Drunk Driving Car Accidents

People who drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs place everyone on the road in danger. Drunk driving causes tens of thousands of accidents each year, many of which result in serious injuries or fatalities to other motorists and their passengers.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a drunk-driving car accident, you likely want to hold the responsible party accountable and get the compensation you need. For help, reach out to an experienced drunk-driving car accident lawyer for an objective review of your case and advice regarding your options.

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Drunk Driving Laws

Virtually all states, including Florida and Washington, passed these DUI laws:

  • Anyone older than 21 years of age cannot have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.
  • Commercial drivers who have CDLs may not have a BAC of 0.04 percent or above.
  • Drivers can face enhanced penalties for DUI if they have a minor in the vehicle with them or their BAC exceeds 0.15 percent.

Also, Washington, Florida, and many other states have zero-tolerance rules for minors and those under 21 who drive under the influence of alcohol. Any detectable amount of alcohol in a minor’s system can result in a DUI charge.

All states have implied consent laws regarding DUI. This means drivers have inherently given consent to submit to a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) if arrested for suspicion of DUI. Refusal to take a test can result in administrative penalties, such as driver’s license suspension.

Conviction of DUI can result in license suspension or revocation, jail time, and vehicle impoundment. In many cases, drivers convicted of DUI must install ignition interlock devices on their automobiles.

What Are My Legal Options if I Suffered Injuries in a Drunk Driving Car Accident?

If a drunk driving accident injured you or killed a close family member, you may seek compensation for your damages and losses. Your options will depend on your accident, the extent of your injuries, and other factors.

Consult an experienced drunk driving car accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will evaluate your case, and they may recommend any of the following options:

Insurance Claim

Your attorney can file a car accident claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries and other losses. This typically involves providing evidence of the drunk driver’s negligence and demonstrating your injuries and damages. Your lawyer will need to gather police reports, witness statements, medical records, and documentation of your expenses.

Settlement Negotiations

The insurance company may respond with a low settlement offer that does not cover all your expenses or they may only agree to cover some of your injuries. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurer to convince them to honor the policy and pay you the full amount you deserve.

Civil Lawsuit Against the Drunk Driver

If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement or denies your claim, you can file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver. In a lawsuit, you would need to prove that the drunk driver’s negligence or intentional misconduct caused the accident and resulted in your injuries. Your attorney can guide you through the legal process and build a strong case.

You have a limited time to file a lawsuit against the driver in civil court. For instance, Florida allows you two years, and Washington allows you three. The statute of limitations may vary for wrongful death, so you have no time to lose in contacting an attorney and starting the process.

Criminal Case Involvement

In drunk driving accidents, the driver may face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) or related offenses. You can participate in the criminal proceedings as a victim, providing information and testimony to support the prosecution’s case. The outcome of the criminal case can also influence your civil case or insurance claim.

However, the driver does not have to face criminal charges and the state does not have to convict them of a crime for you to pursue compensation. You may file a civil claim regardless of whether the driver faces any criminal consequences, and your attorney needs only show the driver caused your injuries through a preponderance of evidence rather than proving they drove drunk beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dram Shop Liability

In some cases, you may have a claim against a third party, such as a bar, restaurant, or social host that served alcohol to the drunk driver. Dram shop laws vary by jurisdiction, and they have specific requirements. In many cases, plaintiffs cannot hold an establishment or host liable for serving alcohol to someone who later causes a DUI accident unless the individual was a minor or was known to have an alcohol problem.

Consult an attorney in your state to determine whether you can pursue compensation against a bar, restaurant, adult host, or some other party that served the driver alcohol before the crash.

What Compensation Can I Receive After a Drunk Driving Car Accident?

Whether through an insurance claim or lawsuit, you can pursue compensation to cover your injuries and losses resulting from a drunk driving car accident.

Some common types of damages include:

  • Medical expenses. You could obtain compensation for past, current, and future medical bills related to your injuries.
  • Lost income. You can pursue reimbursement for income lost due to missed workdays or reduced earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering. You may recover compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, and other non-economic damages resulting from the accident and injuries.
  • Property damage. You may receive reimbursement for the repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle or other personal property.

Additionally, courts will sometimes award punitive damages when the defendant’s egregious negligence, intentional misconduct, or unlawfulness caused the victim’s injuries or losses. Since your claim involves a drunk driver, you should discuss with your attorney whether taking your case to court makes sense and follow their recommendations and advice on the likelihood you could obtain punitive damages.

The types and amounts of compensation you could receive will depend on the severity of your injuries and other unique factors in your drunk driving car accident case. An attorney can determine the compensation you can pursue and calculate the amounts you deserve. They can also advocate for you and fight each step of the way to increase your chances of getting the maximum amount possible.

Contact an Experienced Drunk Driving Car Accident Attorney Immediately

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for Car Accident cases near Tampa area.
Tatiana Boohoff, Car Accident Attorney in Tampa.

Pursuing compensation following a drunk driving car accident requires the skills and resources of an experienced attorney. A personal injury attorney in Tempa will understand your state’s criminal DUI laws and personal injury laws and can help you make the most informed decisions. An attorney will also have your best interests at heart, protect your rights, and work diligently to get everything you deserve.

Request A Free Consultation Today!


Boohoff Law, P.A. — Auto Accident Lawyers – Tampa Office

829 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Tampa, FL 33603

Phone: 813-725-5606

June 9, 2023
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