Giving You the Information You Need to Make a Claim
Drunk driving accidents frequently result in devastating injuries, significant expenses, and a life completely changed by someone else’s bad decision. What’s even worse is that drunk driving accidents are all preventable—getting into a car while intoxicated is a choice, and an extremely deadly one. Those who unfortunately cross paths with a drunk motorist need their rights protected and their needs met. If you have been a victim of such a horrific accident in Fort Lauderdale, our team of personal injury lawyers at Meldon Law wants to help you get through this dreadful ordeal and provide you with the legal assistance that you need.
What Is Considered Drunk Driving in Fort Lauderdale?
Fort Lauderdale does not play around when it comes to drunk driving. There are extensive laws that protect victims of DUI crashes. They include significant charges for repeat offenders, mandatory blood alcohol testing for all drivers who are involved in crashes that result in serious injuries, and specific dram shop laws that hold establishments liable for continuing to serve intoxicated individuals.
Under Florida law, a motorist is guilty of a DUI if they are in actual physical control of a vehicle and have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more, or are otherwise intoxicated by a chemical or illegal substance.
Can You Sue a Drunk Driver in Fort Lauderdale?
The good news is that yes, in Fort Lauderdale, you can sue a drunk driver for your injuries and damages. However, to win a drunk driving accident claim, you must prove that your injuries resulted from the drunk driver’s negligence.
To make this happen, you need to provide evidence for the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care.
- They breached this duty.
- As a result of this breach, they caused your injuries.
Proving negligence is not an easy feat and requires extensive evidence for each of these elements. An experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driving attorney can help you gather the information you need to prove your claim.
Negligence Per Se
If a drunk driver is convicted of the crime of drunk driving, injured victims can instead pursue compensation under the legal theory of negligence per se. This means that because the driver violated a statute created to protect a particular class of individuals from a type of injury, they are automatically liable for the injuries they caused, and the victim’s attorney does not need to prove the specific elements of negligence described above for a court to find the drunk driver liable. Working with a Fort Lauderdale drunk driving attorney can help you figure out if negligence per se might apply in your case.
Common Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Even though each drunk driving accident is unique, some significant injuries frequently result from this tragic type of accident. These can include:
- Head and neck injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Brain injuries
- Paralysis; and
- Soft tissue damage.
What Damages Can You Recover?
People who have suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident often need significant medical treatment, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Victims of these horrific crashes are legally able to seek fair compensation not only for themselves but for their families, as well.
That’s why if you have suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident in Fort Lauderdale, you may be able to recover the following damages:
- Compensation for current and future medical bills;
- Compensation for current and future lost wages;
- Compensation for lost earning capacity; and
- Compensation for pain and suffering and other damages.
In some instances, relatives of someone who was killed in a drunk driving accident can recover the following:
- Compensation for funeral expenses;
- Compensation for their loved one’s accident-related medical expenses; and
- Compensation for loss of companionship and other damages.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
Under Florida’s statute of limitations laws, you have four years from the date of the accident to initiate a personal injury claim. If you had a loved one die in a drunk driving accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a wrongful death claim.
Dram Shop Laws
Usually, when drunk driving accidents happen, the intoxicated at-fault driver is held responsible for the victim’s injuries and damages. In addition, Florida has passed dram shop laws, which allow a victim to hold an establishment liable for an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident in two instances:
- Minors: If an establishment serves alcohol to someone under the age of 21, whether they know that person’s age or not, they can be held strictly liable for any drunk driving accident the minor causes.
- Alcohol abuse: If an establishment knows that an individual has a history of alcohol abuse and continues to serve them anyway, they can be responsible for any drunk driving accident that person causes.
Your attorney can investigate the accident and find out if an establishment in Fort Lauderdale is also to blame for your injuries, which, if they are found guilty, can help you recover all of your damages.
How Can Our Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Assist You?
Drunk driving accidents are not only devastating but extremely complicated, as well. They require extensive evidence, research, and investigation. Hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident attorney can help you get through this tedious process while you focus on your recovery and healing.
Whether you need help negotiating a settlement or presenting your case at trial, your attorney will know how to help you assert your claims in the best light possible by gathering the following critical evidence:
- Police reports from the accident;
- Police videos from the accident;
- Any witness statements that support your claim;
- Urine, blood, and breathalyzer tests done on the at-fault driver; and
- Accident-related medical records.
At Meldon Law, we know the struggles and concerns that accident victims face. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driving accident in Fort Lauderdale, we want to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Let us fight for your damages, including the never-ending medical bills and the other significant costs you have had to endure. Do not wait any longer. Contact our Fort Lauderdale office at (954) 334-1276 to discuss your accident and injuries today.