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Melbourne Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Over the last several decades, efforts have been made by both the government and private advocacy groups to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving and to increase the criminal penalties for those who are convicted of impaired driving. Despite these efforts, drunk driving accidents continue to result in serious injury and death to innocent motorists and passengers on Florida’s roadways every day.
While the criminal justice system may punish a drunk driver who caused a collision, the victims of that accident may suffer physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardship that are not addressed in a criminal prosecution. To pursue monetary compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident a victim must file a civil lawsuit. The experienced Melbourne drunk driving accident attorneys at Layman Law Firm, P.L. are dedicated to ensuring that as the victim of a drunk driving accident you are compensated in full for all the injuries you suffered.
Melbourne Drunk Driving Accident Facts and Figures
Unfortunately, the State of Florida consistently ranks near the top of the list each year when it comes to alcohol-involved crashes. The most recent data indicates that despite less traffic on the state’s roadways during the Covid-19 pandemic, drunk driving accidents are not decreasing in Florida. Fatal crashes involving alcohol rose nine percent in 2020 compared to 2019, even as vehicle miles traveled fell by 13 percent, according to preliminary estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Figures released by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) indicate that in Brevard County, there were 4,984 alcohol confirmed crashes, resulting in 378 deaths and over 2,000 non-fatal injuries in 2019.
Melbourne Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Not only does a drunk driver put his/her own life at risk, but also puts everyone else on the roadway at risk by getting behind the wheel. A drunk driving crash can result in catastrophic injuries to the occupants of the involved vehicles, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Internal organ damage
Steps to Take Following a Melbourne Drunk Driving Accident
It is important to know what to do following any collision; however, it is especially important to know what steps to take following an accident involving an impaired driver. If you find yourself the victim of a car accident, and you suspect that alcohol was involved in the crash, take the following steps:
- Contact the police immediately. Even if you do not believe you were injured or are not certain that the other driver is impaired, call 9-1-1 and report the accident immediately. When an accident potentially involves an intoxicated driver, time is of the essence when it comes to gathering evidence proving intoxication. Getting the police to the scene immediately ensures that a thorough investigation will be conducted, and an official report filed, all of which may be needed down the road in a civil lawsuit.
- Seek medical attention. Have a thorough medical evaluation done as soon after the accident as possible both to ensure that any hidden injuries are identified and to help prove damages in a subsequent civil lawsuit. Follow up with any treatment recommended as a result of that examination.
- Document your injuries. Compile records that help prove your injuries, including hospital and doctor bills, repair estimates for your vehicle, and proof of lost income. Start a journal as well that you write in each day to help show the emotional trauma you have experienced as a result of the drunk driver’s negligence.
- Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. When the at–fault party was arrested for drunk driving, injured victims often concentrate on the criminal aspect of the crash and fail to contact a personal injury attorney right away. Do not make this common mistake. Contact an experienced attorney as soon after the accident as possible to ensure that your rights as a victim are protected.
The Criminal Justice System Cannot Fully Compensate a Drunk Driving Victim
Most drunk driving accident victims are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. Because of this, they operate under the assumption that the drunk driver will be charged with a criminal offense, and they will be compensated for their injuries as part of that prosecution. Unfortunately, that is not how the American legal system works. Instead, we count on the criminal justice system to punish someone who violates the law and the civil justice system to compensate injured victims.
While a drunk driver might be sentenced to spend time in jail or on probation, a criminal court judge can only order a defendant to pay restitution in a criminal case. Not only does restitution fail to include all damages a victim may have suffered, but criminal courts rarely put much effort into enforcing an order to pay restitution. The good news is that drunk driving accident victims or surviving family members of someone who was killed by a drunk driver can pursue damages through the civil justice system. In fact, impaired driving is a classic example of the negligence required to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit.
Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Melbourne Drunk Driving Accident
Because a criminal court’s ability to compensate the victim of a drunk driving accident is extremely limited, it is in your best interest to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to damages for both your physical and emotional injuries, including compensation for things such as:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and other care costs
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished qualify of life
If a family member was killed by a drunk driver, you may qualify to file as a claimant in a wrongful death lawsuit. No amount of money is worth the loss of a loved one; however, a wrongful death lawsuit will hold the drunk driver accountable in civil court and may provide financial compensation for the loss of companionship, care, and support your family member provided.
Contact the Experienced Melbourne Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L.
If you were injured in a Melbourne drunk driving accident, or you lost a family member in a fatal drunk driving crash, contact the experienced Melbourne drunk driving accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L. to discuss your legal options. We are committed to ensuring that drunk drivers are held accountable and victims of a drunk driving accident are fully compensated. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 321-773-2111 or by filling out our convenient Intake Evaluation Form online.