DUI Accidents in St. Petersburg

Were you involved in a drunk driving accident due to negligence? The St. Petersburg DUI accident lawyers at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys have extensive experience serving clients injured in DUI crashes. So, we know how to fight for the financial assistance to get you through this difficult time.

Our Attorneys have over 25 years of collective legal experience and millions of dollars recovered on behalf of accident injury victims in cases like St. Petersburg brain injuries, taxi accidents, bus accidents and more. For more information about DUI accidents as well as how a St. Petersburg DUI accident lawyer can help you, continue reading below.

How Can a St. Petersburg DUI Accident Lawyer Help?

How Can Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys Help After a DUI Accident in St. Petersburg, FL?

Drunk driving accidents are not meant to take lightly. However, Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys has been providing quality legal assistance to injured clients for decades. So, you can trust us to put that extensive experience to work for you.

It’s difficult to focus on getting healthy when your thoughts are preoccupied with money worries. How are you going to cover everything? Accidents change your life in a wide range of ways, and you never know when things will return to normal.

Fortunately, that’s where our car accident lawyers can assist. We’ll take care of the legal matters so you can focus on your recovery. When you contact us to defend you in your personal injury claim, our St. Petersburg DUI accident attorneys will carry out the following:

  • Investigate the DUI accident. 
  • Examine crash reports, medical records, and other relevant documentation.
  • Consult with drunk driving experts. 
  • Handle all discussions and negotiations involving the drunk driver with the ability to take your case to court if necessary.

Our objective is to ensure that you receive a just settlement that compensates you in full for your injuries and losses. Insurance firms, on the other hand, have different ideas. They would rather settle your lawsuit for substantially less than you deserve. Having one of our DUI accident lawyers on your side can make all the difference. 

How Common are DUI Accidents in Florida?

In a recent year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that “About 31% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher).” Even though driving under the influence is illegal everywhere, someone dies in a drunk driving crash every 39 minutes.

Furthermore, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), a recent year saw approximately 5,232 alcohol-only, drunk driving-related crashes in Florida, resulting in over 3,052 injuries and 406 fatalities. This represents a slight increase of about 2% in alcohol-only drunk driving incidents compared to a prior year.

Types of DUI Accidents in St. Petersburg

Driving under the influence of alcohol diminishes one’s capacity to operate a car safely. In other words, a drunk driver’s reaction times, and decision-making ability are significantly affected by alcohol.

As a result, DUI accidents are more likely to occur at high speeds or include particularly risky types of crashes, such as:

  • High speeds: Drunk drivers are more likely to speed, increasing the severity of any collision.
  • T-bone and sideswipe crashes: Impaired judgment can cause drivers to misjudge distances and enter intersections or change lanes recklessly.
  • Rear-end collisions: Drunken drivers often have slower reaction times, leading to rear-ending the vehicle in front.
  • Motorcycle, Bicycle, and pedestrian accidents: Drunk drivers pose a particular danger to vulnerable road users like motorcyclists and pedestrians.

If you’ve been involved in a DUI accident in St. Petersburg, remember you have legal options.

Injuries Common in DUI Accidents

Because they are not paying full attention, inebriated drivers do not have the response time of sober drivers. The result is serious accidents in which victims suffer injuries such as:

  • Lacerations and cuts
  • Bone fractures or breaks
  • Burns
  • Sprains and rips in the muscles
  • Injuries to the head, neck and chest
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Internal bleeding as well as organ damage
  • Paralysis and other impairments
  • Whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries

At Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys, our St. Petersburg DUI accident lawyers are prepared to offer a tenacious, excellent legal defense. We will be tireless in fighting for the finances you require so you can have a more stress-free recovery.

What Kinds of Damages Can You Recover in a DUI Accident?

Following a DUI accident, victims face not only the physical and emotional trauma of the event but also the burden of unexpected expenses. The legal concept of “damages” allows them to seek compensation for these losses, both financial and non-financial, caused by the drunk driver’s negligence. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of damages recoverable in a DUI accident:

1. Economic Damages: These are tangible, out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident. They can be easily documented and calculated:

  • Current and future medical expenses: This covers all costs associated with medical treatment, including doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery, therapy, medication, and rehabilitation. Future medical needs resulting from permanent injuries are also considered.
  • Income loss: This compensates for lost wages due to missed workdays, reduced work hours, or complete inability to work as a result of the accident. It can also account for future lost earning potential if your injuries impact your long-term work capacity.
  • Property damage: This covers repairs or replacement of your vehicle or other personal belongings damaged in the accident.
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses: This may include transportation costs to and from medical appointments, childcare costs due to your injuries, or home modifications required for your recovery.

