Can I Sue for Wrongful Death in a Drunk Driving Accident?
While a drunk driver in Florida will always be subject to criminal charges and penalties, state law makes it difficult for victims of drunk driving accidents to sue for losses and damages. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that drivers are required to cover their own damages and losses in the event of an auto accident via personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and regular auto insurance. However, the state does provide a loophole: if a victim’s losses cannot be adequately covered by his or her policies, they can file a civil lawsuit for the remainder of the damages. Because a loved one’s death cannot be covered by insurance, the state will typically allow an aggrieved family member to sue the drunk driver for wrongful death.
If you recently experienced the loss of a loved one and an impaired driver is to blame, reach out to the Orlando civil litigation lawyers at The Baez Law Firm to learn more about your legal options.
When to File a Civil Lawsuit for a Drunk Driving Accident
It is not always appropriate to file a civil lawsuit against the driver of a drunk driving accident. However, if the accident resulted in serious injuries to you or your loved one, or if a loved one was killed as a result of the accident, you have the right to bring a civil claim against the at-fault driver for your losses.
In Florida, damages that can be recovered from a drunk driving accident claim fall into two separate categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include compensation for things like medical expenses, past lost income, future lost income, and lost support and services. Non-economic damages that can be recovered include compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience (Florida Statute Section 627.737).
Though no amount of compensation will ever bring back a loved one, damages such as future lost income and lost support and services can help to ensure that you and other survivors have some sort of financial stability in the event of a wrongful death.
Suing Under Florida’s No-Fault System
Florida operates under a no-fault system, which means Florida drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) to cover their own injuries and damages sustained in a car accident. Under this no-fault system, drivers give up their right to sue for all but the most serious of personal injuries. However, if the car accident resulted in a very serious, permanent injury (such as paralysis or severed ligaments) or death, the at-fault laws do not apply. Oftentimes, damages that result from such injuries and death are far greater than what your PIP covers. In such a case, you could sue for pain and suffering, lost wages, lost wage-earning capacity, loss of companionship, and future and past medical expenses. The jury would use their discretion to determine whether or not your claim is valid, and if so, to determine the amount of damages you are to receive.
Consult an Orlando Civil Litigation Lawyer
It can be difficult to sue a drunk driver for wrongful death in Florida, but with the right civil litigation lawyer on your side, you have the very real chance of obtaining compensation for your losses. If you recently experienced the loss of a loved one and an impaired driver is to blame, reach out to the Orlando civil litigation lawyers at The Baez Law Firm at 800-588-BAEZ right away.