Drunk Driving Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Alcohol plays a large role in many of the accidents that occur on our roads today. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 28% of traffic-related deaths in 2016 were alcohol-related, and sadly, alcohol played a role in 17% of the 1,233 accidents that involved children. With nearly 10,500 deaths in total, it’s not surprising that drunk driving accidents are a huge concern for American drivers.
Florida is not immune to the dangers of drunk driving. In 2018, over 814 of the 3,100 car-related deaths were caused by a drunk driver. While these numbers do show that drunk driving accidents have been decreasing over the last few years, the dangers of drunk driving are still a problem for thousands of Americans and Floridians using our roads today.
Drunk driving accidents cause over $44 billion in damages. These damages include not only property, such as the automobiles involved in the accident, but also include serious drunk driving injuries that can cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for each victim in medical bills, lost wages, long-term care, and pain and suffering.
The types of injuries that occur following a drunk driving accident can cause serious financial harm to a family. When the bills associated with an accident are more than they can handle, a drunk driving lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help. From negotiating with insurance companies, to filing lawsuits for compensation, the Fort Lauderdale drunk driving lawyers at Schlacter Law understand what it takes to ensure that you get the money you need to make you whole again.
How Drunk Driving is Unique
Under normal driving conditions, certain road conditions can cause any driver to lose control and have an accident. Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accidents are unique because at least one driver was impaired by alcohol. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, alcohol can block a brain’s normal signals. When enough alcohol is consumed it leads to intoxication, and this condition can lead to:
- Impulsive behavior
- Poor memory
- Slurred speech
- Numbed reflexes
Driving a vehicle requires many of the skills that alcohol numbs. Impulsive behavior, for example, is the inability of someone to control themselves from types of behavior that may be dangerous or reckless. When driving a vehicle, impulsive decisions could lead a driver to decide to disregard posted speed limits, ignore traffic signs, or fail to follow other safety precautions such as using headlights. With these types of impulsive behavior, drunk drivers are more likely to ignore the rules of the road and cause an accident.
Memory is also an important function for driving. Recalling things such as traffic rules, steering, braking, the location of a destination – these are all fundamental to safely operating a vehicle. Being under the influence of alcohol can affect enough of these functions to make driving dangerous to both the driver, as well as anyone else sharing the roads with them.
While slurred speech may not directly be linked to operating a vehicle improperly, numbed reflexes can severely alter a driver’s ability to control their car. Drunk driving can make it difficult for a driver to respond to varying traffic conditions and reaction times can slow down. For example, if another driver slows or stops abruptly, it is essential that a driver respond quickly and slow down their own vehicle. Because alcohol can numb reflexes it can significantly slow down reaction times and lead to more accidents.
Heavy drinking can take an even greater toll on a drunk driver’s brain over time. Chemical reactions in the brain can cause a further slow-down, creating cognitive impairment that can develop into alcohol-related dementia. This condition can create problems with memory, attention, spatial processing and problem-solving, all essential tools in properly operating an automobile.
Following an accident, if you suspect the other driver was driving drunk, it is important to contact the Fort Lauderdale police immediately. In addition to filing a formal report, the police are able to administer a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) exam to determine if the other driver was driving while intoxicated. This information could be essential in proving fault and liability following an accident. Consult with a Fort Lauderdale DUI accident attorney today so we can assist in determining if the other driver was driving drunk, and help establish the next steps to help get you compensation for any injuries.
Types of Injuries in Fort Lauderdale
Drunk driving accidents can cause several different types of injuries. Typical injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and laceration
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Some of the most common injuries that occur in drunk driving accidents include broken bones, sprains, cuts, and lacerations. These types of injuries are common due to the forces involved in an accident. When a car decelerates quickly and hits another object, the energy released can be explosive, causing drivers and passengers to impact the inside of their vehicle with enough force to break bones and cause sharp objects to break the skin and cause cuts. Additionally, automobile impacts often brake glass windshields and side windows, and this broken glass can seriously cut someone involved in a car accident.
Unfortunately, when an impact is severe enough it can cause serious injuries to a person’s spinal cord. Any damage to the spinal cord can result in partial or total paralysis, and even when an accident isn’t severe enough to cause paralysis, whiplash and other minor spinal cord injuries can create enough of an injury to cause pain and discomfort for months or years.
