DUI Attorney in St. Petersburg111 2nd Avenue NE, Suite 1600
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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St Petersburg DUI Lawyer
Accidents caused by drunk drivers are some of the worst we've witnessed in St. Petersburg. That's primarily because such drivers usually don't have the capacity to make sound decisions on the road, causing serious injuries and, sometimes, death.
Whether you suffered life-threatening injuries or lost a loved one in such an accident, hiring a St Petersburg DUI lawyer from Morgan and Morgan could make a huge difference to your case. Get in touch with us to learn how we might be able to help.
Examples of Situations That Could Require a DUI Lawsuit Lawyer
A DUI lawsuit lawyer can represent you if you have sustained physical injuries as a result of the accident. These injuries could range from broken bones, whiplash, traumatic brain injury, or anything in between. The attorney can help you file a personal injury claim with your own insurance provider since Florida uses the no-fault system and then pursue other avenues for compensation if you've exhausted your coverage.
The most painful thing about drunk driving accidents is that they can sometimes result in death. In the unfortunate event that you lost a loved one in a DUI-related crash, our lawyers may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover funeral expenses, hospital bills, lost financial support, and other death benefits you may be entitled to.
Establishments that served alcohol to the intoxicated driver who caused the accident may also be held responsible for the damages caused. This is known as dram shop liability, yet another complex area of personal injury law we can also help you navigate.
If the drunk driving accident ends as a hit and run, it may be difficult to identify and hold the responsible party accountable. But because Morgan and Morgan has powerful legal resources to investigate such accidents, we can work with relevant authorities to identify the driver or explore other avenues for compensation, such as uninsured motorist coverage.
Overview of the DUI Lawsuit Process With a Morgan and Morgan Lawyer
When you contact Morgan and Morgan about such an accident caused by a drunk driver in St. Petersburg, Florida, we will follow specific steps to ensure you get the legal representation you deserve to obtain a favorable outcome.
First, after filing out our free, no-obligation case evaluation form, one of our legal representatives will review your case to determine if you have legal grounds for filing a claim or lawsuit. Once that's been determined, we'll set up the initial consultation with an experienced DUI lawsuit lawyer carefully selected from our team of over 800 attorneys.
During this meeting, the attorney will want to find out more details about the accident, including any documentation or evidence you might have collected at the scene and the extent of your injuries. They will also look at the merits of your case and advise you on the available legal options.
After determining that you have legal grounds to pursue compensation, whether from your own insurance carrier, the other party's, or even both, we will gather crucial evidence to support your case.
The kind of evidence required varies from case to case, but generally, we'll look at police reports, medical records, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and any other relevant documentation that can help establish the negligence of the drunk driver and demonstrate the impact of the accident on your life.
We will also identify all potentially liable parties and then create a legal strategy to pursue your claim based on the evidence gathered. Next, we will file a claim with the responsible party's insurance company and handle the necessary paperwork and processes required to hold them accountable.
Our primary goal is to resolve such cases through negotiation out of court because this option saves time and resources. This is one of the quickest ways to settle such a case and get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track, at least financially. But if the other party refuses to offer a fair settlement or cooperate with our team during the negotiations, we may need to file a lawsuit.
If the case goes that route, our attorneys will guide you through the process of filing the necessary legal documents, preparing your case for trial, and representing you in court in front of a judge or jury.
Risks of Filing a DUI Lawsuit or Claim Without a Lawyer
No law in St. Petersburg or Florida requires you to hire a DUI lawsuit lawyer. That said, you should, at least, have a clear understanding of the potential risks involved when you decide to file a claim or lawsuit without a lawyer after being hit by a drunk driver or losing a loved one in such an accident.
Establishing liability is the first challenge you'll likely face if you decide to go down this path without legal counsel. In other words, it may be difficult to prove that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Such a claim alone requires gathering evidence, such as police reports, witness testimonies, and possibly even the opinion of accident reconstruction experts, something you may not have access to.
Failure to account for all damages is another risk that could hurt your chances of recovering damages without a lawyer. Without a lawyer's guidance, chances are you won't fully understand the true extent of your losses and the actual value of your claim. This could result in inadequate compensation, and the saddest thing is that you won't have another chance to file a new claim if you've already accepted and received a settlement from the insurance company regarding this case.
