People who drive while intoxicated place everyone in danger. Although Florida prohibits drunk driving, that does not stop some people from driving after consuming too much alcohol, and drunk drivers cause thousands of DUI accidents each year that injure or kill many motorists, their passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a Tampa drunk driving accident, you could hold the at-fault driver accountable for their unlawful actions and obtain the compensation you deserve. However, pursuing compensation entails a complex process that requires an experienced Tampa drunk accident lawyer.
The Tampa drunk driving accident attorneys at Apex Law have more than 20 years of combined legal experience. We have the skills and resources necessary to handle your matter efficiently, and we will thoroughly investigate your case to hold the responsible parties accountable and fight hard for your rights and future. Contact us today at (813) 444-5212 for your free consultation.
How Apex Law Can Help With Your Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Claim
For more than 20 years, the Tampa injury attorneys at Apex Law have helped thousands of injured clients throughout greater Tampa. We understand complex injury claims, and we promise to work tirelessly to build the strongest case possible.
Other aspects to consider about our firm:
- We listen. We will take the time to listen to your story to fully understand your situation. We will prioritize your case and offer open communication so you can reach out to us with questions or concerns at any time.
- We take action. You can trust us to take an active interest in your case and devote as much of our attention as we can to your case.
- We work on contingency. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. You won’t pay us anything upfront to represent you, and we only accept a fee if we obtain compensation for you.
- We win big. We are committed to helping you get maximum compensation, and we have recovered millions of dollars in total compensation for our clients.
The attorneys at Apex Law have received many awards and honors for our professionalism and service, along with dozens of five-star client reviews and compelling client testimonials. Contact us today to speak with us about your drunk driving claim free of charge.
Florida’s Drunk Driving Laws
Like many other states, Florida has strict laws and penalties to deter and punish drunk driving offenders.
Here are some key points regarding Florida’s drunk driving laws:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in Florida is 0.08 percent for drivers ages 21 and over. For drivers under 21, a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher can result in a DUI charge.
- Enhanced penalties for higher BAC. If a driver’s BAC is 0.15 percent or higher, or if there is a minor in the vehicle during the offense, the penalties for a DUI conviction grow more severe.
- Implied consent law. Florida’s implied consent law means that by operating a motor vehicle in the state, you consent to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) if law enforcement suspects you of driving under the influence. Refusing to submit to a chemical test can result in an administrative license suspension.
- Administrative license suspension. Upon a DUI arrest, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles typically suspends the driver’s license. The length of the suspension can vary based on prior DUI convictions and test refusal.
- Criminal penalties. A DUI conviction in Florida can result in criminal penalties, which may include fines, probation, community service, mandatory DUI education programs, ignition interlock device installation, and license suspension or revocation. The severity of the penalties depends on factors such as prior DUI convictions, BAC level, and other aggravating circumstances.
Penalties increase for repeat DUI offenses within a specified timeframe, with mandatory minimum sentences for multiple convictions. Also, penalties could worsen if the drunk driver caused an accident that killed someone.
None of this helps accident victims, however—it only punishes the crime against society. If a drunk driver injured you, you need to file a civil claim against them to recover the compensation you deserve. Apex law can do that for you. Call us now to find out how we can help.
Dram Shop Laws
In some states, you can hold a bar, restaurant, or other party accountable if they serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. Florida does not allow drunk driving accident victims to hold establishments or social hosts responsible for DUI accidents if the establishment or host over-served the driver. You may only hold an establishment or social host accountable if they serve alcohol to a minor or a person under 21 or to someone with a known drinking problem.
If you feel you need to hold an establishment or host responsible, call our experienced drunk driving accident attorneys right away. Our lawyers can determine whether you can hold the other party liable, and we have the resources to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
What Are Some Common Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?
Drunk driving accidents can result in many injuries. The severity and specific injuries will depend on the speed of the vehicles involved, the point of impact, the use of safety restraints, and other variables.
Here are some common injuries that can occur in drunk driving accidents:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Drunk driving accidents often involve high-impact collisions, which can cause head injuries. TBIs can range from concussions and contusions to hemorrhages or diffuse axonal injuries. TBIs can have long-lasting effects on cognitive function, motor skills, and overall quality of life.
- Spinal cord injuries. Drunk driving accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries. These injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and a range of physical and neurological impairments.
- Broken bones. A drunk driving accident can fracture bones, such as arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, or collarbones. Fractures may require surgical intervention, immobilization, and extensive rehabilitation.
- Soft tissue injuries. Whiplash, sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries occur in accidents with sudden jerking or violent movements. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility.
