial accident.  Doctors and nurses encounter every day such situations and are trained to ensure all your injuries are accounted for.
Drunk drivers can injure other drivers and passengers.  Driving Under the Influence can also kill pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and passengers. It’s an auto accident lawyer’s job to look at the evidence and help you come up with a game plan to find justice and receive the compensation you deserve.
Who Do Auto Accident Lawyers Sue If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver?
There are cases where the other driver was driving under the influence and fled the scene before the police arrived making it nearly impossible to gather evidence to prove DUI, but if you had an opportunity to notice slurred speech, glassy eyes, alcohol odor, sub-par motor skills, etc., those are observations that help establish your case againt the fleeing DUI driver.
Also, there are cases where the other driver did not flee the scene but the policy took too long to arrive at the crash scene and/or the responding officer did not bother to conduct any sobriety tests.  Either way, your observations can help establish your case against the non-sober driver.
Miami-Dade County is full of bustling cities filled with many different populations and streets.  A car accident lawyer sees a range of cases every year.  Some are more straightforward while others can be more complicated – DUI cases usually tend to be complicated because of all the additional steps that need to be taken to preserve evidence and proffer that the other driver was DUI.  You could sue the driver who hit you or a loved one to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses along the way.  The driver might not be the only liable party, though – you may be able to sue the owner of the car (assuming the owner was not the one driving when the crash occurred).
Dram shop laws can vary by the state. Florida’s laws don’t hold most businesses or individuals selling alcohol liable for injuries caused by a driver. Two common exceptions would be:

Alcohol Being Sold to a Minor: Like other states, Florida requires drinkers to be at least 21 to be served alcohol.  If a bar, tavern, or other establishment sells alcohol to anyone under that age, they may be held liable for damages or some actions later on.  Florida laws could hold sellers and employees strictly liable.  This means a server or others could be liable even if they didn’t know they were serving a minor.  Any seller of alcohol should always use a strict process to check IDs to help prevent DUI accidents.
Alcohol Being Sold to Those Habitually Addicted to Alcohol: Not all establishments know ahead of time.  If someone is known to be addicted to alcohol,  and/or way past a safe amount of consumption, the courts could assign a “foreseeable risk of injury” to the act of serving that person alcohol.  The courts regard them as unable to make responsible decisions about the consumption of alcohol.

Should You Call Your Insurance Company after a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you were in an accident with another driver who was under the influence of alcohol, always seek medical attention first, then contact an attorney that has experience with auto accident cases, the attorney can contact your insurance company on your behalf.  As a no-fault state, Florida requires insurance companies to take care of their customers’ medical bills under PIP coverage.  So as long as you have PIP coverage, they would be expected to fulfill your agreement.  Then you’d be able to make a claim to recover from the DUI person’s insurance company.
What if you only paid for the most basic level of auto insurance coverage?  If you only paid for liability coverage, they wouldn’t be responsible for covering anything aside from PIP coverage for your injuries.  This is when you’d need to work directly with the other party’s insurance company.  An auto accident lawyer can help you with this process to ensure you’re treated fairly by both insurance companies.
What happens if their insurance isn’t enough or they don’t have insurance at all?  Occasionally, this happens leaving the victims to clean up the pieces.  This can be particularly stressful if the injured party is an aging family member or a child.  In these instances, it could be up to family members to talk to lawyers and take care of the paperwork aspects.  An auto accident attorney can streamline the process and help you minimize your stress levels.  What if the worst happens?
An Auto Accident Lawyer in Miami Can Handle Wrongful Death Suits
Sometimes, family members aren’t helping loved ones with the paperwork after an accident with a drunk driver.  Any victim in an auto accident can also be killed in a drunk driving accident.  Driving under the influence establishes a clear pattern of negligence.  If the victim passes away due to the accident, family members can bring a wrongful death suit.
This could include damages for medical bills and other elements you might find in a personal injury case.  A personal injury attorney might ask for wages lost, amongst other things.  In a wrongful death suit, this would extend further to account for all the income lost up until expected retirement.  Depending on certain factors, you might also sue for pain and suffering and the loss of guidance minor children might receive from a parent.
You could be in Miami Beach, Brickell, or another part of Miami-Dade – wherever you are, always call an auto accident lawyer if you or a loved one was injured in a car accident (especially if it was caused by a drunk driver).  We can help you with anything from minor injuries to the death of loved ones in the accident.  For help with your case against a drunk driver, click here and work with Nunez Law.