Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

June 16, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Helping Victims Find Justice

If you experienced serious injuries or lost a close loved one due to a drunk driver, contact the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today. The Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers on our team can help you through this difficult time.

Our law firm cannot lead your fight for criminal justice against a drunk driver. We can, however, make sure you get the professional, responsive legal support you need to champion your fight for monetary compensation. We will handle evidence collection, party-to-party communication, and settlement negotiations. We will not hesitate to take your case to court to secure an appropriate financial award.

Why Drivers Continue to Drink and Drive

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 30 people die in alcohol-related crashes every day in the United States. With millions of licensed drivers and visitors, encountering a drunk driver on a Florida highway or city street is a real possibility.

In fact, 24 people died in Fort Lauderdale-area drunk driving accidents in a recent year, and in another year, another 238 sustained injuries. Drugged driving has killed as many as ten a year in the Fort Lauderdale area, with a combination of drugs and alcohol killing as many as ten more a year.

Most people understand the dangers of drinking and driving due to public safety campaigns and strict laws. However, for many, getting behind the wheel is a preferred option rather than having a designated driver or using Uber, Lyft, or a taxi. 

Choosing to ignore or attempt to invalidate other safe transport home options is inexcusable.

Drivers use many excuses for choosing to drink and drive, but there are no valid reasons. Whether they live around the corner, do not want to ask for a ride, or do not believe an accident will happen, drivers who choose to drive while intoxicated place others at risk for harm.

Researchers cite a common theme for studies regarding drinking and driving. The chemical effects of alcohol on the brain can create a sense of feeling invincible. As a result, the brain falsely believes that nothing can or will happen due to drinking and driving.

Our law firm is passionate about holding drunk drivers responsible for their negligent choices. A message is sent that lets the driver know there are consequences for their actions. In addition to ensuring you are not forced to pay out of your pocket because of another person's actions, assigning financial liability to the at-fault driver might also discourage additional events of drinking and driving, which will keep roads safe for every driver. 

The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Florida is 0.08 percent or higher. However, according to data from the NHTSA, alcohol can begin to negatively affect the body at a BAC percentage level of 0.02 percent.

Before the BAC level reaches the legal limit, the following may start to impair a driver's ability to control their vehicle:

  • 0.02 percent: The driver may experience a decline in vision and the ability to perform multiple tasks at once.
  • 0.05 percent: The driver may experience difficulty steering, reduced coordination, and reduced response to emergencies.

If you experience serious injuries due to a drunk driver in a Fort Lauderdale accident, hire a drunk driving accident attorney to represent you. The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA understand Florida law regarding drunk driving. The details of your case are very important, and the time for pursuing legal action is short. Upon carefully reviewing your case, we can determine the best course of action for you.

Underage Drinking and Driving

Receiving a Florida driver's license is an important milestone in life. But unfortunately, peer pressure and the desire to impress friends can lead to dangerous decisions behind the wheel for underage drivers.

According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, more than 16 percent of teen drivers throughout the nation admit to riding with a driver who had been drinking within the last month. Driver inexperience combined with alcohol results in a dangerous outcome for both the teens and other drivers. Despite Florida's zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving, the desire for acceptance can outweigh a teen driver's observance of the law.

If you encountered a drunk teen driver and the accident left you with serious injuries, take action. Depending upon the seriousness of your injuries, you may face a long recovery and have a permanent disability. Your need for medical care may continue throughout your lifetime.