2. Non-Economic Damages: These are harder to quantify as they represent intangible losses and suffering endured by the victim:

  • Pain and suffering: This compensates for the physical and emotional pain experienced due to the accident and its ongoing consequences.
  • Mental anguish: This addresses the emotional distress, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that may develop following the accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: This recognizes how the accident has impacted your ability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed due to your physical or emotional limitations.
  • Loss of consortium: This compensates a spouse for the loss of companionship, intimacy, and support due to the accident’s impact on the injured person’s physical or emotional capacity.

3. Punitive Damages: In cases involving DUI accidents, where the drunk driver’s actions demonstrate a blatant disregard for the safety of others, the court may award punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate the victim but to punish the driver and deter similar behavior from others.

It’s important to remember that every case is unique, and the specific types and amounts of damages recoverable will vary depending on the severity of the injuries as well as the long-term impact on the victim’s life.

Florida: Understanding DUI Laws and Insurance After an Accident

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Florida, where the rate of DUI-related fatalities is unfortunately higher than the national average.

DUI Laws:

  • Florida has a strict DUI law: For adults, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. Drivers under 21 face a lower limit of 0.02%.
  • Chemical testing is mandatory: If lawfully arrested for DUI, you must submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your BAC.
  • Refusing the test has consequences: A refusal will lead to license suspension and can be used as evidence against you in court.

No-Fault Insurance and Car Accidents:

  • Florida’s no-fault system: Unlike some states, Florida requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of who caused the accident. This coverage helps with medical expenses and lost wages after an accident.
  • Minimum PIP coverage: All drivers must have at least $10,000 in PIP coverage.
  • Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage: This minimum $10,000 coverage helps pay for repairs or replacement of your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident.

Recovering Damages from a Drunk Driver:

  • PIP claim: If you’re injured by a drunk driver, you can file a PIP claim to recover your initial financial losses.
  • PDL claim: This can be used to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
  • Third-party claim or lawsuit (for serious injuries): If your injuries meet the legal definition of “serious” in Florida, you can file a claim against the drunk driver’s insurance or even sue them directly to recover the full extent of your losses, including pain and suffering.

Steps to Take After a DUI Accident

Being involved in a DUI accident can be a physically and emotionally traumatic experience. While the details leading up to the accident are crucial, here’s what to focus on after the immediate danger has passed:

1. Seek Medical Attention:

Your health is paramount. Even if you feel okay initially, adrenaline can mask injuries. Get checked by a doctor as soon as possible to document any injuries and receive proper treatment. This is crucial not only for your recovery but also for your potential legal claim.

2. Gather Evidence (if possible):

If you’re physically able, document the scene meticulously.

  • Exchange contact information with all parties involved.
  • Note down details like vehicle information, weather conditions, time of day, and the location of the accident.
  • Look for signs of intoxication in the at-fault driver.
  • Take pictures of the damage, skid marks, and the overall scene.
  • If possible, try to collect statements from any witnesses.

3. Contact a Legal Professional:

St. Petersburg car accident lawyers can guide you through the legal process, understand your rights, and help you navigate the complexities of filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the negligent driver.

Time is Crucial in DUI Accident Claims:

If you’ve been injured in a DUI accident in Florida, understanding the statute of limitations is crucial. You generally have four years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim, including claims against the establishment that served alcohol to the intoxicated driver.

Florida’s Dram Shop Law:

Florida’s law limits liability for establishments serving alcohol. They can only be held responsible if they served alcohol to:

  • A minor: Someone under the legal drinking age (21 in Florida).
  • A “habitually addicted” person: Someone known to have a severe alcohol dependency.

Seek Legal Guidance Promptly:

Building a strong case takes time. Don’t wait until close to the deadline to contact an attorney. The sooner you seek legal guidance, the better your chances of securing a favorable outcome.

Call our St. Pete Car Accident Law Firm at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys Today

If you suffered injuries caused by a drunk driver, contact our St. Petersburg, Florida law offices to arrange a free consultation with one of our skilled car accident lawyers. We’ll go over your case with you, as well as discuss your legal options.

Additionally, because we work on a contingency fee basis, you owe no attorney’s fees unless we secure a financial award on your behalf.