Often with the restaurants and nightlife in South Florida people get behind the wheel after drinking too much, says Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Andrew Norden.
Spending time in a car is a part of life in South Florida. All too frequently, with the restaurants, bars and nightclubs in South Florida, people get behind the wheel after drinking too much and cause accidents that have long lasting effects on the victims, according to Boca Raton personal injury lawyer, Andrew Norden of Osborne & Associates.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles estimates there are nearly 250,000 motor vehicle crashes in Florida every year. http://www.dmvflorida.org/car-accident.shtml. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that 40,677 DUI arrests were made in Florida recently. http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Florida.html. Some common issues that arise for victims after being hit by a drunk driver include:
- The cost of medical bills for ambulance, hospital and doctors arising from the crash;
- Pain and suffering from injuries sustained in the crash;
- Anxiety and fear of driving;
- Car repairs; and
- Lost wages because of time missed from work.
There are a few ways that victims of drunk drivers can get back on their feet after an accident. All cars registered in Florida are required to have insurance. Your car insurance provides personal injury protection (PIP), referred to as “no fault,” which pays 80% of the first $10,000 in medical bills. PIP pays for an ambulance, hospital and other medical treatment. The amounts not paid by PIP become part of your damage claim against the drunk driver, adds Norden, attorney for personal injury victims.
If the drunk driver carries property damage coverage, your car repairs may be covered by the drunk driver’s insurance company. Otherwise, if you pay for comprehensive collision coverage, your own insurance policy may pay to fix your car. Frequently, the amount of property damage caused by a drunk driver is more than the available insurance limits, creating personal exposure for the drunk driver. A top personal injury lawyer at Osborne and Associates in Boca Raton can help you through this process.
Lost wages can also be paid from your PIP coverage. PIP covers 60% of your lost wages. You will be required to submit a Wage and Salary Verification form, completed by your employer, to the PIP carrier for lost wages to be processed. The 40% of your lost wages not paid by PIP will become part of your damages against the drunk driver.
The drunk driver may be prosecuted as a result of his/her conduct. Florida provides an additional source of recovery for victims of drunk driving. Within the criminal case, a victim may have access to the victim compensation fund. The fund has certain requirements that a victim must comply with in order to get the benefits of the fund that are referenced here: victim compensation fund.
The victim compensation fund can assist with medical bills, property damage and lost wages from the accident. You will be required to cooperate with the prosecutor in the case against the drunk driver to get the benefit of the victim compensation fund. The experienced Boca Raton personal injury lawyers at Osborne & Associates can help you navigate this process and interact with the prosecutor to maximize the resources available to you.
Ultimately, you may need to pursue a civil claim against the drunk driver. In the civil case you can seek to recover all unpaid medical bills, lost wages and future wage time, out of pocket expenses for medical treatment, pharmacy costs, cost of help around the house to assist with tasks you can no longer do yourself, and damages for the pain and suffering experienced as a result of the crash. Florida law also provides a mechanism to punish and deter drunk driving, known as punitive damages. The right to seek punitive damages is not automatic. An attorney must first get permission from the court to pursue a drunk driver for punitive damages.
If you have been involved in a crash with a drunk driver, contact the experienced Boca Raton personal injury lawyers at Osborne & Associates now. We handle drunk driving cases and can help you. Call (561) 293-2600 now for a no charge consultation.