What to Do If You Are
Hit by a Drunk Driver
Fender-benders happen frequently on Florida’s highways, but what if you are struck by a drunk driver? What if the collision results in injuries to you or others?
Since you are required to report accidents to the police, the officers who come to investigate at the scene will deal with the impaired driving condition of the other driver, who likely will be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence).
As for your injuries, since Florida is a no-fault automobile insurance state, you need to turn to your insurance policy first. The PIP (Personal Injury Protection) rider will cover your medical expenses up to the maximum of your policy ($10,000 is the minimum requirement), PIP will pay only 80 percent of those expenses.
If your PIP does not cover the full cost of your injuries, especially if your injuries are considered serious, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The damage to your vehicle can be covered by the other driver’s Property Damage Liability (PDL) component of auto insurance.
If you have been injured in a car crash with a drunk driver in Altamonte Springs, Florida, contact me at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius, P.A. I have been helping victims of automobile accidents recover compensation for more than 20 years now. I can help you press your claim with the insurers and in court, if necessary. I proudly serve clients also in communities throughout Central Florida – Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Volusia, and Polk and Lake counties.
Steps to Take After You
Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
The first step is to call 911 and report the accident to get the police on the scene. The police can handle the state of the driver and make an arrest or take other action as necessary. Meanwhile, you need to take the following steps after an accident. If you are injured enough that you need help, convey that on your 911 call as well.
If your injuries allow you, receive the other driver’s contact and insurance information. If there are any witnesses, you must get the witness's contact information and statement. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene, including any road signs that were violated.
Even if you feel your injuries are slight, or perhaps you do not feel any injuries or soreness at all, get medical attention anyway. Injuries have a way of surfacing days and even weeks later. You will want to have the documentation on hand that you sought medical evaluation to press your insurance claim or your personal injury lawsuit.
As soon as you can, jot down or record everything that happened to the best of your memory. Gathering this information can become vital evidence for an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Later, when it becomes available, obtain a copy of the police investigation.
As soon as possible, contact your insurance company and report the accident, but after doing that, contact me at my office so I can carry out the negotiations with the insurer – and also assess what happened and whether we need to pursue other legal actions.
Penalties For the Impaired Driver
Though no one wants to be involved in a car crash, and certainly not when the other driver is impaired, the one advantage is that the at-fault driver will also be charged criminally with a DUI causing property damage and injury. In addition to the other driver being charged with a DUI, it can bolster your case if you go to court to seek compensation.
The drunk driver, depending on the result of the accident, can face anywhere from one year in jail to 30 years in prison. One year in jail is the maximum penalty for a DUI resulting in property damage or a minor injury. A serious injury raises the maximum to five years in prison. Manslaughter earns a maximum of 15 years, and manslaughter coupled with leaving the scene warrants up to 30 years in prison.
Working with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Once you report your claim to your insurance company, you will get a call from an insurance claims adjuster. Claims adjusters protect the company’s bottom line, and adjusters will try to get you to say something that can reduce your settlement. Do not face these challenges alone. I can help handle negotiations with the adjusters.
Also, you can have a good case for a personal injury lawsuit. I can seek to analyze and investigate the accident to determine the best course of action for receiving the just compensation you deserve.
Contact me immediately at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius, P.A. if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a drunken driver. I proudly serve clients in and around Altamonte Springs, including communities throughout Central Florida – Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Volusia, and Polk and Lake counties.