- Internal injuries. The impact can injure internal organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or lungs. Internal bleeding, organ damage, and other complications may require immediate medical attention and surgical intervention.
- Facial injuries. Facial injuries, including fractures, lacerations, and dental damage can occur when the face strikes objects inside the vehicle or the airbag deploys.
- Psychological and emotional trauma. In addition to physical injuries, drunk driving accidents can lead to psychological and emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Seek immediate medical attention following a drunk driving accident, even if injuries do not immediately appear. Some injuries may present delayed symptoms, or your doctor may need imaging tests or other exams to diagnose them.
Consult a personal injury attorney with experience handling drunk driving accident claims to understand your legal rights, pursue compensation, and hold the responsible parties accountable for your injuries and damages.
What Compensation Can I Recover After a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident?
After a drunk driving accident in Tampa, you may pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. The specific compensation you can recover depends on the accident and the extent of your injuries.
Common compensation for drunk driving accidents includes:
- Medical expenses. You can seek compensation for medical bills related to your accident injuries, including emergency room care, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, therapy, and future medical expenses.
- Lost income. If your injuries force you to miss work or lose earning capacity, you may obtain compensation for lost income and benefits. This includes both current and future income you would have earned if not for the accident.
- Pain and suffering. You could claim non-economic damages as well, such as physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages address the intangible impact the accident has had—and will continue to have—on your life and well-being.
- Property damage. If the accident damaged your vehicle or other personal property, you can seek compensation for the cost of repair or replacement.
- Rehabilitation and therapy. If you require ongoing rehabilitation, physical therapy, or other therapy to recover from your injuries, you may include the cost of these treatments in your compensation.
- Disability and disfigurement. If the accident results in permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or scarring, you may receive compensation to address the impact on your quality of life and appearance.
- Punitive damages. In cases of gross negligence, unlawfulness, or willful misconduct, the court may award punitive damages. These damages punish the drunk driver and deter similar behavior. Your attorney can discuss with you whether they believe you should take your case to court and pursue exemplary damages.
Although the drunk driver may receive criminal charges and penalties for DUI and other serious moving violations, you do not need a DUI arrest or conviction to pursue compensation. You can seek damages from the party regardless of any criminal charge, but your attorney could certainly use any proof of a DUI arrest or conviction to strengthen your case.
In any event, your attorney will determine the full extent of compensation you qualify for and offer an objective and realistic opinion of how much you can receive. They can then fight to help you get everything you need.
How Do I Pursue Compensation After a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident?
If you suffered injuries in a Tampa drunk driving accident, you could obtain compensation, but you must:
- Seek medical attention. Your health and well-being are of utmost importance. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor. You need proper medical documentation for your claim.
- Contact law enforcement. Report the accident to the police and provide them with all relevant information. They will create an official report, which can serve as valuable evidence for your claim.
- Gather evidence. Collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This includes photographs of the accident scene, property damage, and your injuries, as well as any witness contact information. Preserve any relevant documents, such as medical records, police reports, and insurance correspondence.
- Consult our drunk driving accident attorneys. Call our experienced drunk driving accident attorneys. Our lawyers can evaluate your case, determine liability, and guide you through the legal process.
- Notify insurance companies. Have our lawyers report the accident to your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. We can provide them with accurate and detailed information about the accident, but not in a way that minimizes your claim. If the insurance company contacts you, don’t say anything and refer any questions or correspondence to your attorney.
- Document losses and expenses. Record all accident-related losses and expenses. This includes medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income, property damage, and any other financial losses from the accident.
- Negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit. Your attorney will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company for you. If they cannot reach a satisfactory settlement, your lawyer may sue the at-fault parties and represent you throughout the litigation process.
Each case is unique, and the specific steps you take will depend largely on how your case proceeds and the willingness of other parties to accept liability and negotiate a fair settlement. Having an attorney on your side increases your chances of getting a favorable outcome while reducing your stress load considerably.
How Long Do I Have to File a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Florida?
Florida allows you only two years to file a drunk driving accident lawsuit in civil court. The two-year statute of limitations also applies to wrongful death if a drunk driver caused a crash that killed a close family member. Therefore, act quickly and consult our Tampa drunk driving accident attorneys as soon as possible to start your claim.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Today
You shouldn’t suffer because of someone else’s bad decision to drink and drive. You deserve compensation for all your injuries and losses, but you need an attorney for help.
For a free evaluation of your claim and advice regarding your options, call the Tampa drunk driving accident lawyers at Apex Law. We have helped many drunk driving accident victims throughout Tampa and across Florida, and we are here for you when you need us.
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