Steps For Filing a DUI Claim in Florida

Drunk driving accidents can occur anytime, they’re not limited to weekends and holidays. Unfortunately, DUI accidents are often severe, and injuries can be catastrophic. 

Since Florida’s insurance requirements rarely cover all of the damages sustained in a drunk driving crash, most accident victims need to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Thankfully, navigating a drunk driving accident claim is fairly simple and only takes a few steps.

Start with Your Insurance

Florida is a no-fault insurance state. So, what does this mean for a DUI accident claim?

Under no-fault rules, everyone files a claim with their insurance carrier regardless of who causes the accident. 

Here, your auto insurance policy covers vehicle damage. Your personal injury protection (PIP) policy covers part of your medical expenses, lost income, and funeral costs if a passenger dies as a result of the DUI crash.

The extent of property damage covered depends on your insurance policy. When it comes to PIP benefits, you’re only partially covered. For example, PIP only covers 80% of medical costs and 60% of your annual household income. Death benefits are capped at $5,000.

dui law

With these caps, there’s a good chance you’re going to be left with outstanding expenses stemming from the DUI accident. This is when you can file a lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver to recover your damages.

Prove Fault

As the plaintiff in the personal injury lawsuit, you’re responsible for proving fault, and this means proving the four elements of negligence. In other words, you can’t simply claim the other driver was intoxicated, you must provide proof.

The four elements of negligence are a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages:

  1. Duty of care: Everyone owes a duty of care to others. As a vehicle driver, you have a duty of care to ensure the safety of other motorists. This means following all traffic laws, including refraining from drinking and driving.
  2. Breach of duty: A breach of duty occurs when an individual’s actions place others at risk. The defendant must act negligently, meaning they understand their actions aren’t those of a reasonable person. In a DUI lawsuit, this means the individual willingly got behind the wheel after drinking. Their decision to drive drunk is not one of a reasonable person.
  3. Causation: In this element of negligence, you must show that the defendant’s actions are the direct cause of the accident. For example, if the defendant wasn’t intoxicated the accident may not have occurred. Sometimes, proving causation can be a little complex. If the defendant is driving while drunk and you ran a red light, it can be a little difficult to prove the accident is the direct result of the at-fault individual’s drinking. In this scenario, you may be dealing with comparative negligence. If comparative negligence applies, both drivers may be assigned some of the blame for the accident. In this case, your compensation amount is reduced by your percentage of the blame.
  4. Damages: The fourth element of negligence refers to your injuries and property damages. You must prove the accident is the direct cause of your damages. In other words, you can only have sustained these damages in a DUI accident.

Calculating Damages

Your injury claim can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages typically include medical expenses, lost incomes, and property damage costs. 

Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate. You take the total of all of your bills and receipts. Non-economic damages are a little harder to calculate since they’re intangible. Pain, anguish, and mental distress are examples of non-economic damages.

You can use either the per diem or multiplier method to calculate your non-economic damages. There are pros and cons to each method, so it’s usually a good idea to use both methods. This way, the insurance adjuster has two sets of numbers to work with during negotiations. 

Doing so can increase your chances of reaching a settlement before your lawsuit goes before a judge or jury.

Pay Attention to Filing Deadlines

The statute of limitations applies in all personal injury cases, including ones involving drunk drivers. Florida gives accident victims two years from the incident date to file a claim for damages. 

There are also filing deadlines associated with your court case and you don’t want to miss any dates. If you miss a filing deadline, your case may be dismissed.

Make Sure to Retain Legal Counsel

If you’re injured in a DUI accident, you don’t want to file a lawsuit without legal representation having your back to help you get through the process. 

Your attorney can help ensure you don’t miss any filing deadlines and work diligently to secure fair compensation for your injuries, providing you with the support and resources needed for your recovery.

Author - Olivia Poglianich
Olivia Poglianich          

Content Strategist

Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the motorcycling and adventure space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.


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