The legal processes involved in a DUI lawsuit will also stress you out, thanks to the mountains of paperwork and legal jargon involved. That's the last thing you want to deal with, especially when nursing your injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one.
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How Long Does a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit Typically Take To Resolve?
The shortest answer is: it depends. The complexity of the case is one key factor that could influence the timeline for resolving it. In most cases, if the circumstances surrounding the accident are straightforward and liability is clear, the lawsuit may be resolved more quickly.
However, if there are disputes over fault or conflicting evidence, the case may take longer to settle because both parties must first establish the facts before a settlement is even considered.
The severity of injuries sustained will also play a role in deciding when such a case would be settled. Typically, the more severe the injuries, the longer it would take to resolve such a case because you or your loved one will need extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and you need to know how much this will cost in order to maximize your claim. That also explains why most attorneys take time to file a claim for compensation because they want to factor in every possible damage their client may be able to recover.
The answer to the question of whether or not both parties are willing to negotiate and reach a settlement will also decide just how long it would take to finally settle the case. If both sides are open to settlement discussions and are willing to compromise, you'll likely reach a resolution faster than when they can't seem to agree. In such a situation, the second-best option is to proceed to trial.
Cases that go to trial often take longer to settle due to busy court schedules and backlogs. That's why we only opt for the court process if negotiating out of court is no longer a possibility.
Then there's also the issue, or rather the headache, of dealing with insurance companies and the tactics they use to deny liability, jeopardize a claim, or manipulate the injured into accepting less than what they deserve. Luckily, with Morgan and Morgan by your side, you can rest assured that we are familiar with these tactics and won't settle for anything less than you deserve.
What if the Drunk Driver Flees the Scene of the Accident?
In such a case, your uninsured motorist coverage could come into play. As the name implies, this type of insurance protects you if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver, which also involves a hit-and-run accident.
Although uninsured motorist coverage is not required in St. Petersburg or elsewhere in Florida, many drivers opt to have this type of coverage just to prepare themselves for the unexpected and ensure that they won't have to foot expensive bills out of pocket when such an accident occurs.
But because it is not compulsory, not every driver in the state has this type of insurance. If that's the case with you, the attorney will explore other options, such as your health insurance or dram shop laws, to get you some form of compensation.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Claim in St. Petersburg, Florida?
Yes, there is a deadline plaintiffs must follow strictly, whether or not the accident was caused by a drunk driver.
If the appropriate authorities investigated the accident after you reported it verbally, usually through a 911 call, you would not need to file a written report separately. The investigative process initiated by the law enforcement agency will fulfill the reporting requirement.
However, if no formal investigation was conducted, then it is your responsibility to file a written report with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident.
What Should I Do if I've Been Injured in a Hit-and-Run Drunk Driving Accident?
While there are many different things you can do depending on the nature of the accident, the following are the most critical.
Your health and well-being should always come first. So, if you have sustained injuries, call 911 right away and request an ambulance and the police. When the police arrive at the accident scene, provide them with all the details you can remember, and then obtain a copy of the report they will file.
If possible, document the accident scene by taking photos, collecting witness information, and noting down every single detail you remember about the scene and the events that led to the accident.
Finally, get in touch with Morgan and Morgan as soon as possible. We will review your case for free and advise you on how to proceed.
Can I Seek Punitive Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit?
Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases where the other party was grossly negligent. So, yes, you can seek punitive damages in a drunk driving accident lawsuit because drinking and driving is a form of gross negligence.
That said, note that punitive damages are not usually guaranteed and are also not based solely on the fact that the other driver was drunk. In other words, the other party's specific actions will ultimately determine whether or not you deserve an award for punitive damages.
For example, think of a situation where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit in Florida of .08, or demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of others on the road by driving the wrong way. Such actions could warrant punitive damages if you have a skilled attorney to prove these facts.
Need a DUI Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL? Contact Morgan and Morgan
Morgan and Morgan drunk driving lawsuit lawyers are always ready to fight for you or your loved ones injured or killed due to drunk driver's negligence. With over 30 years of experience fighting for the injured and a record of winning big settlements for our clients, we may be able to get you compensation for your injuries and damages.
Drunk driving lawsuits are time-sensitive. So don't wait any longer; contact us today for a free case evaluation.