Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
All drivers know that driving while under the influence of alcohol is against the law. Drunk driving is a serious action that can cause a driver to suffer negative effects on their judgment and reaction time.
Sadly, when a motorist decides to drive drunk, they are endangering others. Many innocent people are killed by drunk drivers. In fact, more than two dozen people die from drunk driving accidents every day.
This is a tragic situation for the victims and their families. A drunk driving accident can change many lives forever. Have you been a victim? If so, the Tampa drunk driving accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson can help you seek justice and compensation.
What the Law Says
Under Florida law, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above is illegal. It is typically considered a misdemeanor. For a first offense, a person can face a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in prison, and vehicle impoundment for 10 days. License suspension, community service, and completion of an alcohol treatment program may also be required.
The penalties increase based on the damages involved. A person can be charged with a felony DUI if their intoxication caused serious injury or death. Subsequent DUI offenses can also lead to increased penalties.
Effects of Drunk Driving
Alcohol is a sedative that can affect the body in many ways. It impacts coordination and decision-making skills, which can make it difficult for an impaired driver to act quickly if needed to avoid an accident.
Drunk driving can also lead to a variety of injuries if an accident happens—not just for the driver but for other drivers as well. A person can suffer broken bones, paralysis, brain damage, and even death.
A drunk driving accident can be an emotional situation for the impaired driver. If the driver survives but seriously injures or kills someone else, that is something they will have to live with for the rest of their life. That is a heavy emotional burden to bear.
As mentioned above, drunk driving is also a crime. In Florida, a DUI will stay on a person’s criminal record for a whopping 75 years (it’s 10 years in most other states), and DUI convictions cannot be expunged. Having a DUI on a criminal record can affect employment and other areas of a person’s life. Therefore, those who are drunk should avoid driving and arrange for an Uber instead.
Can I Sue if I’m Hit by a Drunk Driver?
Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone on the road, and you may have found this out firsthand. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you may be hurt, struggling to overcome the costs of your injuries, and traumatized by the experience.
You may also have questions about your claim, like, “Can I sue if I’m hit by a drunk driver?” You may have grounds to sue, and contacting a Tampa drunk driving accident lawyer from Anderson & Anderson first can help your claim. They can give you the guidance you need and represent you in court when you’re hurt.
Criminal and Civil Claims
When you’re hurt by a drunk driver, that driver may be facing criminal charges as well as your civil lawsuit. That makes things a little confusing—they may go to trial for driving under the influence in Tampa, but you won’t receive compensation from the criminal trial, even if they’re found guilty.
You instead need to talk with your drunk driving accident lawyer in Tampa about suing the at-fault driver after the court case has settled. Even if they’re found not guilty of criminal charges, they may still be found at fault for your injuries.
Compensation for A Drunk Driving Accident
You should be fairly compensated for your injuries after the car accident. Luckily, you can seek compensation for your losses caused by the accident, or damages, in court. These damages should cover the financial losses you’ve suffered, as well as the nonfinancial or non-economic damages you’ve suffered. This second type of damages is intangible, so you may need a lawyer’s help to calculate them.
Not sure what compensation you’re eligible for? Talk to your lawyer if you’ve suffered any of the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Do Car Insurance Companies Cover DUI Accidents?
When asked if their car insurance will cover a DUI accident, many drivers are surprised to learn that the answer depends on the specifics of their policy. When insurers deny coverage, they often cite exceptions in the policy wording.
Several states have attempted to change this by mandating that insurers must always pay for accidents caused by drunk drivers. But even in those states, insurers may deny coverage if they can prove that the driver was negligent or otherwise at fault. Do car insurance companies cover DUI accidents? Let’s take a deeper dive into the specifics. Then reach out to a Tampa car accident lawyer for more customized help.
Exceptions to the Applicable Laws
It may be alarming to find out that your policy may be void if you were under the influence. The same holds true even if you were charged but not convicted or pleaded down to a lesser charge.
For example, if you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but pleaded guilty only to reckless driving or some other lesser charge, then your insurance company may not cover any damages resulting from that accident.
If you’re injured in a wreck in Florida, you’ll have to rely on your own insurance first because of the state’s no-fault insurance laws. This creates problems because liability limits often are not adequate to cover damages in many cases. That’s why so many Florida DUI accident victims decide to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer or to sue when they’re hit by a drunk driver.
So basically, it’s true that if you are injured in an accident where someone else is at fault, then your car insurance company will likely cover any medical bills and other monetary losses related to your injuries. But there are two important exceptions.
Number one, if you are injured because of an illegal activity that you committed, then your insurer may deny all coverage because of that illegal activity; and number two, if there are injuries resulting from drunk driving and someone else is convicted, coverage may be denied.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverages also come into play with a DUI accident claim. The insurance provider may deny payment because of a lack of proper coverage on your part.
What is the best car insurance for those hoping to secure damages from a DUI accident? That’s hard to say. Even if you think you have good car insurance, you may find yourself at a loss.
Contact Our Tampa DUI Accident Lawyers Today
It’s sad that drunk driving is still a major problem in American society. People know about the dangers but still make the decision to drive drunk.
Drunk driving affects the lives of many people. If you have suffered damages due to the negligence of a drunk driver, seek legal help right away. The knowledgeable and experienced Tampa drunk driving accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson can help you get the justice you and your family deserves. Schedule a free consultation with our office today. Fill out the online form or call 813-251-0072.