Although drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it is still a major issue in Tampa. The latest statistics from the Tampa PD show 2,119 drunk driving collisions in 2019 resulted in five fatalities and 1,242 injuries. There were 3,068 DUI arrests in Tampa in 2021 and 2,119 DUI arrests in 2019. DUI accounted for 3.2% of all arrests in Tampa during 2019, significantly higher than the state average.
If you or a loved one have suffered devastating physical and mental injuries after a drunk driving accident in Tampa, FL, you have protection under the law to seek reparation for all the damages. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a heavily penalized criminal offense. A drunk driving accident lawyer will help you gather evidence, build a solid case and file a compensation claim. The following three main types of damages are recoverable under Florida laws.
Compensatory damages are quantifiable monetary losses. They form the main part of damages awarded after a successful claim.
Past, Current, and Future Medical Expenses
All medical expenses incurred during the accident should be part of the final compensation package. Medical expenses include healthcare expenses, ambulance costs, transport costs to and from medical appointments, rehabilitative equipment, and prescription drugs. Ensure you preserve the purchase receipts and doctors’ records for calculating current and future medical costs.
You deserve compensation for any benefits and lost earnings you forfeited while recovering from the accident. This includes missed salaries, lost benefits, any employer healthcare contributions, and missed vacations. If your damages were severe enough to warrant a career change or a lower-paying position, seek compensation for lost earning opportunity damages.
Property damage covers the visible damage on your vehicle. You should be reimbursed funds for repairing and replacing damaged parts due to the drunk driving accident. Part of property damage is harm to other personal property inside the car that might have been damaged in the collision.
Other factors can affect the total value of the economic damages. This includes non-medical expenses you accrue as a result of accident-related injuries. For example, a permanently disabled victim may need to replace their home or modify the current one to make wheelchair movement possible.
Some losses incurred during drunk driving accidents are subjective and too profound to quantify in monetary terms. These include:
Pain and Suffering
Victims endure inexplicable physical pain during the accident when recovering from the injuries and potential lasting pain depending on the severity of the injuries. The amount awarded for pain and suffering varies and entirely depends on how your accident attorney presents the case before the jury.
Your lawyer can pursue compensation for mental harm that emanated from the accident. This includes anxiety disorders, stress, and other mental effects inspired by the horrors of an auto crash. A common form of mental suffering is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD).
Scarring and Disfigurement
Accidents can change lives forever, especially the victim’s physical appearance. You deserve additional compensation for excessive scarring, loss of vision, limbs, and other physical body changes because of the drunk driving accident.
Some injuries have permanent consequences, like physical disability, and victims lose their ability to perform certain tasks. Unlike economic damages, this category doesn’t have an average settlement. Whatever you receive is directly tied to your lawyer’s presentation. Therefore, an experienced accident lawyer is an indispensable part of your lawsuit.
Although rare, punitive damages are recoverable if you prove that the drunk driver acted maliciously or grossly negligent when the incident occurred. The court awards punitive damages as a form of punishment to the defendants and also to discourage similar future actions. Although not every case qualifies for punitive damages, they are almost automatic in a DUI. Florida laws cap punitive damages at $500,000 or triple the compensatory damages, whichever figure is greater.