Every driver should know that driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law and that it is also extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, millions of people continually decide to get behind the wheel after drinking every year in Florida and throughout the United States. This not only results in arrests, but also in about 290,000 victims who suffered injuries in drunk driving accidents in a single year in the U.S.
At the Dolman Law Group, we believe there is no excuse for drunk driving and we are committed to standing up for the legal rights of victims injured by drunk drivers. If you sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident, call our New Port Richey DUI attorneys today for help.
Drunk Driving Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries
Intoxication can slow reflexes and impair focus, which can result in serious collisions. In addition, many drunk drivers do not maintain control over the wheel and can swerve into other lanes or can even cross over the center lane, causing a head-on collision. Drunk drivers also often cause head-on collisions by driving the wrong way on a highway or one-way street.
In these serious accidents, victims can often sustain the following injuries and many more:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Crushed or broken bones
- Internal organ damage
All of the above injuries require extensive medical care and many of them can result in permanent disabilities. For example, victims of serious brain injuries can experience permanent cognitive impairments and spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis.
New Port Richey Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
Unfortunately, even New Port Richey is not immune to the prevalence of driving under the influence. These irresponsible drivers are a constant risk to our community: Drunk driving accidents often leave their victims with serious injuries, and often with lifelong complications. A drunk driving accident might, for example, leave you with traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. You might suffer multiple broken bones or find yourself with organ damage as a result of the accident.
Not only does that leave you with many questions about your medical prognosis, it may also leave you with plenty of questions about your legal rights. Thankfully, there are resources available to help our neighbors who suffer injuries due to the negligence of a drunk driver. If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident in New Port Richey, contact an experienced drunk driving accident attorney at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman as soon after your accident as possible.
1. How much compensation do I deserve after a New Port Richey drunk driving accident?
The compensation you receive for a drunk driving accident in New Port Richey will depend on several factors. Consult an attorney to learn more about the specific details of your claim. Keep in mind that an attorney cannot guarantee the compensation you will receive for your claim.
However, most people include these elements as part of a drunk driving accident injury claim.
- Compensation for your medical bills. Medical bills typically represent the foundation of a drunk driving accident injury claim, including a drunk driving accident claim. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may have substantial medical bills after your accident: bills for emergency care immediately after your accident, bills for any surgeries and procedures you received to help treat your injuries, or bills for ongoing physical and occupational therapy after your accident. You may also have substantial expenses for durable medical equipment, especially if you need to use a wheelchair to get around after your accident or if you need a prosthesis following limb amputation. Make sure you keep up with all of your medical expenses following your accident so that you can prove the extent of your expenses.
- Coverage for lost wages. In addition to substantial expenses, you may have lost a lot of time at work in the aftermath of your accident. That lost time can lead to lost vacations and, worse, lost income at a time when you desperately need access to those funds to help cover your medical bills and other expenses. An attorney will help you calculate all wages lost as a result of your injuries.
- Compensation for pain and suffering. Medical bills and lost wages represent tangible expenses that you can easily add up. Pain and suffering, on the other hand, usually proves more intangible. Consult an attorney to learn more about how your suffering after an accident can add to your drunk driving accident injury claim, including the compensation you can claim.
- Punitive damages. After a drunk driving accident, you may also be awarded punitive damages: funds designed to punish the driver who caused your accident, rather than simply providing compensation for your expenses. In the case of a drunk driving accident, punitive damages may result from the drunk driver’s decision to drive while intoxicated: a decision that most drivers well know poses severe negligence. Consult a drunk driving accident attorney to learn more about punitive damages and how they may impact your claim.
2. What if the other New Port Richey driver did not get convicted of drunk driving?
The other driver’s drunk driving conviction, or lack thereof, usually does not change the damages you can include in your drunk driving accident claim. The civil claims process is wholly separate from any criminal prosecution, and a failure to charge or convict a drunk driver does not preclude the victim from seeking damages in civil court. The driver’s intoxication, however, may still prove an important evidence requirement in a drunk driving accident injury claim.
3. How should I handle paying my medical bills after a New Port Richey drunk driving accident?
As the individual receiving medical care, you must make arrangements to pay all of your medical bills, even if someone else caused or contributed to your accident. That does not necessarily mean, however, that you must pay for your medical expenses out of pocket.
Drunk driving accident victims have several options for help with their medical expenses.
- PIP insurance. All Florida drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance in addition to their liability insurance. PIP insurance covers an initial portion of medical bills and lost wages after any type of serious auto accident, whether you caused the accident or someone else did. You typically do not have grounds to file a personal injury claim (such as drunk driving accident injuries) until your medical expenses exceed the amount of your personal injury protection insurance. You should provide this insurance information to the hospital when you receive treatment.
- Health insurance. Your health insurance may provide protection when it comes to your medical bills after a drunk driving accident. Contact your health insurance provider to learn more about how much coverage you have and how it will impact you after the accident, especially if you have specific concerns related to your coverage. Depending on your coverage, your health insurance company may require reimbursement out of the damages from your drunk driving accident claim, so make sure you understand what your insurance covers and how it will impact you. Better yet, entrust dealing with any insurers to your attorney.
- A drunk driving accident claim. You may have substantial medical expenses after a drunk driving accident. A drunk driving accident injury claim award or settlement, if proven, is usually funded by the insurance company that covers the drunk driver. That claim can provide much-needed compensation that can cover your medical bills and make it easier for you to manage those ongoing bills. If you need to wait for your claim’s resolution to pay your medical expenses, talk to your lawyer. An attorney can issue a letter of protection, letting your doctors and other medical care providers know of your intent to pay your bills once you receive that settlement or award. A letter of protection can prevent those bills from going to collections and allow your medical care to continue without break.
