What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident with a Drunk Driver in Florida
Drunk driving accidents commonly cause serious injuries to the victims of the crash. Whether you were the passenger of a driver you didn’t know was intoxicated or you were injured because another driver was under the influence when the crash occurred, you can often face more serious injuries than in sober crashes. There are certain steps you should take after any car accident, and special steps you should take if you suspect the other driver of committing a DUI. Miami DUI victim attorney Prosper Shaked explains.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident in FL
After you are involved in a car crash, you should always get to a safe location and call 9-1-1. Do not admit fault for the crash, and do not give in to any demands to “keep the police out of it” or anything to that effect. If your car is blocking traffic, move your car to the side of the road (if you are able to). Once you call 9-1-1, report your name, where the crash took place, the number of cars involved, and any injuries you are aware of. If you are too injured to get out of the car, wait for emergency responders.
Ultimately, you should collect information about the crash so that you can later file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the responsible parties. You ultimately want to know all of the following information:
- Who was involved, including full names and contact information,
- What vehicles were involved, including registration and license plate information,
- Insurance information for each driver,
- Where the accident took place, including cross-streets or mile-markers,
- What the lighting conditions were like,
- What the weather was like,
- What happened leading up to the crash, and
- Any other important details that might indicate who was at fault.
In a drunk driving accident, the intoxicated driver is also committing a crime under Florida law. Because of this, they may try to get you not to call police or otherwise attempt to hide their involvement by fleeing the scene of the crash or switching seats with a passenger in their car. Because the driver is drunk, they may also act belligerently toward you, police, witnesses, and emergency responders. It is important to keep yourself safe, so wait in your car and avoid contact with the other driver if you feel uncomfortable. You should also have all communications take place in front of the police officers, or let them handle the exchange of ID and insurance info.
Also, take note of as much evidence of drunk driving as you can. While you may not have the same training and experience as police in recognizing drunk drivers, you may be able to recognize signs of intoxication, such as:
- Slurred speech;
- The odor of alcohol on the breath;
- Stumbling or inability to walk/stand;
- Open or empty alcohol containers near the driver; and,
- Swerving or dangerous driving leading up to the crash
Any information you can provide about the driver’s intoxication can be helpful in proving your case in court. Especially if the other driver admits to drinking and driving, you may able to testify to this. It is important to remember that DUIs could also be drug-based, so the smell of burnt marijuana or other signs of drug use could also be important if you can recognize these signs.
When Can You Sue for DUI Accidents Under Florida Law?
Florida law allows you to sue for serious car accidents that cause permanent injuries or injuries worth more than $10,000. Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, car insurance typically covers car accident damages in more minor cases. However, you may be able to take your case to court and seek additional damages if the accident was sufficiently serious.
Drunk driving accidents are often more serious than other crashes. When a driver is drunk, their reaction time is slower, and they may be unable to hit the brakes or try to avoid an accident. Their reduced ability to appreciate risks may also mean that the driver was speeding or making reckless driving decisions before or during the crash. In accidents where the driver fails to slow down or hit the brakes, the crash transfers more momentum to the victim’s car and can cause more substantial injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, or even wrongful death.
If you were seriously injured or a family member died in a DUI car accident, talk to an attorney about filing a lawsuit to recover compensation. You may be entitled to receive payments for medical care, pain and suffering, and lost wages if you were seriously injured, or additional damages if you lost a loved one.
Call Our Miami, FL Car Accident Lawyer for Help Fling Your Drinking and Driving Accident Case
If you or a loved one was the victim of a drunk driving car accident in South Florida, talk to Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked today. The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked represent drunk and drugged driving injury victims and fight to get them the compensation they need. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (305) 690-0244.