Orlando Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Drunk driving is not only illegal, but dangerous. Those who get behind the wheel after having too much to drink risk harming others in a severe, possibly fatal, because of their negligent choices. Sustaining severe injuries after a drunk driver has hit your car, bike, or motorcycle devastates victims and their families; pedestrians are lucky to live through an encounter with a drunk driver. In any case, accident injury victims often need to miss large chunks of time from their job, losing wages as they continue to amass medical expenses. The financial stress adds to the emotional trauma of injury and recovery.
If you have been harmed in an accident with a drunk driver or lost a loved one, Florida law entitles you to seek compensation for damages related to the auto accident and your loss. Michael T. Gibson, P.A. has years of experience helping drunk driving accident victims seek the compensation they deserve. If you live in the Orlando area, call (407) 490-1271 for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for compensation.
Our Results in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
The dedicated legal team at Michael T. Gibson, P.A. has been seeking justice for accident injury victims for almost two decades, including those who have been harmed in a drunk driving accident. The firm’s passionate commitment to exceptional client service and the pursuit of justice has led to the recovery of millions of dollars of damages from settlements and court verdicts in favor of the plaintiff. Our recent auto accident cases can show you what we have done for others in similar circumstances.
These results are only examples and do not guarantee an outcome for your case. Each case has unique circumstances which determine if a victim receives compensation, and how much they might receive. We can, however, guarantee that we will do our best to build a strong case against the defense and fight for the best outcome for your situation.
Florida Drunk Driving by the Numbers
In the last three decades, drunk driving fatalities have decreased by more than 30 percent across the United States, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Yet, almost 30 people per day still die in drunk driving crashes. Data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reveals drunk driving in Florida has also decreased over recent years. According to the FLHSMV:
- Alcohol-related traffic collisions in Florida have decreased by more than seven percent over the last three years.
- In 2015, drunk drivers in Florida caused 450 fatal crashes, the highest number of alcohol-related fatal crashes in recent years.
- Fatal alcohol-related crashes in Florida have decreased by about 25 percent since 2015.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida’s alcohol-related crash statistics have historically fallen above the nation’s average, especially among the 21 to 34 age group, who are most likely to drink and drive.
How Does Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Affect a Drunk Driving Accident?
Florida’s no fault insurance laws require Florida residents who register a motor vehicle to carry a minimum of $10,000 in coverage each for property damage liability (PDL) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. When an accident occurs, each driver files a claim under their own carrier to recover losses related to the accident. In Florida, PIP coverage includes the following:
- 80 percent of the costs of necessary medical treatment related to injuries resulting from the accident up to the policy limit
- 60 percent of lost wages incurred as a result of injury, hospitalization, and treatment related to the accident up to the policy limit
When a drunk driving accident injuries are catastrophic or severe, it’s not uncommon for victims to quickly meet and exceed their PIP policy limit. In these cases, victims must try to seek compensation for damages with the help of a qualified Florida personal injury attorney who has experience with auto accidents and drunk driving accidents.
Potential Injuries From a Florida Drunk Driving Accident
Sometimes being involved in a drunk driving accident doesn’t result in serious injury. Other times, drunk driving accidents are severe or fatal and cause serious injury requiring immediate medical treatment. Those who suffer harm in a drunk driving accident might experience one or more of the following injuries:
- Fractured and broken bones. A broken bone isn’t typically a severe injury; however, when accidents occur at high speeds and victims suffer multiple fractures, they might have to undergo multiple surgeries with screws, pins, or plates used for reconstruction.
- Head injuries. A head injury is among the most serious of all accident injuries. Victims can experience direct trauma when something strikes their head during impact, or indirect trauma from impact, which might lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those who suffer a TBI might face chronic pain and continuing struggles with thinking, remembering, and other cognitive functions. TBI victims might also have difficulties with vision, hearing, and other senses and often suffer behavioral changes, especially increasing aggressiveness.
- Neck injuries. The most common neck injury from a drunk driving accident is whiplash, soft tissue damage from a person’s neck getting jarred upon the impact of the collision. Those who suffer severe whiplash might face weeks or months of rehabilitation before potentially making a full recovery.
- Back injuries. The force from a drunk driving accident can cause a driver’s or occupant’s body to twist in many different positions depending on seat belt use, airbag deployment, and the speed upon impact. The result can be severe back injuries which include broken, bulged, or slipped vertebrae. Back injuries often cause victims chronic pain that continues for life, even with one or more corrective surgeries.
