DUI Attorney in Lee County12800 University Drive, Suite 600
Fort Myers, FL 33907
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Lee County DUI Lawyer
Despite years of running public awareness campaigns describing the negative consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, car accidents that result from motorists driving while intoxicated remain a serious threat in the United States, as well as in Southwest Florida in Lee County.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports more than 2,500 car accident fatalities each year in Florida, with around 25 percent of the deaths resulting from a motorist driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lee County released a report stating the county experiences more than 500 alcohol-related crashes annually.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which is the largest and most influential anti-drunk driving organization in the United States, reports vehicle collisions represent the most common cause of fatalities for Americans between the ages of 6 and 27, with half of the fatalities resulting from the actions taken by a motorist under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. One out of every three Americans can expect to get involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. It does not take much to become impaired from the consumption of alcohol, as a blood alcohol content (BAC) of just 0.08 can dramatically reduce reaction times and cause a motorist to make poor operating decisions.
If you are a car accident victim in which another driver operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should contact a Lee County DUI lawyer to receive the support you deserve. At Morgan and Morgan, we have earned a reputation in Florida for helping car accident victims file persuasive insurance claims, as well as personal injury lawsuits that seek monetary damages. We know the judicial system can present difficult challenges to overcome, as well as understand the pain and suffering felt by our clients trying to recover from debilitating injuries and devastating financial losses.
Discover how a Lee County DUI lawyer from Morgan and Morgan can provide you with legal support by scheduling a free case evaluation.
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What Are the Most Common Types of Serious Car Accident Injuries?
At the heart of every car accident case is the pursuit of compensation that covers the financial losses associated with medical expenses. Motor vehicle collisions cause injuries that range from mild cuts and bruises to injuries such as the following injuries that require an extended period of treatment and rehabilitation.
The strong impact delivered by an auto crash can cause the head to hit a stationary object inside a car. Brain trauma can result in a concussion, which requires considerable time to heal. For the strongest impacts, brain trauma can produce a life-threatening brain injury such as internal bleeding or severe damage to the neurotransmitters that send electrical impulses throughout the rest of the body.
Depending on the type of motor vehicle collision, you can fracture a bone just about anywhere in the body. However, the most vulnerable bones to fracture are located in the arms and legs. Both limbs often represent the first area of the body that feels the impact of an auto crash. Fractures range from simple breaks that take a relatively short time to heal to compound fractures that can lead to months of rehabilitation.
Although automotive safety has reached a level never before seen in history, whiplash is still a common injury resulting from a car accident. The injury occurs because the head usually snaps back and forth violently upon impact. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and shoulders stretch and tear, which generates excruciating pain that can last for several weeks. Whiplash also significantly limits the mobility of the head, neck, and shoulders.
Spinal Cord Damage
The impact delivered by a motor vehicle collision can compress the spine enough to produce a herniated disc. A spinal cord injury also can result from the nerves running through the spine, enduring damage that partially or completely forces a victim to lose motor control. The worst types of spinal cord damage can leave a victim temporarily or permanently paralyzed.
How Does My Lee County DUI Attorney Prove Negligence?
To file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, your personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan must show the other party committed one or more acts of negligence. For auto crash cases, personal injury attorneys discover three common acts of negligence committed by a motorist: Distraction, reckless driving, and driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Your Lee County DUI lawyer must prove the presence of the four elements of negligence.
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a legal doctrine that requires one party to assume responsibility for the care of a second party. For example, a surgeon assumes a duty of care to prevent a patient from developing complications caused by a medical error. For car accident cases, the operators of motor vehicles assume a duty of care to take actions that do not put other drivers and motorists in danger. This includes operating a vehicle while not under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Breaching the Duty of Care Doctrine
Proving another party breached the duty of doctrine for a DUI-related car accident requires your Lee County DUI lawyer to present persuasive physical evidence, as well as statements provided by witnesses that describe what transpired before, during, and after the motor vehicle collision. The most compelling piece of physical evidence should be the footage captured by nearby traffic or security cameras that demonstrates the defendant dangerously operated a car. Your attorney also needs copies of the sobriety tests conducted at the accident scene, as well as the results of the official toxicology report.
Accident Caused Your Injuries
By submitting the results of diagnostic tests and a copy of the official police report, your Lee County DUI lawyer should be able to prove the presence of the third element of negligence. You must show the judge or jury hearing your case that the motor vehicle collision caused your injuries. The other party’s attorney might claim you sustained the injuries as the result of another type of accident, such as falling off a ladder while working on a home improvement project. A written statement presented by a licensed therapist can provide legal support for the claim that you have developed the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Suffered Financial Losses
The fourth element of negligence requires your Lee County DUI lawyer to prove the DUI-related car accident caused injuries that generated financial losses. Submitting copies of medical bills and the receipts associated with repairing property damage typically represents more than sufficient evidence that you have suffered financial losses. If you cannot prove you suffered financial losses as the result of a DUI-related auto crash, you can expect the judge or jury hearing your case to deny compensation.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
One of the most important types of legal support provided by your Lee County DUI lawyer concerns filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Each state has established a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, with most states opting to set the deadline between two and four years. However, a few states have established a deadline for taking legal action as long as six years and as short as one year. Florida grants plaintiffs four years to take legal action, with the clock starting to tick on filing a personal injury lawsuit on the day when the DUI-related car accident occurred. You might receive a filing extension if your Lee County DUI lawyer can show the court that you sustained one or more injuries that developed delayed symptoms.
Four years is more than enough time to take legal action, but you should not procrastinate for two reasons. First, your Lee County DUI lawyer needs to interview witnesses as close to the date of the car accident as possible. Witness accounts tend to become less accurate the longer they are given from the day of the motor vehicle collision. Second, acting with a sense of urgency might help you recover financial losses much sooner than if you wait to take legal action close to the filing deadline. Unless you set up a medical lien payment plan, you must pay your medical bills as they come due.
If you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can expect the court clerk processing your case to remove it from the judicial docket.
What Are the Types of Monetary Damages?
The most important type of legal support provided by your Lee County DUI lawyer from Morgan and Morgan involves getting you the compensation that you deserve. Filing a persuasive insurance claim is one way to receive compensation. A potentially more lucrative way to get paid involves filing a civil lawsuit that seeks three types of monetary damages.
Economic damages represent the tangible costs associated with your case, such as the value of medical bills, property damages, and lost wages. Medical expenses include the costs of diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions. You also have the right to request compensation for prescription medications and the use of an assistive device like a pair of crutches. Your personal injury attorney also requests economic damages to cover the costs associated with car repairs and any wages you lost because the motor vehicle collision produced injuries that made it impossible to work.
Victims of car accidents, especially serious ones, develop emotional distress issues such as the symptoms of PTSD. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not come with a price tag. Instead, your Lee County DUI lawyer calculates a value for non-economic damages that uses a formula that factors in the value of economic damages. The key is to present a reasonable value for non-economic damages.
Judges and juries award punitive damages not to help a plaintiff to recover the financial losses generated by a motor vehicle collision. Punitive damages punish the defendant for committing one or more acts of negligence, as well as deter the defendant from committing similar future acts of negligence. For a DUI case, a judge or jury might award a value for punitive damages that exceeds the combined value of economic and non-economic damages.
On your search for a Lee County DUI lawyer, you can learn more about how Morgan and Morgan can help you recover the financial losses generated by an alcohol or drug-related car accident by scheduling a free case evaluation today.