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What Are My Rights if I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver?

There were 46,922 DUI citations handed out in Florida in 2015. Of those tickets, 26,428 individuals were found guilty of drunk driving while fewer than 2,000 people were found not guilty or had the charges dismissed, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Many of the other individuals had their charges reduced, though they did not get off scot-free.

Drunk driving is serious, and it hurts and kills thousands of people in Florida every year. If you were injured because a drunk driver caused a car accident, you deserve experienced legal representation to help you with the insurance claims process or the personal injury case you can bring against the drunk driver. If you are unable to reach a beneficial settlement with that person’s auto insurer, or if they do not have auto insurance, then you have the right to sue that person in court and ask to recover damages.

DUI Personal Injury Cases

You have the right to sue the drunk driver for your personal injuries, but if you do, you must prove that the other driver failed to uphold their duty of reasonable care. When a driver behaves in a way that is dangerous and then hurts someone, they have been negligent or intentionally reckless, which is a breach of that duty.

Your attorney’s job is to show the court how the driver behaved negligently and how those actions caused an accident that led to your injuries. But when the accident was related to a DUI, the burden of proving negligence changes. When the other driver is arrested for and found guilty of a DUI, you can use this as proof of negligence as a matter of law.

Instead of being required to point to the defendant’s specific negligent actions, all you have to do is establish the defendant was guilty of a DUI and is, therefore, liable under the law for your injuries.

Potential Damages

When you sue someone for personal injuries related to a DUI, you can seek:

  • Current medical expenses;
  • Future medical costs;
  • Lost wages;
  • Property damage;
  • Renovations to your home due to disability; and/or
  • Pain and suffering.

You may be able to seek punitive damages. If you can show that the person behaved recklessly or with a wanton disregard for public safety, a jury may award you damages that are meant to punish the victim, not compensate you for your injuries.

We Are Here To Help

For more information on what to do if you are hit by a drunk driver, contact the Florida personal injury attorneys of Oldham & Smith at (352) 292-1620. We will begin working on your behalf immediately.

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