Drunk driver accidents: Understanding the options

Being involved in a car accident is bad enough, but when you are injured, it can be even more challenging to navigate the aftermath and understand your available legal options. Sometimes it is not immediately known whether or not the other driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or another substance.

Once this information comes to light, it is normal for drunk driving victims to experience a range of emotions. Feeling angry, scared, and overwhelmed is understandable. It is normal for victims to cycle through these and other emotions as they navigate the medical and legal events after the crash.

Accidents happen, but when a driver knowingly operates a vehicle while under the influence, they may be subject to serious criminal penalties. Florida law allows victims to also file suit for punitive as well as compensatory damages in drunk driving cases. Punitive damages are above and beyond compensation for medical bills and the like. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may even be possible to file suit against the establishment where the driver was provided the alcohol.

No case is a guarantee, but drunk driving crimes are often prosecuted very aggressively on the criminal law side. An offender’s prior history of drunk driving charges or convictions can also help strengthen any civil suits.

Drunk driving victims lives are often turned completely upside down in the days, months and sometimes even years following a drunk driving accident, but drunk drivers can and should be held accountable. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you have options. Talking with an attorney experienced in these types of cases can help you better understand the applicable laws and the court process for a better chance at a positive outcome.

Source: Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, “Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Attorney” Sep. 07, 2014

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