West Palm Beach has a wide array of clubs and an active, exciting nightlife that draws in everyone from residents to vacationers. While that nightlife can mean a lot of fun for people who are looking to get out and have a great time, it may also mean drunk drivers on the streets of West Palm Beach.
Unfortunately, those drunk drivers can cause substantial injuries in an accident. From potentially dangerous intersections, like the one at South Military Trail and West Atlantic Avenue, to the streets surrounding West Palm Beach clubs and restaurants, drunk drivers can pose a danger on many local roads.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a West Palm Beach DUI accident? Shiner Law Group can help. Contact our drunk driving accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
After a drunk driving accident, you may find yourself wondering what comes next and how to navigate the challenges in front of you. Shiner Law Group can help. Our dedicated attorneys put our clients first. We want to help you smoothly navigate the legal system and increase the odds that you will receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained in your drunk driving accident.
Our Attorneys Can Help Investigate Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim.
We can help investigate the details of your accident and give you a better idea of the compensation you deserve. Our compassionate team will listen to your story and help identify all parties that may share liability for your injuries. We can also help go over your medical records and the limitations you suffered in the accident.
We Can Help You Understand Your Legal Right to Compensation Following a Drunk Driving Accident.
Often, after a drunk driving accident, victims have little idea how much compensation they really deserve for their injuries. At Shiner Law Group, we help decrease the odds that our clients will blindly accept a low settlement offer from the insurance company, by providing them with a more comprehensive assessment of the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
We Help Negotiate and Fight on Our Clients’ Behalf.
At Shiner Law Group, we help our clients negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company, from providing a comprehensive demand package that offers a compelling representation of the compensation our clients deserve to representing our clients in court, if needed. In many cases, we have substantially increased the compensation our clients ultimately receive for the injuries they sustained. While no result can be guaranteed, contact Shiner Law Group to see what we can do for you.
ommon West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Injuries
Each year, hundreds of people die in Florida drunk driving accidents. While deaths and drunk driving accidents continue to decrease—especially with the steady rise of ridesharing programs and apps aimed at offering a safe driving experience, even after a night out at the bar—many people still suffer severe injuries because of drunk driving crashes each year. Due to the driver’s lack of control over the vehicle, drunk driving accidents may lead to more substantial injuries than accidents that do not involve alcohol or inebriation.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Victims with traumatic brain injury often find that it can impact every area of their lives. When most people think of TBI or concussion, they imagine long-term memory loss. However, victims who sustain traumatic brain injuries in drunk driving accidents often find that it has much more far-reaching implications. Not only does traumatic brain injury sometimes cause the loss of long-term memories, it may also lead to the loss of short-term memory, which can make it difficult for the victim to hold on to simple instructions or facts. Traumatic brain injury can also cause difficulties with focus and concentration, which can make it very difficult for the victim to take care of work tasks or even enjoy leisure activities. Furthermore, traumatic brain injury can interfere with emotional control, leading to extreme mood swings or emotional outbursts that can have an immense impact on the victim’s personal relationships and connections.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Each year, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people around the world suffer spinal cord injuries. Many of those may suffer permanent paralysis below the site of the injury. Even victims with incomplete spinal cord injuries, however, may suffer a substantial loss of mobility because of spinal cord injuries. In addition to paralysis, spinal cord injuries can cause an overall loss of function, including decreased organ function, below the site of the injury. Spinal cord injury victims often find themselves very limited in their overall physical activities and may need assistance with basic self-care, especially if they suffered injury high on the spinal cord.
Sometimes, the force of a drunk driving accident can cause such severe crushing damage that doctors find amputating the affected limb to be the best course of action—and the one that will allow the victim the greatest chance of making a full recovery. In other cases, the force of a drunk driving accident can actually result in limb amputation during the accident itself.
Amputees may need to go through several procedures to revise the stump and shape it so they can use a prosthetic. While a prosthetic device can restore some function and aid in maintaining a normal appearance, it does not fully restore the function of the lost limb. Furthermore, prosthetic devices can be very expensive. The more complex the device, the greater the expense the victim will face, especially as the prosthetic limb requires replacement over time.
Drunk driving accidents can result in heat burns because of a car bursting into fire, or friction burns from the victim getting dragged or thrown across the pavement. Friction burns, also known as road rash, may occur more frequently in drunk driving accidents involving pedestrians.
Burn victims not only experience immense pain and heavy scarring, but they may also have an extremely high risk of suffering complications as they recover from their injuries. Burns strip away the skin that helps protect against infection in the body. Unfortunately, an infection can creep in quickly, resulting in severe illness, increased scarring, and a longer recovery period.
Drunk driving accident victims may suffer multiple broken bones. Drivers often suffer broken bones in their hands and arms as they grip the steering wheel and try to keep the vehicle under control. Victims may also suffer broken ribs or broken bones in the limbs. A single broken bone may require surgical treatment, which can extend the victim’s recovery time and lead to considerable medical expense. Multiple broken bones may lead to additional complications and a longer recovery period.
Often, victims with broken bones find that their injuries interfere with their ability to manage their usual job tasks, whether they spend most of the day standing and participating in manual labor or sitting behind a computer screen. That lost income can also add up in the aftermath of a serious drunk driving accident.
Recovering Compensation Following a West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accident
If you suffered serious injuries in a West Palm Beach drunk driving accident, you may deserve compensation for your injuries. A personal injury attorney can review your claim and give you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect following your accident. Contact Shiner Law Group for more information today.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover After a West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accident?
In Florida, drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance along with their other car insurance. If you, as a Florida driver, suffered serious injuries in an accident, you will use your personal injury protection insurance to cover the initial expense associated with your injuries, including the cost of medical care and the wages you lost because of your time out of work.
Once your costs exceed that amount, however, a personal injury claim can help you recover some of the funds you need to pay your bills and move forward with your life after a serious accident.
Compensation for your drunk driving accident medical expenses. Medical expenses can mount substantially after a drunk driving accident, particularly when you take into consideration the added severity often associated with an accident involving a drunk driver. Carefully track the medical costs associated with your accident, including keeping up with all your medical bills.
You may have a wide range of medical needs, including:
- Ambulance transport.
- Care in the emergency room.
- The cost of surgeries and procedures associated with treatment for your injuries.
- Durable medical equipment, including items like crutches, braces, or wheelchairs.
- In-home care, if needed.
- A stay in a long-term care facility.
- Physical and/or occupational therapy, especially if you need to relearn how to perform familiar activities following your injuries.
- Psychological therapy, if needed to cope with the impacts of your injuries.
Talk to your attorney about what medical expenses you should calculate as part of your personal injury claim and how to include future estimated medical expenses, if needed. At Shiner Law Group, we help our clients evaluate the full extent of their medical costs and how they may impact their personal injury claims.
Compensation for wages lost due to your injuries. Not only do medical expenses add up fast after your accident, you may have trouble making the money you need to take care of those expenses. Drunk driving accidents often result in injuries that can keep people out of work for a long time. Often, your employer will want you to have time to recover from your injuries before you go back to work.
Severe injuries can leave you disoriented, tired, and simply can’t perform your usual work tasks. Not only that, your employer may face liability if you worsen your injuries by trying to force yourself to go back to work too soon. Unfortunately, that time spent out of work recovering may mean that you do not have a source of income during your recovery. You may also burn through your paid time off or sick hours quickly, especially if you have a long road to recovery in front of you.
Many drunk driving accident claims include compensation for wages lost because of drunk driving accident injuries. In addition to wages lost in the immediate aftermath of the accident, you may also have the right to claim wages lost when you returned to the hospital for follow-up procedures, returned to work on a part-time basis but could not work your usual hours, or needed to miss work for appointments and therapies.
Compensation for pain and suffering. Many drunk driving accidents result in serious injuries that may mean considerable physical pain. In addition, you may deserve compensation for the emotional anguish you suffered because of your injuries: the loss of your independence, the activities you once enjoyed, or specific events you had planned to enjoy with friends and family, for example.
Severe injuries may also permanently change the relationships you have with friends and loved ones, especially if you suffer personality changes or significant challenges to your ability to engage in the activities you usually enjoy. Shiner Law Group can help you understand the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering and how it may factor into your personal injury claim.
Determining the Liable Party in a West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accident
To file a compensation claim, your attorney will work with you to determine who may have caused or contributed to your drunk driving accident. You may have a police report that clearly cites the other driver’s inebriation as a primary cause of the accident.
However, in some cases, other entities may share liability for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
- The driver’s employer. Did a drunk driver hit you while on the clock? Sometimes, the driver’s employer may share liability for the injuries you suffered in the accident. Suppose, for example, that the driver’s employer knew the driver had gone out drinking but required the driver to come into work anyway—or the driver’s employer asked them to get behind the wheel despite knowing they had come into work inebriated. In those cases, the driver’s employer may share liability for any accident that occurs because of that decision. Likewise, the employer may share liability for choosing to employ a driver known to drink and drive, especially if the driver had faced other recent drinking and driving convictions.
- The vehicle manufacturer/a mechanic that recently worked on the vehicle. While the drunk driver may bear primary liability for their actions behind the wheel, sometimes, a mechanical malfunction may contribute to the severity of the accident. A drunk driver may, for example, struggle to safely operate a vehicle when the steering goes out or the brakes fail. The driver’s drunkenness may have made the accident worse since they lacked the skills needed to safely navigate; but, the mechanical malfunction may also have contributed substantially to the accident. In the case of a vehicle malfunction related to standard parts, the vehicle manufacturer may bear liability for the accident. If a mechanic recently worked on the damaged area of the vehicle but failed to repair it properly, the mechanic may share liability for the accident.
At Shiner Law Group, we carefully investigate all elements of the accident to identify all potentially liable parties. Let us know if you believe any additional parties may have contributed to the accident and, therefore, to your injuries.
Commonly Asked Questions From Victims Of DUI Accidents
Do you have questions about your right to compensation following injuries sustained in a serious drunk driving accident? Check out the FAQ below or contact Shiner Law Group to learn more.
1. If I suffer injuries in a drunk driving accident, can I seek compensation from the bar or restaurant that served the driver that caused my accident?
Florida’s dram shop law holds that the bar or restaurant that serves an individual of appropriate age does not bear liability for that individual’s decision to drink and drive. However, the bar or restaurant may share liability if it serves a minor or a person known to have an alcohol addiction. If you believe that these concerns may pertain to your drunk driving accident, discuss them with your attorney as soon as possible.
2. What tactics do West Palm Beach insurance companies use to reduce the compensation offered to victims of drunk driving accidents?
Insurance companies often assume that victims of auto accidents, including drunk driving accidents, do not fully understand the legal system or how it may impact them as they move forward with their personal injury claims.
The company may try to reduce the compensation you can receive for your injuries.
- Offering you a low settlement. Frequently, insurance companies may start by trying to issue a low settlement offer. They may contact you in the days immediately following your accident when you still do not know the full extent of your injuries or how they will affect your life. Often, the settlement they offer will not reflect the full amount of the compensation you really deserve. The adjuster that contacts you, however, may heavily pressure you to accept that settlement, including trying to convince you that you need to act fast to secure the offer. If the insurance company can pressure you to accept that offer, it may eliminate the company’s future financial liability.
- Trying to prove you caused the accident. Sometimes, the insurance company may try to show that you caused or contributed to the accident, which would decrease or eliminate the compensation owed by the liable driver’s insurance company.
- Downplaying your injuries. In many cases, the liable driver’s insurance company may attempt to downplay your injuries and claim that they do not cause the same limitations you cite as part of your personal injury claim. The insurance company may also try to prove that you suffered those injuries at a time other than the accident, which would mean that the insurance company would not bear liability for those specific injuries.
Before accepting any offer provided by the insurance company, talk to a Florida drunk driving accident lawyer like the attorneys at Shiner Law Group. A personal injury attorney can provide you with more information about your full right to compensation, including when you may want to continue to negotiate for the compensation you really deserve.
3. Who pays my medical bills after a West Palm Beach drunk driving accident?
At the hospital, you will generally provide your personal injury protection insurance information to cover the initial medical expenses associated with your drunk driving accident. Florida drivers must carry PIP insurance in addition to the rest of their auto insurance. You may have a deductible associated with your PIP insurance: generally around $1,000.
Once you have used your PIP insurance coverage, you still have options for taking care of the expenses associated with your accident.
- Your health insurance. If you suffered severe injuries in your drunk driving accident, or if you suffered injuries that will have long-term implications, you may need to turn to your health insurance coverage to help you pay for much of the cost associated with your medical treatment. Talk to your health insurance provider soon after your accident to learn how much coverage you will have and how much protection it will provide for the care you need related to your injuries. You may need to ask your health insurance provider about your copays and deductibles as well as what coverage you have for specific elements of your care, including long-term care, durable medical equipment, or therapy sessions. You may also want to discuss in-network versus out-of-network providers in your local area.
- A personal injury claim. Once your medical costs exceed the protection offered by your personal injury protection insurance, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim that will help you seek the compensation you need for those bills. A personal injury claim will not require the driver that caused your accident to pay your medical bills directly. Instead, you can use the funds paid by the liable driver’s insurance company to cover the expenses associated with your medical care after the accident.
4. I know the driver that hit me was drunk at the time of the accident, but they did not receive a drunk driving conviction. Can I still file for compensation?
You may have the right to seek compensation for injuries suffered in a drunk driving accident even if the other driver does not receive a drunk driving conviction. Keep in mind that multiple conditions, including traumatic brain injury and blood sugar problems, can all show many of the same symptoms as driving while intoxicated, so the liable driver may not receive a drunk driving conviction despite obvious signs of inebriation on the road before the accident.
A drunk driving conviction can make it easier for you to provide evidence of the other driver’s liability. In some cases, Florida courts may also assign punitive damages related to the drunk driving conviction, which may increase the compensation you ultimately receive for the injuries you sustained in the accident. While you may not receive those damages if the liable driver does not receive a drunk driving conviction, you could still receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the accident.
5. If my personal injury protection coverage covers the full extent of my injuries after a West Palm Beach drunk driving accident, do I still have the right to file a personal injury claim?
If your personal injury protection insurance covers the full extent of your medical bills after a drunk driving accident, you may not need to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your injuries. In general, personal injury protection insurance exists to provide you with immediate coverage for your medical expenses related to the accident. Only once your injuries, and therefore your medical costs, exceed that amount should you move forward with a personal injury claim.
6. How long does it take to receive compensation for a drunk driving accident in West Palm Beach?
You should not expect to acquire the compensation you deserve for a drunk driving accident quickly. Several elements can add to the time needed for you to seek compensation for your injuries.
First, your attorney may advise you to wait until you have a chance to recover from your initial injuries and get a full assessment from your doctor regarding your eventual recovery. Giving yourself time to recover may also provide you with a better idea of how much your medical bills will ultimately cost after the accident since your doctors cannot predict potential complications and challenges on the road to recovery ahead of time.
Next, both your attorney and the drunk driver’s insurance company will need time to fully investigate the accident. At Shiner Law Group, we take the time to investigate every element of the accident: what led to it, who contributed to it, and what you have suffered because of the drunk driver’s negligent actions.
You may need to go through several rounds of negotiation with the liable driver’s insurance company as you move forward with your claim. Often, insurance companies will try to decrease the compensation they owe you as much as possible, while your attorney will work to maximize the compensation you can receive for your injuries. You should not rush the negotiation process, since it may result in less compensation than you really deserve for your injuries.
Finally, if your claim needs to go to court, you may need to wait for a court date and have your attorney present your case.
7. What should I do after a drunk driving accident?
After a drunk driving accident in West Palm Beach, you need to protect yourself and your finances as much as possible.
First, prioritize seeking medical attention. If you suffered serious injuries, you may need to call an ambulance to the scene of the accident and proceed immediately to the hospital for a full evaluation in the emergency room.
Even if you do not believe that you suffered serious injuries
in the accident based on your initial assessment of your physical state at the scene, you should still seek medical attention. Often, drunk driving accident victims do not realize the full extent of their injuries until some time after the initial accident. You may have suffered broken bones, traumatic brain injury, or even spinal cord damage without realizing it—all of which can lead to significant complications if you do not treat them immediately.
In addition to ensuring that you receive the full treatment you need for your injuries, seeking medical care can help ensure that you have a record of when your injuries took place, which can be vital in establishing your personal injury claim.
Report the accident and give a statement. If an ambulance does not take you to the hospital first, wait at the scene of the accident for the police to arrive. Give a statement about the events that led to the accident, including your honest suspicions that the other driver drove while intoxicated. The police can determine whether to conduct a sobriety test.
Contact us as soon as possible. If you suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving accident, do not wait to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can start working on your behalf soon after the initial accident, from collecting evidence to helping to ensure that you understand the full compensation you deserve. An attorney can also help reduce much of the stress you may face when dealing with the legal system and filing your claim.
Contact Shiner Law Group Today to Learn More About Your Rights After a West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accident
If you suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving accident in West Palm Beach, Shiner Law Group can help. Contact us today at (561) 777-7700 to schedule your free consultation.