Hit by a Drunk Driver: How Much of a Settlement Can I Expect?
If you or a loved one sustained severe injuries after being hit by a drunk driver, you are likely considering legal action.
You might also wonder what your settlement value could be.
Like most personal injury cases, you may have the right to recover compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial damages. The value of your claim will depend on the injuries you suffered and other details specific to your case.
The best way to determine what your potential settlement value might be is to consult a Florida DUI accident attorney. An attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you about recovering the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Is There an Average Florida Drunk Driving Settlement Amount?
Drunk driving accidents have the potential to cause significant injuries and, often, death. These incidents can destroy lives and tear families apart. The damages that result from these accidents tend to be substantial.
Just as no “average” accident victim or injuries exist, we can’t identify any type of average settlement for drunk driving accidents. However, many drunk driving claims do carry a high potential value for settlement or verdict due to the severe nature of the resulting damages.
Because DUI accidents are always preventable—and typically involve negligence or recklessness by the at-fault party—your settlement might also include punitive damages. Punitive damages, which victims can collect under Florida law, are designed to punish the at-fault party for their actions.
Does the Fact That I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver Make My Case for Compensation Stronger?
For anyone hit by a drunk driver, settlement amounts should compensate the victim for all of their losses and damages. Even though there is no average drunk driver settlement you can use for reference, you deserve to recover fair compensation for what you’ve been through.
Being injured by a drunk driver can make it easier to recover compensation, especially when your lawyer can cite criminal evidence in your case. DUI accident injuries may also entitle you to additional damages that you might not otherwise receive. These damages, known as punitive damages, are intended to punish the drunk driver.
Although Florida statutes bar the recovery of punitive damages without a reasonable foundation for doing so, many DUI accident victims sustain injuries that meet the statutory standards.
To recover punitive damages, your case must go to court. If you win your case in court, the jury will determine whether to award punitive damages and, if so, the amount of the damages.
A car accident attorney can explain more about the damages you may be entitled to and help you determine the best way to recover the compensation you deserve.
What Factors Are Considering When Calculating the Potential Amount of a Drunk Driving Settlement?
When calculating the value of a DUI accident claim, attorneys identify and include all potential damages the victim suffered.
Typically, drunk driving accident victims have the right to pursue compensation for all economic and non-economic damages they incurred. In your case, this might include:
- Medical treatment,
- Lost wages,
- Emotional distress, and
- Pain and suffering.
If you sustained disabling or permanent injuries, you may have the right to recover additional compensation for damages such as diminished earning capacity and diminished quality of life. You might also be entitled to compensation for any future medical treatment or care you require as well as estimated future lost income and benefits.
Finally, as discussed above, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages in a Florida DUI injury accident claim if your case goes to court.
What Evidence Is Most Critical in a Drunk Driving Injury Case?
Attorneys leverage a variety of evidence to prove their client’s claim. For your case, this might include:
- Police and accident reports,
- Witness statements and testimony,
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing,
- Expert witness opinions,
- Surveillance video,
- Accident scene photographs,
- 911 call recordings, and
- Hospital records.
When you work with a drunk driving injury attorney, your legal team will investigate the circumstances of your accident. Your lawyer will obtain the necessary evidence to build a persuasive case based on the facts and details of your claim.
Can I Sue a Drunk Driver If I Was Hit as a Pedestrian?
In most cases, you can sue a drunk driver if you sustained injuries as:
- A driver in another vehicle,
- A passenger in another vehicle,
- A passenger in the drunk driver’s vehicle,
- A pedestrian,
- A bicyclist, or
- A motorcyclist.
Typically, you can sue a drunk driver any time their actions cause you to sustain injuries, no matter what the circumstances might have been. Talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you determine whether you have a viable DUI accident injury claim.
Will the Crime Victim Compensation Fund Pay Me If I’m Hit by a Drunk Driver?
Florida’s Victim Compensation program, overseen by the state’s Attorney General, provides compensation for victims of various types of crimes, including drunk driving. To qualify for compensation, you must complete the necessary paperwork and meet the program’s requirements.
Unfortunately, the Victim Compensation program has limited resources. The program’s benefits will pay up to two-thirds of your medical bills up to a maximum of $10,000. You can recover up to two-thirds of your lost income up to a maximum of $15,000.
This program is invaluable if you have no other way to recover damages. However, many victims prefer to pursue a drunk driving accident claim or lawsuit if their damages exceed these benefit amounts.
What’s the Difference Between Criminal and Civil Drunk Driving Cases?
In a Florida DUI case, the drunk driver faces criminal charges. Upon conviction, drunk drivers face the potential for jail or prison sentences, substantial monetary fines, and other penalties. A criminal DUI case holds the defendant accountable for breaking the law. However, it does not typically benefit the accident victims.
Whether the defendant is ultimately convicted or not, DUI accident victims retain the right to pursue legal action against the defendant. Victims can pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit.
Fortunately, most drunk driving cases never have to go as far as the courtroom. Drunk driving accident victims can pursue compensation through the defendant’s auto liability policy.
In most cases, insurance companies are motivated to settle with victims if the at-fault party was arrested for DUI. They are even more motivated if the defendant pled guilty or was found guilty in court.
Consult a Florida Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
You can pursue a settlement through the insurance company as well as through Florida’s Victim Compensation program on your own. Unfortunately, both processes involve extensive time and documentation. This prevents you from focusing on your recovery and well-being and might not get you the results you are hoping for.
A Florida car accident lawyer can handle your insurance claim and, if necessary, your civil lawsuit. This frees you from having to fight this complex legal battle and helps protect your legal rights.
In Florida, the personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk offer a free consultation. We can explain your options and help you make the best decisions for you and your future. We never collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Over the last 30+ years, we have assisted more than 20,000 clients, recovering more than $300 million. Let us put our experience to work for you. To discuss your drunk driving injury case, contact us today.