In a drunk driving accident, any impact to the head can cause serious traumatic brain injuries. Concussions can occur when any part of the car comes in contact with the driver’s or passenger’s head. Even if nothing comes in direct contact with someone’s head, whiplash can cause the brain to impact a victim’s own skull, resulting in swelling and concussions. More serious injuries such as head lacerations can reduce someone’s cognitive abilities and require long-term medical care that can last years and even decades.
Other serious injuries can include internal damage and amputations. Internal injuries can cause serious harm, especially if they are not immediately detected. After a drunk driving accident, it is imperative to seek medical care to ensure that any injuries aren’t worse than they seem. Amputations are extremely serious and cause a drunk driving victim to lose serious amounts of blood. The long-term costs associated with an amputation can also be astronomical, requiring rehabilitation and limited physical prospects for the rest of the victim’s life.
Additional injuries could include long-term pain and emotional distress. These types of injuries may not immediately manifest themselves following an accident but can cause long-term trauma and be the cause of expensive medical bills for years to come. These costs are sometimes difficult to calculate since these costs are often hard to determine immediately following an accident.
If you suffered an injury after a drunk driving accident, speak with a drunk driving accident lawyer today. With years of experience working with accident victims, a Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident lawyer is well equipped to assist you in determining the severity of an accident and how much compensation would be required to make you whole again.
Types of Compensation
Following an accident with a drunk driver, the types of compensation available would vary based on the severity of the injuries and the known and unknown costs associated with the injury. There are three general types of damages available to an accident victim. These types of compensation are known as:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Following an accident, the known costs are considered economic damages. This would include things such as:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital costs
- Lost wages
- Lost income
Since these costs are easy to calculate, it is easier for an attorney to determine the amount of compensation required to reimburse a victim. Other types of injuries are difficult to determine what would require a fair dollar value. These would be considered non-economic damages and might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
The long-term costs and medical care that a victim requires would be very difficult to determine since care could last years and even decades. Because these values are hard to determine, an attorney would need to come up with the best value possible to receive an adequate amount of compensation. Typically, non-economic damages are determined by looking at the known economic damages and multiplying that number by a multiplier, typically a number between 2-5. For example, if known damages come out to $50,000, non-economic damages could be 3 times that number, coming to $150,000.
The multiplier would vary depending on the severity of the injury. Again, an experienced drunk driving lawyer will best be able to determine these numbers based on previous cases and previous outcomes for compensation.
The third type of compensation is known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where a defendant acted in a reckless manner, and with little regard for the consequences. Determining if punitive damages are available following a drunk driving accident might be determined by the number of previous drunk driving arrests and accidents the defendant may have previously been involved in. Typically, punitive damages are rarely awarded, and when they are, Florida places caps on the amount of this type of compensation that is available to a plaintiff.
Following a drunk driving accident, a Fort Lauderdale DUI accident lawyer can help determine the types of compensation available, and help calculate the known and long-term costs associated with an injury. If you were a victim of a drunk driving accident, speak with a drunk driving lawyer in Fort Lauderdale for a consultation.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I was partly responsible for an accident?
Even in cases where a victim was partly responsible for an accident they may still be able to get compensation for their injuries. The doctrine of comparative negligence applies in Florida. This doctrine reduces compensation by the percentage of responsibility attributed to the victim. While this will reduce the overall amount of money available to the plaintiff it would not completely bar recovering damages. If you were injured by drunk driver call Schlacter Law today for a consultation.
How much compensation can I expect to receive?
Without knowing the circumstances that led to your injuries it is extremely difficult to calculate the amount of compensation you might expect to receive. Compensation would be based on the severity of the accident and how far-reaching the injuries are. This might include lost wages, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, as well as the value of pain and suffering. Be sure to talk with a drunk driving injury lawyer today so we can help evaluate a potential claim.
What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
Even if you feel you can’t afford a lawyer it may be possible to initiate a claim without having to pay anything out-of-pocket. Most Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers get paid through a contingency fee. This fee arrangement would give the lawyer a percentage of any money they recover on your behalf. The percentage is typically between 33.33% and 40% of the money awarded to a client. Call us today to start a claim.