A drunk driving accident can affect your career and your relationships. If your trip to the store, work, or to visit friends left you seriously injured due to the actions of a drunk driver, the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA could help you. Let us put our experience as personal injury lawyers to work for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Common Types of Serious Car Accident Injuries

When a drunk driver loses control of their vehicle, the impact can leave you seriously injured. Common types of serious car accident injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury – A severe brain injury can disrupt the ability to think, move, and affect behavior and emotions. Your once vibrant loved one may now experience depression and exhibit outbursts of anger. A severe injury can affect the ability to see, hear, and even taste, making it impossible for an injured individual to enjoy their favorite foods.
  • Spinal cord injury – Victims experience reduced or loss of sensation and movement at or below the point of injury. A spinal cord injury is a catastrophic injury that often requires a power chair for mobility, home modifications, and other expenses. The costs associated with a spinal cord injury can reach millions of dollars throughout the patient's lifetime.
  • Broken bones – The type of break can determine the length of recovery, the need for physical therapy, and possible future surgeries. Multiple broken bones can affect your ability to bathe, dress, and fix a meal, requiring daily and costly personal care.
  • Internal injuries – Internal injuries often exhibit no visible signs or symptoms, yet some cases may result in death if left untreated. Internal bleeding is especially dangerous and requires a diagnosis by a medical professional.

No matter what type of injury you experience, your life may never return to the way it was before the accident. No one leaves home expecting to wake up in a hospital bed.

If your loved one experienced a severe injury like a traumatic brain injury, they might need continuous care. Unfortunately, the decision to place your loved one in a skilled nursing facility is not easy or inexpensive. The average nursing home cost of more than $8,000 per month may exceed what you can afford.

The financial stress of a serious drunk driving accident immediately impacts your life. Anxiety regarding your bills is understandable, from medical transport to the hospital to time missed from work. However, your medical costs and household bills will not wait, and neither should you.

Depending upon the details of your case, you may qualify for compensation that can help ease your financial stress. The Florida statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is four years. This may seem like a long time; however, it can pass quickly as you deal with and adjust to your injuries.

Reviewing evidence of the drunk driving accident that caused your injuries takes time. The sooner we can review police reports, witness statements, and accident scene photos, the sooner we can determine liability. The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA work hard to prepare your case for the best outcome possible. Learn more about how we can help you by calling us now.

Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents

Not everyone survives an encounter with a drunk driver. If you lost a close loved one due to the reckless actions of a drunk driver, you might be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Each wrongful death case is different; however, types of compensation typically awarded include:

  • Final medical costs for the decedent
  • Funeral, burial, or memorial service costs
  • Loss of income and potential future earnings
  • Loss of companionship

Expenses like medical bills and funeral costs are relatively easy to understand when awarding damages. However, if your case goes to trial, juries generally have a more difficult time relating to the monetary value of the loss of companionship. Often referred to as non-economic damages, these particular types of damages require the skills of a personal injury lawyer with trial experience.

These are just a few examples of possible compensation for your loss. While nothing can replace your loved one, financial compensation can help ease your financial stress during this difficult time. 

At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand the impact of the loss of a close family member. That is why we treat our clients with the utmost respect and compassion. If your loved one died due to the negligence of a drunk driver while traveling in Fort Lauderdale, we could help you pursue justice.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. Twenty-four months can pass very quickly as you deal with your grief. In addition, a drunk driving accident attorney can handle the details of your case, so you have one less burden.

Receiving the news that a drunk driver killed your loved one is devastating. It is infuriating to learn that their death was preventable, had the driver called a friend instead. The choice to drive drunk has deadly consequences that may result in legal action. Contact our law office today to learn if you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Insurance Companies and Your Best Interests

An initial settlement from an insurance company may seem like the answer to your financial problems. Most insurance companies offer a low-dollar settlement to victims to close their claims quickly. The insurance company's primary goal is to settle for the least amount possible.

Signing and accepting an insurance settlement without legal representation is a bad idea. However, should you accept the offer, it may prevent you from pursuing a civil case later if your medical condition worsens.

We know insurance companies' tactics to deny or delay paying the compensation you deserve. However, we firmly negotiate for a fair settlement, and if necessary, we are ready to go to trial. 

We are not afraid to take on insurance companies of any size and opposing lawyers. As personal injury lawyers, we fight for the rights of accident victims. We believe no one should pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses that result from the negligent actions of a drunk driver.

Trying to negotiate with an insurance company on your own can leave you without the funds necessary for your care. Leave the negotiations to our team and relax knowing that someone is at work protecting your best interests.

Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Accident Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

In Florida, 2.1 percent of adults report driving after drinking too much within the past 30 days. Driving under the influence can make it very difficult for drivers to control their vehicles and increase accident risk, not to mention making accidents more serious when they do occur. Drunk drivers may struggle to respond appropriately to potential hazards or have reflexes slowed by the alcohol they have consumed. In addition, a high blood alcohol content in a driver who causes an accident can mean more severe injuries for the victim.

If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident attorney to get answers to specific questions about your claim.

How does the Other Driver's Blood Alcohol Content Affect My Accident Claim?

The other driver's BAC likely will not change your claim results. A personal injury claim is based on your losses related to the accident: your medical expenses, your lost wages due to your inability to work, and the pain and suffering you experienced due to your injuries.

However, a drunk driver can have a significant impact on the outcome of the accident, which may increase the compensation you receive.

  • A drunk driver may clearly show fault in the accident. However, it can prove challenging to determine precisely which driver was at fault in some accidents. On the other hand, a drunk driver clearly bears fault in an accident caused by erratic driving behaviors.
  • Victims of drunk driving accidents may have worse injuries. Due to the impact of alcohol on the mind and body, a drunk driver may lack the ability to control his vehicle safely. As a result, he may behave erratically on the road, making it difficult for you to predict his behavior and respond appropriately. Equally dangerous, the drunk driver may struggle to bring his vehicle to a stop or avoid an accident. Many victims suffer more severe injuries due to the drunk driver's inability to stop or redirect the car in an accident.

Talk to an attorney if you suspect that the other driver in your accident had a high blood alcohol content at the time of the accident, even if you suspect that the police did not charge the driver with drunk driving.

I Suffered Injuries in an Accident with a Driver I Know Had a High BAC at the Scene, But the Police Did Not Properly Collect the Evidence, and the Other Driver Did Not Receive a Drunk Driving Conviction. Does This Change the Compensation I Can Receive for My Injuries?

No. A criminal conviction can help establish fault in a civil case. However, because the civil case remains separate from the criminal, you can still receive the same compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident, regardless of whether the other driver faces criminal penalties for causing the accident. Therefore, you will not lose the compensation you deserve for a drunk driving accident just because the other driver did not receive a criminal conviction.

How Much Compensation Do I Deserve for a Drunk Driving Accident in Fort Lauderdale?

The injuries you sustain in a drunk driving accident will substantially impact the compensation you receive for those injuries. Your compensation may also depend on:

The insurance carried by the drunk driver or other liable parties. In Florida, drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in liability coverage to offer compensation for any individual injured in an accident caused by the insured driver. This insurance kicks in after the injured party uses personal injury protection insurance to cover the first portion of medical bills and lost wages related to the accident.

While many drivers carry only minimum liability insurance, other parties may carry more substantial insurance, including:

  • Commercial drivers, including those that drive for Uber or Lyft
  • The employer of a commercial driver
  • Auto manufacturers
  • Mechanics

To determine the compensation you deserve for an accident, an attorney may carefully evaluate evidence from the accident and determine fault. If multiple parties contributed to your injuries, it might increase the compensation you can receive.

Your Own Insurance Policy May Help Cover Accident Expenses

If the at-fault driver's insurance policy is not sufficient to cover your accident-related expenses, you might be able to turn to your insurance policy for additional coverage. If you purchased optional uninsured or underinsured coverage, a personal injury lawyer could help you tap into this added protection to cover any unreimbursed medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other valid costs.

Your medical expenses.Medical bills can add up fast after a drunk driving accident. Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, severe burns, and amputations can all leave you with medical expenses that continue throughout your recovery—or, in some cases, medical expenses that last for the rest of your life. 

Amputees, for example, may need to replace their prosthetic devices as often as every three to five years, while spinal cord injury victims may require wheelchairs, braces, crutches, and home modifications to help them continue to function as independently as possible.

Keep track of all medical expenses, including the cost of physical, psychological, and occupational therapy related to your injury. Then, you can claim compensation for those medical expenses as part of your personal injury claim after a drunk driving accident.

