Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Orlando, FL: Get What You Deserve
Driving while under the influence of alcohol ruins lives. It can lead to loss of life, property damage, jail time, and fines.
However, although driving while intoxicated can ruin a person’s life, this decision doesn’t just impact the driver. Their choice to get behind the wheel while drunk impacts everyone around them, and this means there are a number of consequences.
Some of these consequences are handed down by the government. But if you’ve been involved in a drunk driving accident in Orlando, FL — one in which the other driver was intoxicated — you need to hire a drunk driving accident lawyer. They will help you figure out what damages you can claim and will assist you with the legal proceedings involved in getting what you deserve.
What Happens if You Were the Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident
In the state of Florida, someone is drunk driving if they are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is higher than .08 percent.
If found guilty, this constitutes a criminal act, which means you as the victim can follow several avenues for seeking justice.
Since drunk driving is a criminal act, the offender can face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI). Depending on the driver’s past criminal record and whether or not this is their first offense, the consequences for driving drunk can range from a fine and a license suspension to jail time.
However, if you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is not your responsibility to pursue criminal charges. That falls to the state. In fact, even if you don’t want to press charges, it may be out of your hands. The state of Florida may still seek punitive measures against the drunk driver.
In addition to criminal charges, drunk drivers can also be sued in criminal court. As the victim of a drunk driving accident, you will likely want to pursue this course of action as this is how you can recover some of the costs you incurred as a result of the accident, such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Unlike criminal charges, where the state is responsible for bringing the offender to court, it is your responsibility as the victim of a drunk driving accident to file suit in civil court to recoup damages.
To help you do this, it’s best to hire a lawyer to help you navigate the court proceedings and get what you deserve.
Furthermore, as the victim of a drunk driving accident, which is considered a criminal act, you can also seek punitive damages. This is compensation that goes above and beyond what you might receive from your civil case, though the courts often consider both at the same time.
In fact, when seeking punitive damages, you do not need to have any reason for doing so other than wanting justice for what happened to you. How much you receive, however, will depend on the courts.
Therefore, it’s important to work with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer as they will help you figure out how much you are owed and how much you might be able to receive from the victim.
In addition to criminal charges, civil compensation, and punitive damages, there are several additional avenues you can take if you’ve been the victim of a drunk driving accident. Work with your lawyer to see if these options make sense for you.
Florida Crimes Compensation Trust
In an effort to protect residents of Florida who are victims of criminal acts, the state has established the Florida Crimes Compensation Trust, which is a fund set up to financially support victims.
Depending on the specific nature of your case, you may be able to apply to the fund for compensation. In most cases, this is only possible for those who have experienced a serious injury as a result of the crime, such as spinal cord damage, brain injury, serious burns, etc.
Receiving compensation from the Florida Crimes Compensation Trust does not require you to go to court. Instead, you can apply to the fund directly, though there are a few considerations to keep in mind. For example, you must apply within a certain time frame after the accident, usually two years.
Once you apply, your case will be reviewed and, if you qualify, your compensation will be disbursed to you directly.
Although you don’t need to go to court to get this money, an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help you prepare your application and increase its chances of success.
Unlike many other states in the United States, Florida does not have what is known as a “dram shop law.” This law holds establishments that sell intoxicating beverages, aka alcohol, responsible for the actions of the people they serve. In other words, if a bar serves someone alcohol and they then get in an accident, the bar can be held responsible.
In Florida, this is not the case, with two notable exceptions. The first is if the establishment sold alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age, and the other is if they sold it to someone they knew had an alcohol addiction.
If the offender in your case falls into one or both of these categories, you may be able to seek additional compensation from the establishment that served them. Again, work with your lawyer to determine if this is an appropriate course of action.
If the at-fault party in your drunk driving accident was on the job when they decided to drive drunk, you may be able to seek additional compensation from the driver’s employer. Whether or not you can pursue this will depend on the specifics of your case, which is why it’s important to let your attorney work to determine all the relevant details.
Why You Should Hire a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Whenever you are dealing with the justice system, it’s always a good idea to work with an attorney. Court proceedings can be complicated, and if you don’t do things correctly, you could miss out on compensation.
When dealing with drunk driving accidents in Orlando, FL, it’s even more important to work with experienced legal counsel. Among other things, your attorney will help you:
Determine Your Owed Damages
As you can see, there are a number of different sources of compensation you can tap into if you have been the victim of a drunk driving accident. Your attorney will help you determine which ones apply to you and will also help you calculate the damages you have incurred as a result of your accident.
Most people tend to underestimate what they are owed, and this can cause undue hardship down the road. Make your life easier, and get more back, by hiring an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer.
File and Fight Your Case in Court
Figuring out how much you are owed is just half the battle. You then need to bring your case to court and prove that you are entitled to the damages you seek.
Beyond navigating the complexities of the legal system, you will also need to craft a strong argument to convince the judge and/or jury that the compensation you seek is fair. Leave this to a professional to ensure you’re getting the most out of an otherwise difficult situation.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
In drunk driving accident cases, it almost always comes back to insurance companies. If you’re seeing compensation and the offender is insured, getting your compensation can be a lot more difficult than it should be.
Sometimes, you can avoid going to court by negotiating directly with insurance companies, but don’t do this on your own as you will almost always get less.
In other instances, you may end up in court to make sure you get what you deserve. But in either case, don’t try to do this on your own as it will almost always lead to less compensation, not to mention the stress and frustration that can come if you’re not used to dealing with these entities.
Smith and Eulo: Your Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Orlando, FL
If you’re a victim of a drunk driving accident in Orlando, FL, and need a lawyer to help you navigate your case and represent you in court, look no further than Smith & Eulo Law Firm. Our experience and dedication are unmatched in the Orlando area, and we pride ourselves in helping our clients get the most out of their cases.
Being involved in a drunk driving accident can be traumatic and life-changing. Don’t let things get worse by missing out on deserved compensation. Instead, get in touch today and let Smith and Eulo be your drunk driving accident lawyer in Orlando, FL.
We have two locations in Orlando, one located a few minutes from the Orange County Jail on Kirkman Road, and the other one a few blocks from the Orange County Courthouse on E Concord Street.
If you or your loved one find themselves in a situation where you are being accused of Drunk Driving, call us right away at 407-930-8912 to speak with a qualified legal professional or fill out the contact form on this page. We’re available 24/7, we offer free initial consultation and payment plans. In addition to our Orlando location, we have offices in the following cities across the state of Florida:
*Additional Orlando Florida & Orange County Legal Resources