Drunk drivers are among the greatest risks to motorists in Florida. While we don’t have to deal with snow and ice during the holidays, government data suggest that Florida has one of the highest rates of drunk driving accidents in the nation, and studies have shown that drunk driving accidents increase during the holiday season. According to American Addiction Centers (AAC):
“When it comes to holidays, the period that starts before Christmas and ends on New Year’s Day accounts for some of the highest incidents of binge drinking and related public health problems. In a story sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the Statesman Journal writes of how the Christmas season, and especially Christmas week, creates a number of opportunities for drinking to get out of control.”
This season, we encourage everyone to drink responsibly and think about themselves, their families and their neighbors before choosing to drink and then get behind the wheel. We also encourage everyone to be vigilant about watching for the warning signs of drunk driving, including:
- Weaving side-to-side in one lane or drifting across lanes of traffic
- Failing to maintain a constant speed or to keep pace with the flow of traffic
- Braking suddenly, erratically or for no apparent reason
- Following too closely behind other vehicles
- Making slow or unusually-wide turns
- Running stop signs, failing to yield and making other obvious driving mistakes
- Near-accidents with other vehicles or stationary objects
Seeking Financial Compensation After a Drunk Driving Accident in Florida
For those who are unfortunate enough to fall victim to drunk drivers this holiday season, seeking financial compensation will be an important step on the road to recovery. Under Florida law, in most cases, filing a personal injury protection (PIP) claim is the first step in this process. Personal injury protection provides insurance for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from an accident regardless of fault, and most drivers have a policy limit of $10,000.
However, when a drunk driving accident results in serious injuries, $10,000 in PIP coverage can go fairly quickly. As a result, victims in these accidents must often look to other sources of financial compensation. Since drunk driving is clearly negligent, victims will often be entitled to file claims against drunk drivers’ bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance policies. In cases where the drunk driver is uninsured, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can take the place of BIL.
While PIP insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages, filing a BIL or UIM claim allows you to seek full compensation for all of your accident-related losses. This includes future medical bills, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other forms of financial and non-financial harm. Additionally, BIL and UIM policy limits are usually far greater than the standard PIP limit of $10,000.
We hope that none of you are forced to deal with a drunk driving accident this holiday season. But, if you are, we encourage you to give us a call. We can help you seek just compensation, and we can take the burden off of your shoulders so that you can get back to your normal life as quickly as possible.