If you suffered injuries in a Tampa drunk driving accident, an attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have offices on both Florida coasts, making them ideally positioned to aid Florida accident victims.
Call the Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman today. We understand the complexities of these cases and have the results to show for it, having recovered millions of dollars for our previous clients.
Contact us today at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH)
Drunk Driving Accidents Can Have a Lifelong Impact
Across Florida, 2.1 percent of drivers report driving after drinking more alcohol than the legal limit.
In the Tampa area, about 500 alcohol-related crashes cause hundreds of injuries a year.
Drunk drivers struggle more to control their vehicles than sober drivers. They have slowed reactions, poor decision-making skills, and poor concentration, all of which, when combined, can prove disastrous for the other drivers around them. As a result, individuals injured in drunk driving accidents may face more severe injuries than those injured in accidents with sober drivers, who can better take action to minimize the collision or reduce the possibility of severe injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury
TBI is a common injury resulting from high-impact collisions. Victims with traumatic brain injury may struggle to complete their normal daily activities, not just because of memory loss, which many people think of first when they consider traumatic brain injury, but also because of the loss of concentration and focus that often accompany TBI. Victims may also struggle with ongoing coordination, balance, and sensory concerns or have trouble controlling their emotions in the aftermath of a TBI.
Some victims with TBI discover personality changes, or note that their moods swing dramatically. As a result, it can prove difficult for victims with TBI to return to their jobs. Even mild TBI can linger long-term: many victims of mild TBI report having symptoms more than a year after the initial accident. In the case of severe TBI, victims may never fully recover their normal function.
Spinal Cord Injury
In a drunk driving accident, the spinal cord can undergo a great deal of force. Unfortunately, this can cause severe damage or even cause the spinal cord to sever. Incomplete spinal cord injuries can leave the victim with decreased mobility and sensation below the site of the injury, while complete spinal cord injury may leave the victim unable to move at all.
Not only can this mean living in a wheelchair for the victim, it may prevent the victim from handling normal job responsibilities or even prevent the victim from returning to work entirely. A victim who worked in a manual labor position, for example, may no longer have the capacity to take on those responsibilities.
Spinal cord injury victims may require long-term skilled nursing care even after they return home. Many of these victims may also miss out on many activities they once enjoyed or have to find new hobbies, especially if they previously engaged in highly physical hobbies and activities.
Drunk driving accidents may result in limb amputation due to the extreme force of the accident, which can rip the victim’s limbs away from the body. In some cases, victims may also face such severe crushing injuries that doctors feel it best to remove the limb for the patient’s long-term prognosis, or patients may lose limbs due to decreased blood flow to the affected area.
Amputations can permanently change a victim’s life. The victim may need to relearn how to perform many normal activities. Some amputees turn to prosthetics to restore normal mobility as much as possible; however, these devices do have limitations. Not only that, prosthetics represent an ongoing expense in the victim’s life, since most prosthetic devices need replacement every three to five years.
In a severe accident, especially one that punctures the car’s gas tank, the car may burst into flame. Trapped victims, especially those who cannot move freely on their own, may suffer severe burns as a result. In the case of big trucks carrying chemicals, drunk driving accidents can result in even more severe injuries and chemical burns.
Burns have a high risk of complication and a long recovery. They often leave substantial scarring behind, which can impact the victim’s self-esteem and interactions with people long-term. Victims with severe burns also frequently experience more physical pain than victims of almost any other type of injury.
The force of an auto accident can cause multiple broken bones for the parties in both vehicles. Drivers, in particular, often suffer broken hands and arms as they attempt to brace on the steering wheel or get thrown into the steering wheel by the force of the accident. Many broken bones require surgical treatment to set them properly and facilitate full healing. Broken bones cause many short-term limitations for the victim, including mobility concerns.
Broken hands and arms can make it difficult for the victim to complete job duties behind a desk. Many victims also find that broken bones permanently impact their mobility in the affected limb, even after physical therapy and full treatment. Multiple broken bones can further complicate the victim’s recovery.
Seeking Compensation After a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident
Drunk driving accidents can leave the victim with substantial medical bills and high expenses. If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident due to the negligence of the drunk driver, you deserve compensation for those injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney can make that process easier: identifying the party that caused your accident, collecting vital evidence that can help prove how your injuries occurred, and making sure you fully understand your rights related to the accident and how it will impact you long-term.
Tampa Drunk Driving Accidents: The Compensation You Can Claim
An attorney cannot offer you guarantees about the compensation you will receive for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. Multiple factors can influence the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries. Consider:
Who caused your injuries?
