Did you or a family member suffer injuries in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Clearwater, FL? They may owe you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more. An experienced Clearwater DUI lawyer at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers can help you fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Collectively, our lawyers bring over 50 years of experience to the table. We’ve used that experience and our resources to help injured clients like you recover over $120 million in settlements and verdicts over the years.
Do not wait for the at-fault party to stand up and take responsibility. Call us at (727) 787-2500 or contact our law offices in Clearwater, Florida, to learn more about how our experienced lawyers can fight for you.
How Can Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Help If I Was Injured in a DUI Accident in Clearwater?
Accidents involving drunk drivers can be especially dangerous. If you were injured because of the indefensible decision to drive while intoxicated, an experienced Clearwater personal injury attorney can help you fight for compensation.
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, our founding Attorney, Mark Roman, is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law. Members of our team have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Tampa Bay’s Top Trial Lawyers. We’ve also earned a perfect-10 Avvo rating.
When you trust us to handle the legal issues in your case, we will:
- Gather evidence to prove your case
- Identify all parties who may be financially responsible for your injuries
- Protect you if the drunk driver tries to pin some of the blame on you
- Retain experts who can testify on your behalf
- Determine how much your case is worth
- Handle all insurance negotiations and communications
If you were injured, call our Clearwater personal injury lawyers today. We always offer a free consultation, and we work on a contingency fee basis so that you can hire us even if the accident has placed you in a difficult financial situation.
How Common Are Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida?
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Florida and across the U.S. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 32 people are killed in DUI accidents across the United States each day.
In 2021, 407 people were killed in DUI crashes across the State of Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), another 2,996 people were injured. At least 421 of those injuries were classified as “incapacitating.”
Car accidents involving drugs and alcohol are becoming more dangerous in the Tampa Bay area.
In Pinellas County, the following statistics have been reported:
- 411 alcohol-related crashes in 2021
- 339 alcohol-related accidents in 2020
- 328 alcohol-related crashes in 2019
In 2021, 20 people were killed, and 228 were injured in drunk driving accidents across Pinellas County. At least 45 people were injured, and 16 were killed in accidents where a driver was operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs. A total of 30 crashes involving both drug and alcohol use were reported.
Overview of Florida’s DUI Laws
Under Florida law, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle while above the legal limit. Once the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches 0.08%, law enforcement can presume the driver was impaired. Impaired driving can also be proven by presenting evidence about police observations at the time of the accident.
Drunk drivers can be held accountable under Florida DUI laws. As the victim, you also have the right to seek compensation under Florida personal injury laws. Your personal injury case is filed in civil court and is handled separately from the criminal case.
While criminal courts can punish the drunk driver with fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges, your remedy in civil court is financial compensation.
What Is My Clearwater DUI Accident Case Worth?
Our drunk driving accident attorneys will carefully evaluate the circumstances of your accident and injury when calculating your case value. We examine the merits of each case and never use a cookie-cutter approach to valuation.
This is important. No two injuries are exactly the same. Your injury will impact your life in unique ways. Insurance companies don’t like to acknowledge this and instead will try to compare your accident to similar cases.
Instead, our lawyers will point to the unique facts of your case, including:
- The nature of your injuries
- Whether your doctor expects you to suffer any permanent impairment
- How the injury will impact your future work, education, and quality of life
- The amount of income you lose during your recovery
- The cost of your medical treatment
- The emotional trauma and physical pain caused by the accident
- Whether liability can be clearly established
Drunk and impaired drivers endanger the lives of others whenever they get behind the wheel. If you were injured by a drunk driver, our lawyers in Clearwater are here to help you get justice. We can even bring in experts to help prove more complicated aspects of your case.
If you’re ready to learn more about how much your personal injury claim is worth, call our law firm for a free case review today.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents?
When you file a claim based on drunk or drug-impaired driving, you can seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses.
Examples of the types of compensation you may demand in a DUI case include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future costs, including future medical costs and loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Scarring, disfigurement, and other impairments
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Loss of consortium and other damages for wrongful death in fatal cases
Courts may also award punitive damages in DUI cases. Because the defendant’s actions are intentional and amount to gross negligence, the court may award these damages solely as additional punishment.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Being Blamed for a DUI Accident Under Florida Law?
Even if you can prove the other driver was intoxicated or impaired, you may be blamed for contributing to the accident. All parties who share blame for a crash can be financially responsible for damages in civil court. That’s true even in a DUI case and even if the drunk driver is facing criminal charges.
For example, if the insurance company can prove that you were texting while driving, they may be able to shift some of the blame to you.
Under Florida’s modified comparative fault laws, you won’t lose your right to damages entirely unless your share of fault exceeds 50%.
For example, if you’re found to be 30% responsible, you can still take home 70% of your settlement or verdict. However, if you’re 51% at fault, you will take home nothing.
Drunk Drivers Can Cause Serious and Life-Changing Injuries
Some examples of the types of injuries that DUI accident victims may suffer include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Organ damage
- Catastrophic injuries
When drunk drivers cause fatal accidents, they can also be held accountable for the wrongful death of your loved one.
How Do I Prove That I Deserve Compensation After a DUI Accident in Florida?
Drunk driving is a criminal offense in Florida. It’s also an intentional tort and a type of negligence.
The four elements of a successful negligence claim are:
- The at-fault driver owed you a legal duty of care
- They breached the duty by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- The breach of duty caused the accident
- You sustained damages
Every driver has a legal duty to drive carefully. That includes a duty to obey all traffic laws, including laws prohibiting drunk and impaired driving. Even if you can prove the driver was intoxicated, the insurance company won’t blindly hand over a fair settlement. You must still establish the elements of your case with evidence.
That evidence may include:
- Police reports
- Traffic citations
- Results of the police toxicology tests
- Statements from law enforcement and eyewitnesses
- Video surveillance footage
- Expert witness testimony
- And more
You may also be entitled to compensation even if the drunk driver is not convicted. While prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard of proof in civil cases is lower.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit If I Was Injured in a DUI Accident in Florida?
In Florida, you generally have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, in DUI cases, the two-year statute of limitations can be tolled, or paused, while the defendant resolves any criminal charges.
Note that state law used to give car accident victims four years to file a legal claim. However, the law was revised on March 24, 2023, giving people less time to act. Accordingly, if your DUI accident happened after that date, you’re subject to the two-year deadline.
Two years can seem like a long time. It can take time to build your case. The strongest evidence will be available immediately following an accident. You can take legal action today by calling our Clearwater DUI accident attorneys for a free consultation.
Contact a Clearwater DUI Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Driving while intoxicated is never acceptable. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, call Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers today. An experienced Clearwater DUI accident attorney is ready to offer a free consultation.