Your lost income.Following a drunk driving accident, you may suffer severe injuries that prevent you from returning to work, either temporarily or permanently. For example, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury, you may struggle to complete normal tasks in an office environment or keep your cool in a customer service position. In addition, victims of spinal cord damage may not be able to return to a manual labor position, especially one that requires a great deal of movement.

In some cases, you may eventually recover the ability to return to your previous job, especially if your employer will work with you. Therefore, you can include lost wages (in the case of short-term inability to complete your job responsibilities) or lost earning potential (if your injuries permanently prohibit your return) as part of your claim.

Your pain and suffering.In addition to the tangible financial losses associated with your drunk driving accident, you may undergo substantial pain and suffering: the physical pain related to your injuries, the emotional anguish associated with a lack of independence, or the loss of activities and events that usually bring joy to your life. An attorney can help you calculate how that pain and suffering applies to your claim and how much compensation you deserve for those losses.

Who Bears Liability for a Drunk Driving Accident?

The drunk driver obviously bears liability in most drunk driving accidents. The driver bears liability for anything that happens behind the wheel, including the decision to drive drunk and any mishaps that may occur due to those decisions. Other entities, however, may share liability for a drunk driving accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate all factors that could contribute to the accident, including mechanical failures and requirements made by the driver's employer in the case of a driver at work.

In Florida, the bar or restaurant where a driver obtained the alcohol typically does not bear liability for any accident caused by a drunk driver unless the driver was below the legal drinking age (21). Instead, the driver bears primary liability for the decision to drink and drive and any accident that occurs.

How Long Will It Take for Me to Receive Compensation for a Drunk Driving Claim in Fort Lauderdale?

Many accident victims hope they will quickly receive compensation for any injuries suffered in a drunk driving accident. Unfortunately, it may take time to settle your claim. You may need time:

  • For your attorney to investigate the accident, they may need to talk to witnesses and collect their statements, look over video footage of the accident if available, and even consult expert witnesses to help evaluate the accident scene and fully determine liability. The attorney may also need to evaluate the driver's employer and driving record in cases where the driver worked at the time of the accident. Until the investigation ends, you should not jump into trying to finalize the personal injury claim.
  • To recover as much as possible from your injuries. When you have immediate medical bills staring you down, you may want compensation for those bills in your hands fast. In the case of many types of injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury, however, you may need time to determine how much of a recovery you will ultimately make from your injuries. Your doctors may not know what your recovery will look like or how much your medical bills will grow until at least six months after your initial accident when you have begun to recover and have a better prognosis for recovery.
  • To negotiate. In many personal injury claims, including drunk driving accident claims, you may need to go through multiple stages of negotiation before arriving at a settlement agreement with the liable party. In some cases, you may need to go through mediation or even take your claim to court to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Leaping to accept an agreement could decrease the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries.

If the Drunk Driver's Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement, Should I Accept It?

Talk to an attorney before accepting any settlement offer made by the insurance company that covers the liable party in an accident, including a drunk driving accident. Insurance companies often attempt to decrease their financial liability by issuing a low settlement offer. However, if you accept that offer, you likely cannot claim future compensation from the insurance company. 

Instead, talk to an attorney to determine whether the settlement offer reflects the funds you deserve for your injuries. If it does not, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with valuable advice about how to proceed.

Does the Drunk Driver Have to Pay My Medical Bills After an Accident?

A drunk driver may bear some liability for compensating you for your medical expenses after an accident, but that does not mean the drunk driver must pay your medical expenses directly. In many cases, you may need to utilize the other resources at your disposal, including your health insurance and personal injury protection insurance, to pay for your medical bills.

If you struggle to pay your medical bills following a drunk driving accident, your attorney can file a letter of protection with your medical care providers, showing your intent to pay once you receive compensation for your accident. You will, however, still have to pay your medical bills once you receive your settlement.

Does the Drunk Driver Have to Pay My Attorney's Fees?