- Spinal cord injuries. A minor spinal cord injury might result in temporary loss of function or paralysis, but as the swelling subsides and healing occurs, many victims make a full recovery. Yet, when damage to the spinal cord is severe, victims face permanent paralysis and loss of bodily functions in some or all of the body. Generally speaking, the higher up on the spinal cord an injury occurs, the more severe the permanent loss might be. The spine carries messages from the brain throughout the central nervous system, so injuries closer to the head and neck potentially stop more messages from reaching their final destination. Spinal cord injuries which cause permanent disability result in extensive costs for medical treatment, long-term care, assistive technology, and assistive devices.
- Crushed limbs. Drunk driving accidents which occur at high speeds put drivers and occupants at risk for their limbs getting pinned and crushed in the car when impact occurs. Pedestrians and bicyclists might also get pinned under a car or truck during a drunk driving accident. Crushed limbs require extensive recovery and in many cases, amputation. Victims who must experience the physical pain of amputation, recovery, and phantom limb pain also face emotional struggles and mental anguish in the wake of a drunk driving accident.
- Burns. When a drunk driving accident leads to an explosion and/or fire, those involved can suffer severe burns. Depending on the degree of the burn and the extent to which it covers the body, victims might suffer permanent scars and require multiple skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries.
Third Party Liability in Florida Drunk Driving Accidents
In many drunk driving cases, Florida courts easily find the drunk driver liable for damages. Yet, in some cases, one or more third parties might share liability with the driver. Some examples include:
- Employers. If a person drives a company vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and causes an accident, a Florida court might find the employer partially liable for damages from a drunk driving accident.
- Businesses which sell alcohol. Under Florida law, restaurants, bars, and other business who knowingly serve “a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages,” or a minor under age 21, can be responsible for damages if the person they serve leaves their establishment and causes harm to another in a drunk driving accident.
- Social hosts. Those who provide alcohol to others in a social setting such as a party or celebration can also be liable for damages if they knowingly serve an alcoholic or a minor.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics in Orlando, FL
Recovering Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident
Once you have met or exceeded the limits of your mandatory PIP policy, which also extends to pedestrians, motorists, and children in your vehicle, you can seek additional compensation by bringing a lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused you harm. If a Florida court rules in your favor, you might receive punitive and compensatory damages for your injuries. Punitive damages are reserved for extreme cases, so don’t expect them. Your attorney will advise you on the likelihood of punitive damages for your case.
Florida courts most often award compensatory damages in personal injury cases to compensate victims for economic and non-economic losses related to the accident and accompanying injuries. Compensatory damages which are most commonly awarded include the following costs:
- Medical treatment including ambulance ride and emergency room visit, hospitalization, surgery, radiology, follow-up care, and medication
- Future medical treatment when a drunk driving accident causes a life-altering injury which requires extending recovery time or results in a permanent disability which requires lifelong treatment and nursing care
- Rehabilitation with physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other specialists which help victims recover bodily function
- Assistive devices and technology such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, artificial limbs, and special computer programs used for communication
- Lost wages from missing work due to the accident, injury, hospitalization, and recovery
- Lost earning capacity when a drunk driving accident causes a severe injury or permanent disability preventing an accident injury victim from returning to their job
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
If you lost a child or other family member as a result of a drunk driving accident, you might be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death suit depending on your relationship with the deceased. In a wrongful death suit in Florida, you might be able to recover some of the damages above as well as burial costs and funeral expenses. Your trusted attorney will guide you on what applies to your family’s circumstances.
Hire an Orlando Drunk Driving Accident Attorney at Michael T. Gibson P.A. Today
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Michael T. Gibson P.A. understand the difficulties you and your family might be facing after a drunk driving accident. In addition to guiding you through the lawsuit process, we will investigate your accident to uncover facts that build a strong case against the drunk driver who harmed you or your family. This allows you to focus on coping with your loss and dealing with the aftermath of a severe accident.
Our team will handle communications with relevant parties and negotiate with insurance companies to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. When settlement is not an option, our skilled litigators will fight for justice in the courtroom and help to make sure the drunk driver who caused your accident gets held accountable for his or her actions.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or died in a drunk driving accident in the Greater Orlando area, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden caused by a severe accident. You deserve full and fair compensation for your losses.
Contact Michael T. Gibson P.A. today online or call (407) 490-1271 for a free consultation to share the details of your case. We will evaluate your case, determine your eligibility for compensation, and advise you on the best course of action for your situation. If you choose Michael T. Gibson, P.A. to represent you in your drunk driving accident case, you will not have to pay our attorney fees out-of-pocket. We handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, and deduct fees from any compensation you receive in a settlement or court-awarded damages.