Can I Sue the Drunk Driver Who Hit Me in Orlando?
If you were hit by a drunk driver in Florida, you may be wondering if you have the right to sue. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the most recent statistics indicate that drunk driving fatalities have decreased some. However, drunk driving is still the number one cause of fatal traffic accidents in the state. Also, non-fatality alcohol related crashes are still a major concern, especially as many people suffer serious injuries.
It’s understandable that after this type of collision, you may be wondering if you have the right to sue the drunk driver who was at fault for the collision. It’s important you contact a skilled Orlando auto accident attorney right away. At Payer Law, we understand how the process of pursuing a drunk driver works.
Suing A Drunk Driver in Florida
In general, you can sue a drunk driver in Florida. However, before you run out and file a claim, you need to have certain evidence and information present first. You need to show that the person responsible was truly intoxicated and intoxication was the cause of the accident. It is essential to know the alcohol level of the driver, as this can have a direct impact on the damages you are seeking. Was the drunk driver involved in a prior DUI? That conviction is important to know for your claim.
You also need to show you were not at fault. That may seem ridiculous since the other person was driving under the influence of alcohol, but in some cases, just because someone was drunk, it doesn’t mean they caused the accident.
While Florida is a no-fault state, the laws do differ some for DUI related accidents depending on the facts of the case. This means you may be able to pursue a claim for damages under your own no-fault policy, then pursue a claim under the DUI driver’s policy. It all depends on the circumstances of the case and the severity of your injuries.
You must report the accident right away and if you qualify for compensation under the other driver’s policy, you could be entitled to compensation for medical treatment expenses, wage loss, disability, property loss, mental health counseling, and disability expenses if applicable.
Dram Shop Laws
Some other states have laws that will hold a vendor, establishment, or even a social host responsible for continuing to serve alcohol to someone who is obviously already intoxicated. This is what’s known as a dram shop law. Unfortunately, Florida does not follow this theory and hold the bar or restaurant responsible. In select cases, you may pursue them only if they served alcohol to a known “habitually addicted” person or someone who was underage.
Proving someone is habitually addicted to alcohol can be a challenge. Unless there are medical records showing addiction, prior arrests involving alcohol-related interests, etc., it’s hard to make the argument. Plus, you have to show the establishment knew the person was habitually addicted, another hard obstacle to tackle.
Contact an Orlando Car Accident Attorney