Drinking and driving is never an acceptable situation, but the truth is it happens all over Florida every day. Many of these drunk drivers cause accidents that are not just costly in terms of property damages, but are also costly — or deadly — in terms of physical injuries.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk driving accident, contact the Fort Walton car accident lawyers at Powell, Powell & Powell. Our experienced attorneys are available to help you file a claim after a drunk driving accident.
Why You Need Your Own Car Accident Lawyer
After a drunk driving accident, the county prosecutor will usually file criminal charges against the drunk driver. These charges pertain to the fact that the drunk driver is accused of breaking the law by drinking and driving, committing traffic violations or hurting or killing someone.
The prosecutor files criminal charges only. He or she does not seek to obtain compensation for victims. By hiring your own car accident lawyer, you are able to pursue damages for losses arising from the accident.
These may include economic damages, past and future medical expenses, including emergency services, pharmaceutical costs, rehabilitation and in-home care after the accident, and lost wages and earnings.
Losses may also include non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of consortium or companionship. In certain cases, the court may award victims punitive damages, which are punishment for egregiously negligent or malicious behavior.
If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This may entitle you to medical expenses, any economic support you lost, funeral expenses and more.
The expenses add up quickly — often hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars — and the prosecutor does not deal with any of them. Only your civil attorney can help you obtain this compensation.
Dram Shop Laws in Florida
While your attorney will almost certainly go after the drunk driver in a personal injury or wrongful death case, that is not the victim’s only recourse. In certain instances, Florida allows for victims to bring claims against a dram shop or place that served alcohol to the drunk driver.
The victim of a drinking and driving accident can go after the bar, hotel, restaurant or other licensed establishment if the establishment served alcohol to a minor or continued to serve alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person or someone who showed alcohol addiction or was a known alcoholic. The establishment may end up being responsible for all or part of the victim’s losses.
Dram shops usually carry extensive insurance to protect against these kinds of lawsuits. An experienced attorney knows how to fight the dram shop’s insurers to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you have suffered car accident injuries arising from a drunk driver, please contact our law firm as soon as possible so we can help you pursue justice in civil court too.