In a way, yes, they will. Attorney's fees cannot be a line item in your compensation request. A drunk driving accident lawyer will investigate and prepare your case on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer will provide you with all of the following at no immediate or up-front cost to you:

  • A free review of your potential case
  • Payment of all court and filing fees
  • Legal representation throughout your case
  • No fee if you do not recover damages

Your lawyer will only recover damages when you do. This arrangement allows you to pursue the drunk driver without adding to the financial strain of an accident. It also means you are not left with legal fees you would not have incurred if not for the drunk driver's negligence.

What If the Drunk Driver Hit and Ran?

This can create a difficult predicament, but a lawyer might be able to help you get compensation, anyway. So do not give up on the possibility of being compensated because the at-fault driver did not remain at the scene. 

Your lawyer's investigative process can help identify the vehicle or its owners and guide your case against them. An attorney can also help you pursue compensation from your insurance company if your coverage has policy add-ons that allow this possibility. 

If the Driver That Caused My Accident Used Illegal Drugs, Not Alcohol, Do the Same Laws Apply?

The same laws apply to drivers who drive under the influence of illegal drugs that apply to drunk drivers. Therefore, you will have the same right to compensation regardless of the inebriation status of the driver in question.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident with a Drunk Driver?

Immediately after an accident with a drunk driver, pursue medical attention as soon as possible. Doctors may identify injuries you do not even recognize at the accident scene, especially if adrenaline clouds those injuries. 

Not only that, seeking medical attention as soon as possible after an accident also makes it easier to determine when your injuries took place, making it easier to file your claim against the drunk driver and receive compensation for those injuries.

If you can move around the accident scene without endangering yourself, including potentially worsening injuries acquired in the accident, collect witness information or take photos of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles. You should not move around the accident scene if it could make your injuries worse or place you in danger. The police officers who respond to the scene can collect this evidence.

Once you have received any needed medical care, contact an attorney as soon after your accident as possible. An attorney can help with investigating your accident and establishing the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Stick with Your Treatment Plan Until Your Recovery is Complete

Your health care team will design a treatment protocol that will lead to maximum medical improvement for you. When they do, it is crucial that you follow their plan and have your progress regularly monitored. Following the doctor's orders will ensure your recovery. It will also prevent the at-fault driver from claiming your injuries are not as severe as you stated.

Contact the Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Today

The urgency for pursuing civil litigation is very real. But unfortunately, once the statute of limitations expires, you may miss your opportunity to pursue compensation forever.

The days and months following a serious accident are no time to deal with aggressive insurance companies. Their high-pressure tactics have no place in your hospital room or home, especially during your grief. Instead, hire a personal injury lawyer from our team and refer them to us.

There is no way to know if a driver traveling near you is drunk until it is too late. A driver who fails to use the same care as you behind the wheel must be held accountable for such actions. If the driver faces criminal charges for the drunk driving accident, the criminal proceedings will have little impact on your civil case.

At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we take great pride in our customer service. We keep our clients informed throughout the process of their cases. In addition, we listen and answer any questions you may have regarding insurance negotiations or a trial.

Drunk driving is dangerous, and it kills. No one is invincible when operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. When just one driver decides to drive drunk, it puts all other drivers on the road at risk. Indeed, you already know of one drunk driver: the individual who caused your accident. This reckless decision led to your injuries and resulted in significant changes in your life. 

Seek the justice you deserve and the compensation you need by reaching out to the experienced legal team at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA without delay. We have offices on both Florida coasts, and we serve clients in Fort Lauderdale and throughout the state. Call us today for a free case evaluation of your Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident injuries at (754) 208-1130, or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you.

Fort Lauderdale Office
150 E Davie Blvd Suite 201-2
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Phone: (754) 208-1130

What Our Clients Have to Say:

“This firm is amazing! Very professional, they helped me with my case until the end. They were available and very flexible. Dolman Law Group would answer all my calls/emails and wouldn't hesitate on explaining all of my concerns. They represented me on my case, in which it turned out to have a successful result. Super recommend them!”

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June 2018
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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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