If a Florida driver carrying only minimum liability insurance caused your injuries, their insurance may provide only $10,000 in coverage for your injuries. On the other hand, many entities, including commercial drivers or rideshare drivers, carry substantially higher-value insurance policies. You should talk to a lawyer to determine how much compensation you can expect for your injuries based on the party that caused or contributed to the accident. If an attorney can identify more than one party that contributed to the accident, it may increase your compensation.
How high did your medical bills rise?
Personal injury claims typically provide compensation for your financial expenses related to a drunk driving accident. Ideally, you should keep track of all medical expenses related to your accident, from the initial emergency room visit to ongoing skilled nursing care or physical therapy that helps you recover from your injuries or helps ensure your independence.
Talk to an attorney to learn more about what other expenses you can include as part of your claim, including:
- Your hospital stay
- Any procedures you received to treat your injuries
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Modifications to your home to accommodate your injuries
- Durable medical equipment, including a wheelchair, crutches, or prosthetic devices
How much time did your accident cause you to miss at work?
Lost wages can add up fast, especially if you have a long recovery due to your accident. Your employer may work with you to get you back in the office as soon as possible, or your employer might ask that you make a full recovery before you return to work. Calculate the hours you missed at work due to your accident and your injuries. You can include hours missed at work after the initial accident, hours missed due to any surgical procedures, and even hours you had to miss at work due to ongoing therapy or follow-up appointments with your doctor.
How much did you suffer as a result of your injuries?
In addition to the funds you can receive for your actual financial losses, you can also add compensation for pain and suffering faced as a result of your injuries. Your attorney will help calculate the value of that suffering, including physical pain as well as emotional suffering. You might, for example, include the loss of activities or relationships due to your injuries, the loss of independence, or the loss of specific events that you planned to attend.
Because so much of your claim depends on your ongoing expenses during recovery, an attorney may advise waiting until you have progressed several months into your recovery before filing a personal injury claim. While this can lengthen the time it takes to receive compensation, it can also help prevent you from missing out on the compensation you might deserve due to complications or unexpected procedures during the recovery process.
Who Bears Liability in a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident?
Typically, the drunk driver himself becomes the most obvious culprit in a drunk driving accident and, therefore, bears primary liability for any injuries that you sustain in that accident. The driver of a vehicle bears primary liability for all decisions made behind the wheel, including the decision to drive drunk before the accident and whatever decisions led to the accident.
In Florida, the bar or restaurant that served the driver typically does not bear liability for an accident that occurs due to the driver’s impairment (exceptions may arise when the driver was below the legal drinking age when served). However, some other parties may also share liability for drunk driving accidents, depending on the factors that contributed to the accident.
Was the driver on the clock at the time of the accident?
The company that employs a driver may share liability for any accident that occurs while that driver is on the clock for the company. The company may also bear liability if it fails to properly handle maintenance on the vehicle, leading to an accident, or if it requires the driver to get behind the wheel despite knowing he has had too much to drink.
Did a mechanical failure lead or contribute to the accident?
While a drunk driver might not, for example, respond appropriately to a blown-out tire, increasing the risk of an accident, a tire that blows out in spite of proper use may still leave some liability resting on the manufacturer of the tire.
Depending on the type of mechanical failure, liability for the accident may rest with:
- The owner of the vehicle—either a private individual or a company
- The manufacturer of the vehicle or the malfunctioning part
- A mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle, but who certified it as road-safe without properly completing repairs or looking for all potential problems
By identifying all parties who share liability for your accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can often increase the compensation you receive for any injuries sustained in that accident.
A Note on Insurance Settlements
Sometimes, immediately after a drunk driving accident that results in serious injuries, the insurance company that covers the liable driver will get in touch with the victim to offer a settlement offer. This offer often appears attractive, especially in light of the immediate medical expenses the victim may face.
Do not accept this offer without talking to an attorney.
Often, these settlement offers reflect the best interests of the insurance company, not the best interests of the victim. The insurance company may attempt to minimize the settlement. If you accept that offer, it can prevent you from later requesting more compensation from the insurance company or the drunk driver that caused your accident, ultimately leaving you without the money you need to pay your medical bills and cover your lost wages.
Instead, consult an attorney before talking to the liable driver’s insurance company or accepting a settlement offer. An experienced personal injury attorney can give you a better idea of the compensation you deserve and help design a claim that includes all expenses related to your accident.
Do You Need an Attorney After a Tampa Drunk Driving Injury? Call Us Now.
Do not wait to contact an attorney after a drunk driving accident in Tampa. With offices across both Florida coasts, including several in the Tampa area, you can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights.