Drunk drivers can destroy lives in the blink of an eye. By choosing to drink and drive, a person places themselves in the situation of trying to control a machine weighing several tons and moving at high speeds while their motor skills are impaired. All those factors can come together to spell disaster out on the roads.
Unfortunately, Gainesville does see its share of drunk drivers. Did you suffer serious injuries in a Gainesville drunk driving accident? Steven A. Bagen & Associates can help. Call us today for your free consultation.
Steven A. Bagen & Associates Can Help After Your Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident
Did you suffer serious injuries in a Gainesville drunk driving accident?
Do you have questions about your next steps?
Steven A. Bagen & Associates can help you manage your drunk driving accident claim. Gainesville is one of the primary communities we serve, we have extensive experience with the local court system and have helped many accident victims recover the compensation they need and deserve.
Our compassionate, dedicated legal team can help you learn more about the compensation you deserve.
After suffering serious injuries in a Gainesville drunk driving accident, you probably have a lot of questions about how to bring a claim, including how to figure out how much compensation you deserve or how to pursue it. At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, we go over the claims process with our clients, helping them understand the compensation they could stand to recover and providing them with vital information that can help them bring strong claims.
We build compelling claims and demand the maximum compensation our clients deserve.
Insurance companies aim to limit the compensation they pay out after serious injuries as much as possible. At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, we know how to build a compelling argument to help establish exactly how much compensation you deserve, based on the extent of your injuries, the financial losses you have faced as a result, and the other challenges and expenses you have been forced to deal with.
We zealously advocate for our clients as they move through the Gainesville drunk driving accident claim process.
It can take time to arrive at a reasonable settlement agreement following a Gainesville drunk driving accident. Having a lawyer on your side can provide you with the assurance you need to persist. We provide our clients comprehensive advice, from how to build up evidence to support their claims, to evaluating how any given fair settlement is. But beyond that, we can take over negotiations with an insurance company and, if they refuse to settle fairly, advocate for our clients in court to pursue maximum damages.
The Risk of Drunk Driving Accidents in Gainesville
Alcohol-impaired drivers contribute to an estimated one out of three fatal accidents across the United States. There are unique features of the law, culture, and social dynamics in Florida and Gainesville that may contribute to the frequency and severity of drunk driving accidents.
Florida dram shop laws help protect the bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, even to intoxicated drivers.
Dram shop laws dictate when a server of alcohol may be held liable for any drunk driving accident that follows. In some states, plaintiffs can hold the server liable for the accident. However, according to Florida law, plaintiffs can only hold a Gainesville establishment liable if they served a person with a known alcohol addiction. As a result, Gainesville bars and restaurants are not as incentivized to limit the amount of alcohol they serve patrons.
With the University of Florida located in Gainesville, game days can prove hazardous.
Tailgating on game day is a cultural mainstay for University of Florida fans. Fans may overindulge in alcohol, but worse, they may then decide to get back on the road home after a day of drinking by barbecues, at the stadium, or in sports bars and restaurants. These fans are likely to have a much higher blood-alcohol content than is safe in drivers.
Gainesville traffic is often heavy and potentially hazardous.
Driving along I-75, for example, may mean encountering a thick wave of high-speed or bumper-to-bumper traffic. Drunk drivers have a hard enough time not ending up in accidents on roads with light traffic. At the height of freeway traffic, an accident can be all but inevitable. Not only are the drunk driver’s motor vehicle skills impaired, but other drivers in heavy traffic often contribute to accidents, such as by becoming distracted or driving recklessly to get past the crowds.
A high percentage of Florida drivers do not carry auto insurance.
Having to worry about being the victim of a drunk driving accident is concerning enough—having to worry that there will be no insurance resource to pay for the damages is even worse. However, as many as 20 percent of Florida drivers do not carry auto insurance, likely because of the high cost of insurance in the state—even though Florida drivers legally must carry personal injury protection insurance and liability insurance.
With the high risk of an accident with an uninsured driver, Gainesville drunk driving accidents can leave many victims unsure how to pursue compensation or what they should do next.
Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Drunk driving accidents often lead to more severe injuries than accidents involving sober drivers. Drunk drivers lack the motor skills needed to safely navigate around potential hazards on the road, which tends to lead to more high-impact accidents. Furthermore, drunk drivers often engage in more reckless or aggressive behaviors, including speeding and tailgating, which also tend to increase the risk of severe injury.
Drunk driving accidents may cause injuries such as:
- Head trauma/traumatic brain injury
- Back and neck injuries, including spinal cord injury or herniated discs
- Broken bones
- Organ trauma
- Severe lacerations, including potential facial injuries
Whatever injuries you may have suffered in a Gainesville drunk driving accident, you may have grounds for a compensation claim. Contact Steven A. Bagen & Associates to learn more about the compensation you may have the right to recover after a Gainesville drunk driving accident.
How Much Compensation Should You Expect After a Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident?
No attorney can guarantee the compensation you will ultimately recover for your drunk driving accident injuries. However, at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, we can help break down the compensation you should expect and, after a free consultation, give you an estimated range of what you could recover. There are a few key questions to answer in determining your potential recovery.
How much coverage does the liable driver have?
Most Florida drivers carry insurance to provide compensation to victims of serious accidents caused by their negligence on the road. The amount of coverage a driver carries, though, may vary widely, and the coverage of the drunk driver in your accident could limit your compensation.
Having an attorney is crucial to determining all available insurance resources and other potential means of compensation. An attorney can identify and review all applicable policies and advise you about the amounts available and the types of coverage or compensation that the insurance company might not tell you about.
What injuries did you sustain, and how much does treatment cost?
One of the biggest financial drains after a Gainesville drunk driving accident will likely be your medical bills. The more severe your drunk driving accident injuries, the higher your medical bills are likely to be, and the more compensation you may deserve.
After a Gainesville drunk driving accident, you should use your personal injury protection insurance to cover the initial cost of your medical care. Once you have met the limits of your PIP insurance in medical costs, you can pursue compensation through the liable driver’s insurance company for any medical bills over that amount.
Talk to a Gainesville drunk driving accident lawyer to learn more about what specific bills you may include as part of your claim. Not only should you carefully track all your medical bills—particularly since you may receive multiple bills for the same procedure (anesthesia, hospital fees, and doctor’s fees for a surgical procedure, for example)—you should make sure you include all medical procedures and costs associated with your accident, from the cost of durable medical equipment to physical or occupational therapy necessary to restore mobility and independence following your accident.
How much work did you have to miss because of your drunk driving accident injuries?
Missed work can pile on an already heavy financial burden in the aftermath of a serious drunk driving accident in Gainesville. Your drunk driving accident injuries can leave you extremely limited, being unable to perform your usual work tasks.
Whether you typically work at an active job that requires you to stay on your feet, and broken bones prevent you from doing that job, or you have a job that requires you think quickly and your traumatic brain injury has interfered with your ability to focus or think creatively on the fly, you may miss out on a significant amount of work time immediately after your accident. As part of your drunk driving accident claim, you can pursue compensation for your lost wages.
What other impact has the accident had on your life?
While a drunk driving accident claim certainly aims to recover compensation for the financial losses you faced after your accident, the impact of your injuries on your life may go well beyond the tangible medical bills and lost wages. Many accident victims suffer immense emotional distress and considerable physical pain.
You may lose connections to friends and loved ones when your injuries prevent you from engaging with them normally, or you may miss the activities that you usually enjoy. Talk to your lawyer about all losses you have suffered because of your accident and how you can include them as part of your drunk driving accident claim.
Determining the Liable Party in a Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident
Identifying the liable party after your drunk driving accident can help you establish who you need to file a claim against and, as a result, how much compensation you may recover.
Does the drunk driver automatically bear liability for the accident?
In a drunk driving case, the drunk driver is obviously the most likely liable party. In fact, they often bear full liability for the accident. However, in some cases, other actors may have played a part in the accident.
Another driver may have driven recklessly, causing the drunk driver to swerve into you. The drunk driver may have been on-the-job, potentially making their employer liable. Because of the potential for multiple liable parties, hire an attorney who can identify every potentially liable party and help you build your claims against them.
What happens if the other driver does not receive a drunk driving conviction?
You may have assumed the other driver’s inebriation would make it easy to prove that you have grounds for a drunk driving accident claim. However, you may later hear that the drunk driver was not convicted for DUI or DWI. This does not mean your claim is over too. Bringing criminal charges for intoxicated driving is generally more difficult than bringing a civil case against a drunk driver.
The evidence the state must produce and the legal procedure it must show it followed is stringent. Therefore, a drunk driver may not face a criminal conviction but still need to pay victims for civil damages. While a drunk driving conviction can help your claim, you can move forward even if a court doesn’t convict the other driver.
Contact Our Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers as Soon as Possible
Did you suffer serious injuries in a Gainesville drunk driving accident? Contact Steven A. Bagen & Associates today at 800-BAGEN-LAW to learn more about your right to compensation.