Driving under the influence is a transgression that leads to negative consequences. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver in Lakeland, contact a DUI attorney immediately! According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 people die every day in crashes involving a driver impaired by alcohol. This is tragic, but there are laws to help cover damages for victims of drunk drivers.
Recovering After an Accident with a DUI Attorney at Dismuke Law
Permanent injuries, disfigurement, or a death can force you to rack up thousands of dollars in bills or take time off work, and miss out on paychecks. In addition to the physical damage that a drunk driving accident can cause, you may be facing emotional distress including anxiety, PTSD, or depression. Unfortunately, neither the court system nor a DUI attorney can ‘fix’ the emotional distress from an accident in Lakeland. However, by hiring a lawyer, you may be able to receive financial compensation to help offset the monetary setbacks.
Damages as a DUI Accident Victim
The state of Florida has implemented several laws that are designed to help protect those involved. For example, punitive damages punish the defendant for their poor conduct. Other damages —compensatory damages— cover specific losses.
To obtain punitive damages, the court must grant special permission. Therefore, to receive permission, a plaintiff must establish reasonable grounds. This is to prevent abuse of the legal system, as there are plaintiffs that may seek damages beyond compensatory damages even without substance behind their claims. Generally, to demonstrate the grounds for punitive damages, evidence of reckless or reprehensible behavior on the part of the driver must be shown. A DUI attorney can help gather evidence, including witness statements or police reports, to establish grounds. Punitive damages are meant to prevent further misconduct on the part of the impaired driver, and usually, if awarded, will come straight out of their pocket.
With the help of a DUI attorney in Lakeland, punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant:
- Behaved in a reckless manner such as speeding, failing to obey stop signs, or leaving the scene of the accident.
- Is receiving charges of DUI manslaughter.
- Failed to maintain their vehicle in a way that caused safety hazards, affecting the accident (broken taillights, faulty brakes, etc.).
- Engaged in criminal behavior that caused an accident in Lakeland.
In Florida, the award for punitive damages cannot exceed three times the award for compensatory damages, or $500,000, depending on whichever is higher.
Compensatory damages cover the basic expenses after an accident in Lakeland. This includes:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, ambulance fees, costs for transportation, rehab, procedures, medication, and more.
- Lost wages because most people miss work due to the repercussions of the accident. This may include wages for the past and the future.
- Pain and suffering, whether emotional, physical, financial, or otherwise.
- Loss of earning capacity if the injuries prevent the victim from earning wages in the future.
- Loss of consortium if you or the victim has a spouse.
If you have any questions about whether certain damages apply to your case, consult a DUI attorney in Lakeland.
David C. Dismuke
At Dismuke Law, a DUI attorney can help you recover after you have been the victim of a DUI accident in Lakeland. Lawyer David C. Dismuke has been practicing in the legal field since graduating from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2001. He practices in the areas of Personal Injury, Motor Vehicle Negligence, Premises Liability, and Legal Malpractice. As a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial attorney and AV Preeminent 5/ 5 Peer Review Rated lawyer, he has the knowledge and experience to help your case succeed.