The moments after a car accident are unnerving enough. But when you find out that you have been hit by a drunk driver, emotions may be running high. You may be wondering what your rights are, and how to proceed in this specific situation.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is your first line of defense to pay for your medical bills. This is the case even if the drunk driver was at fault. However, even with the no-fault laws in place, there is a threshold which permits you to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver if the right conditions exists.
These conditions include if your injuries meet Florida’s definition of “serious”, or if your medical bills reach a certain level.
As always, you will want to document as much as you can at the scene of the accident. If you suspect that another driver involved has been drinking or may be intoxicated, be sure to call the police immediately.
Hit by a Drunk Driver?
Regardless of the situation, you will want to follow all normal procedures after a car accident. As noted, definitely call the police if you suspect a drunk driver.
If you have already spoken to and settled with your insurance company, and feel that you need to further address the situation, call a personal injury lawyer. Having legal representation will help you to properly move forward with a legal claim.
An attorney will be able to help you to first speak with the other driver’s insurance company, and to determine if they will settle out of court.
If the drunk driver involved in your accident has been convicted of a DUI, either in this accident or another, you will find that the insurance company will most likely be willing to discuss a settlement. Insurance companies understand that if a jury awards a monetary settlement to the victim of a drunk driver, they are liable to see a very high amount. Therefore even a very generous settlement in these cases is not unheard of.
Don’t Proceed Without Advice
Insurance companies will often try to get you to settle quickly after any type of auto accident. If you have suffered any injury or loss of property due to an accident, especially one which involves a drunk driver, be sure to call a personal injury attorney before accepting a deal from the insurance company.
An attorney will help you to collect all necessary reports, medical expenses, and insurance information to ensure that you are being treated fairly. If there is a criminal element to your case, we will be involved from the very start, which gives you your best opportunity for a top settlement. So remember, after an accident involving a drunk driver – document the scene, call the police to file a report, get checked out, and then call a Sarasota or Tampa area personal injury lawyer.
The attorneys at Probinsky, Chavez & Cole have the experience and expertise that you need after this type of catastrophic event.