Maybe you were out driving Wednesday night before Thanksgiving when it happened. Or perhaps it was on the way to the big meal. Or afterwards when you were feeling happy and sated as you headed home.
One second everything was normal, and the next your life was spinning out of control – possibly even literally. The other driver came out of nowhere to slam into your car, demolishing your holiday. You’re still thankful – but now that thankfulness is focused squarely on the fact that you’re still alive.
Why did this happen? Because the other driver was drunk. This is a scene that plays out every single day of the year, but around the Thanksgiving holiday it’s sadly a lot more common – especially on the night before Thanksgiving.
Blackout Wednesday Is Real – and Horrible
The night before Thanksgiving has recently developed its own traditions: large numbers of college students and adults alike come back to their hometown bars and enjoy drinks with old friends. It doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. Who doesn’t like to have a drink while they catch up?
Unfortunately, since they have the next day off for Thanksgiving, many people who head out for a drink end up having more than they should. So not only are there more people on the road in general, a higher percentage of them probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel. The result: an increased number of DUI accidents.
Of course, it doesn’t stop with Blackout Wednesday. Between Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Eve, Americans see tens of thousands of car accidents, many involving drunk drivers. At least 400 drivers die during Thanksgiving weekend alone.
Accidents with a drunk driver can be brutal, and rack up thousands of dollars in damages, and potentially serious injuries to you or a loved one. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous and absolutely not acceptable – especially in the age of rideshare apps and smartphone breathalyzers.
If a drunk driver hits you, there’s a good chance that he or she will face criminal consequences. That doesn’t help you deal with your financial losses, though, so luckily there is an additional way for you to get justice. If another driver’s negligence has caused damage, injury, or death to you or a loved one, you can receive compensation for what you had to endure.
Ways to Get Compensation after Getting in an Accident with a Drunk Driver
What do you need to do to receive the fair and just compensation that you deserve?
File a claim
You have a pretty good case against a drunk driver, but after an accident you should still make a call to your insurance company early on. Florida goes by “no-fault” insurance laws, so the other driver’s negligence (or your own) will not play a part in whether you get compensated through insurance – at least up to the $10,000 guaranteed through PIP. Even if it doesn’t cover the full amount, this option may also get money to you faster.
File a personal injury lawsuit
In the event that you sustained a more significant or permanent injury from a drunk driving accident, you may want to file a lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney can work with you to collect important evidence and documentation and make sure you have a strong case. Even if you think the situation is open-and-shut, it’s always wise to have a knowledgeable professional by your side who can identify any potential problems or arguments the other side might make and work out a strategy to fight back.
File a wrongful death suit
In the event that a drunk driver takes the life of your loved one, you will have more expenses to worry about than just hospital bills and a damaged car. For accidents that result in fatalities, consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by spouses, children, and relatives of the deceased – even if they were not present for the drunk driving accident.
Obviously no amount of money can bring back your loved one – that’s not the point. In a wrongful death suit, you can ask for damages that will cover things like the cost of the funeral, lost income, emotional trauma, or other expenses related to coping with your loved one’s death. Talk to a personal injury lawyer about whether a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate for your case.
As much as you might want to, you can’t go back to a time before the accident happened. All you can really do is try to pick up the pieces and move forward with your life. One of the biggest obstacles to doing that after a serious injury is dealing with all of the expenses. A Florida auto accident lawyer can help, but only if you get in touch.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 AVVO Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for 2010-2013 and Super Lawyers for 2014-2016.. Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.