4. What should I do if I suspect the other driver in my New Port Richey accident of driving drunk?
If you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, you should take several steps.
- Notify the police officer who responds to the scene of the accident of your suspicions. Let the officer who responds to the accident know that you suspect the other driver of driving drunk. Include any information that made you suspicious: the driver’s erratic behavior before the accident, for example. The officer will then know that he needs to conduct a test on the driver to determine his BAC if possible.
- Include your suspicions in any report you make about the accident. You may need to make a written report about the accident for your records. Include your suspicion that the other driver drove while intoxicated in any report that you make. Others, including your attorney and the police, will investigate this claim, but you need to share your suspicion.
- Contact our experienced drunk driving accident attorneys. Get in touch with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible. Let the attorney know about your suspicions and any evidence you may have about the other driver’s intoxication. Keep in mind that you may have grounds for a drunk driving accident claim even if the other driver does not get convicted of driving while intoxicated.
5. Who bears liability in a New Port Richey drunk driving accident?
Most often, the drunk driver who causes an accident bears the most obvious liability for any accident that occurs as a result of the driver’s inebriation. That does not necessarily mean, however, that the drunk driver bears sole responsibility for the accident. Consult an experienced drunk driving accident attorney for more information about factors that may have contributed to your accident and how they may affect your injury claim.
An attorney may evaluate whether these factors could have contributed to the accident.
- The driver’s employer. Was the driver who caused your accident on the clock at the time of the accident? If a driver drives for work, the driver’s employer may share liability for anything that happens while the driver takes care of work responsibilities. Typically, that does not include drivers on their way to work or on their way home from work, but it does include commercial drivers, including truck drivers. The driver’s employer may share liability if the employer knew that the driver was inebriated, if the employer had unrealistic expectations for the driver, or if the employer failed to properly maintain the vehicle, leading to an accident. The driver’s employer may also share liability if the employer knew the employee had a record of driving while intoxicated, but chose to continue to allow him to drive anyway.
- The vehicle’s owner. Did the driver who caused your accident own the vehicle? Did he or she have permission to drive the vehicle at the time of the accident? If so, the vehicle’s owner may bear liability for the accident, particularly if the owner knew that the driver had consumed drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
- The vehicle manufacturer. Sometimes, the other driver’s inebriation serves as little more than a footnote in the cause of the accident. If a mechanical failure caused the accident, an attorney may evaluate the vehicle manufacturer to learn more about its contribution to the accident.
6. What should I do if the New Port Richey drunk driver’s insurance company offers me a settlement?
Do not accept a settlement offer, especially after a drunk driving accident, without talking to an attorney first. The insurance company that covers a drunk driver who has caused a serious accident may attempt to reduce its financial liability by trying to convince you to accept a settlement offer that does not reflect the funds you really deserve for your accident. If you accept that offer, you relieve the insurance company of future financial liability and decrease the compensation you can receive for your injuries. Talk to an experienced attorney to learn more about how much compensation you really deserve, including when to accept a settlement offer.
7. How long will it take me to get the funds I need after a New Port Richey drunk driving accident?
You should not expect a fast resolution to your drunk driving accident claim. Several factors can extend the length of time it takes for you to reach a satisfactory resolution and get the funds in your hands. While you should receive compensation within thirty days after you reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, it can take some time for you to reach an actual agreement.
Several factors can contribute to the length of time it takes for you to receive the damages from your accident.
- Your recovery. Before you file your claim, your attorney may want you to wait until you have a solid idea of your future prognosis. In the case of many types of injuries, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage, it can take six months or more for your doctors to gauge your eventual recovery. Complications in the recovery process can also increase your medical expenses, which your drunk driving accident claim should reflect. Waiting until you reach that milestone can help your attorney better shape your claim.
- Your lawyer’s need to negotiate. In some cases, the insurance company might quickly offer you a reasonable settlement. In other cases, however, you may need to go back and forth for some time before you reach an agreement that works for both sides. Each round of negotiation may add to the length of time it takes to settle your claim. Insurance companies may negotiate harder if you need a large settlement following a drunk driving accident. If you cannot reach an agreement through negotiation, you may need to proceed to mediation or, eventually, to court, which may also add to the time it takes to settle your claim.
- The investigation. Your attorney will want to fully investigate your drunk driving accident before filing a claim for damages. A long investigation period may extend the time needed to achieve a settlement.
Call Our New Port Richey Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Now
Drunk driving has no place in the New Port Richey community, and it’s our responsibility to ensure these bad actors are held accountable for the countless harms they cause. The team of car accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman are proud to serve as advocates for our neighbors injured in drunk driving accidents. If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident in New Port Richey, contact an experienced drunk driving accident attorney at Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman as soon after your accident as possible.
With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable
Whether you suffered severe or relatively minor injuries in a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver who was responsible deserves to be held liable for any losses you incurred. Even if the driver is charged with a crime, a criminal case generally will not provide the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and emotional distress. For this reason, you should always call an attorney who understands how to file a claim against a drunk driver in civil court.
At Dolman Law Group, we have helped many drunk driving victims recover for their losses, so please call to discuss your case for free at 727-451-6900 today.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA – New Port Richey Office
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL