I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver, Can I Sue?

drunk driver

You are driving down the road and hear the crunch of metal. Then airbags deploy, and you get jostled from your seat, with only your seatbelt holding you in place. Next, the car stops you take a deep breath and start to gather your surroundings. Adrenaline is rushing and your hands start shaking while you try and grab your cell phone. After a moment your breathing starts to get back to normal and you dial 911. You are sore and your body aches, but you are able to get out of the car and see the impact. The driver who hit you gets out of their truck and you start to exchange insurance information. Immediately, you smell the odor of alcohol on their breath. And, notice their eyes are bloodshot and watery, while they talk to you with slurred speech. You realize you got hit by a drunk driver. The police arrive and they begin the exchange of information. While taking your statement you tell them what happened. As well as, the other driver may be under the influence of alcohol. The adrenaline in your body subsides after an hour and you realize you have injuries and need medical attention. You wonder, what do I do next?

Unfortunately, this scenario in Florida is more common than you may think. And, according to the 2016 Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report, 5,223 accidents involved impaired drivers. Many of these accidents involved injuries to people. So what makes drunk driving accidents different?


Injured in a car accident, regardless of the impairment of the defendant, you could get compensatory damages. The legal system uses compensatory damages to reimburse victims for loss, including:

  • Medical Expenses – Any medical expenses related to your injury.
  • Pain and Suffering – Compensation received when you suffer from physical or mental aftereffects. Such as depression or anxiety from the car accident.
  • Lost Wages – Your injuries prevent you from working after the car accident.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity – Prevents you from working the same as you did before the accident. Then you may recover damages for the difference in potential income.

In Florida, people injured in accidents caused by a drunk driver could also receive punitive damages. And, they use punitive damages as both a punishment and deterrent for drunk drivers.

Florida has said through the legislator and court system that plaintiffs in DUI accident cases can seek punitive damages. Because the act of drunk driving shows a “sufficiently reckless attitude.” And this allows a jury to provide an award of punitive damages if it determines liability exists. Not only does the simple act of drunk driving mean that you can seek punitive damages. But, laws that limit damages for other negligence cases do not apply to drunk driving accident cases.

Only the defendant is liable for punitive damages. So, if the defendant has limited resources then he or she may be unable to pay them. But, the insurance company has a duty to the insured to settle for the policy limits whenever possible. As well as, they could share liability for the punitive damages if they act in bad faith to their insured.


The auto accident attorneys at Car Accident Lawyer want to help you. Take Charge of your injuries and we won’t take less from the insurance company than YOU deserve. Usually, drunk driving cases, are likely to have a criminal charge. As well as, civil penalties for the driver. This means that as a victim of this accident, you could recover damages. And, we sue drunk drivers.

So, if you got injured in a drunk driving accident, call us at 844-970-4370 for a free consultation. We don’t recover unless you win!

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