Punitive damages against drunk drivers
Under Florida law, insurance companies do not normally have to pay punitive damages, but only compensatory damages such as loss of income, medical bills, and intangible damages such as pain and suffering. However, there are exceptions when insurance companies, employers, and owners of vehicles are responsible for paying punitive damages. Examples include:
- When the owner of a car was aware that a drunk person was going to operate his or her vehicle
- When an employer failed to take away a car given to an employee after gaining knowledge that the employee had prior DUI arrests or convictions
The fact pattern that arises when a drunk driver injures or kills someone must be individually analyzed to determine whether punitive damages may apply. However, the big picture in these cases is that people get MAD, just like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) organization, when a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car and injures someone.
Free legal consultation: There is never a charge to talk to a Miami injury attorney at the law firm of Bernstein & Maryanoff. With a principal office in Miami, numerous other offices across Florida, and the willingness to make house calls, our attorneys will be there when you need them. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis.
Miami Drunk Driving Lawsuit FAQs
Can you sue someone for drunk driving in Miami?
Yes, you can sue someone for drunk driving in civil court in Miami. Whether or not the responsible person faces criminal charges, you may be able to file your own legal claim. The exact laws for the case depend on state laws that may vary. In Florida, you may sue someone for drunk driving in Miami when an accident causes serious, permanent or disfiguring injuries.
How can a drunk driving attorney help a victim?
Here are just some of the ways that a drunk driving attorney can help a victim:
- Determining what party or parties are legally at fault for the accident and who may be named in the claim
- Identifying and documenting injuries from a legal proof standpoint
- Evaluating and requesting all types of compensation, including pain and suffering
- Drafting legal documents
- Gathering and preparing evidence
- Speaking for you at court appearances
- Filing legal motions
- Going to trial
- Negotiating a settlement
- Helping you understand the pros and cons of accepting a settlement
- Drafting and collecting a final judgment
Ultimately, an attorney helps you understand what you may receive in compensation and what’s involved in bringing a claim. They help you strategize to maximize your claim. Plus, they put their training and skill to work to manage the legal process and advance your interests.
How much can someone sue for a drunk driving accident in Florida?
Florida law allows someone to sue for a drunk driving accident to collect for their physical injuries, property damages and non-economic losses. Non-economic damages cover a range of ways that a victim’s life changes intangibly because of the accident. Things like physical suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience and lifestyle changes may all be a part of a claim. The exact amount that you can claim depends on your injuries and all of your losses because of the accident.
What is Florida law for suing a drunk driver?
Florida law for suing a drunk driver comes from Florida statutes 627.737¹ and Florida statutes 768.81². Under Florida law 627.737, a victim may bring a suit for pain, suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience when the victim suffers injuries that are:
- Serious or significant
Florida law 768.81 discusses negligence actions and provides for contributor fault and apportionment of damages. Drunk driving generally qualifies as negligence or a failure to take ordinary care for the safety of others. It may also be considered recklessness. When drunk driving causes an accident that results in serious injury to a victim, Florida law allows the victim to claim fair compensation for their injuries.
Contact Bernstein & Maryanoff for a Free Case Evaluation
Our attorneys are accepting new cases, and your consultation is always free. There are time limits that apply to bringing a claim, and it’s essential to work quickly to investigate and document your injuries. Bring your questions and let us help you understand what you may receive in compensation. Contact us today by phone or message to begin.
Additional Car Accident Resources:
10 Rights of Car Accident Victims in Florida
Florida Car Accident Economic Damages
How Much Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Miami?
¹FLA. STAT. § 627.737 (2020)
²FLA. STAT. § 768.81 (2020)
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