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How Do You Collect Damages from a Drunk Driving Accident or Hit and Run?

Drinking and driving is strictly prohibited by Florida law, though authorities still arrested more than 32,000 in our state for driving under the influence (DUI) in a recent year. In addition, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that 25 percent of all accidents are hit-and-run despite strict laws against leaving the scene of an accident.

When people insist on violating the law by drunk driving or fleeing an accident scene, injured accident victims can be left feeling helpless. Always remember that in these situations, you have important rights, and you should seek help from a Boca Raton car accident lawyer right away.

PIP or UM/UIM Insurance Claims

Florida is a no-fault state, which can help accident victims recover for their injuries and losses from a car wreck, no matter who was at fault. You can do so by filing a claim with your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Even though it is natural to want justice from the drunk driver, this is how the claim process will need to start.

If you were the victim of a hit and run, you can file a claim with your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These policies treat hit and runs the same way they would treat being hit by someone without insurance.

The problem is that PIP and UM/UIM policies often have lower limits, so they often do not cover all of a victim’s losses from serious injuries. In addition, PIP claims only cover a portion of your medical costs and these policies do not compensate you for pain and suffering or other intangible losses.

Seeking Payment from the At-Fault Party

Florida law allows you to step outside the PIP no-fault system and file claims against third-party drivers and their insurers if you suffered a “serious” injury and your losses exceed your PIP coverage. You should have an experienced attorney who knows how to prove that your injury was serious enough to allow a third-party claim.

You can then file an insurance claim against the drunk driver, or even file a lawsuit in civil court. In the case of a hit and run, if police officers locate the driver, you can file a claim against them. If the driver was not located, you will have to rely on your own UM/UIM coverage, as you don’t know who to file a claim against.

A third-party claim can seek damages for all of your economic and non-economic losses, including full medical expenses, pain and suffering, permanent injuries, and more.

Criminal vs. Civil Proceedings

While drunk drivers or hit-and-run drivers might face criminal charges for what they did, know that criminal cases are generally not adequate when it comes to your financial recovery. Instead, you will need to take action on the civil justice side, but your attorney can certainly use any criminal DUI or leaving the scene convictions to your advantage.

Seek Help from Our Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyers

At Demand the Limits Personal Injury Attorneys, we handle all types of complex car crash claims, including those involving drunk drivers or hit and runs. We are ready to evaluate your rights, so please contact us online or call 561-600-3555 today.