Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Locals already know that Tampa has some amazing bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, as a hot business spot with plenty of cultural offerings and fun, Tampa also sees more than its fair share of drunk drivers coming out of those bars and restaurants.
According to the NHTSA, around a third of serious accidents, including drunk driving accidents, take place in intersections. Some of Tampa’s most dangerous intersections, including those down Bloomingdale Avenue and Highway 301, may face more serious risks because of drunk drivers. These drunk driving accidents can leave victims with severe injuries, including injuries that can cause immense, long-term pain and suffering or limitations that can impact every area of the victim’s life. Not only that, many injuries often lead to severe expenses for the victim and the victim’s family.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a Tampa drunk driving accident? You may deserve compensation for those injuries. Contact the Tampa drunk driving attorneys, Frank and Jennifer Fernandez courtesy of The Fernandez Firm to learn more about your right to compensation.
The Fernandez Firm Has Experience Dealing With Drunk Driving Accident Claims
At the Fernandez Firm, Frank and Jennifer have helped our clients acquire more than $90 million in compensation for injuries suffered in severe accidents, including drunk driving accidents. Our past claim results include $236,000 awarded to a car accident victim with spinal cord injuries and a $200,000 settlement for a young man who suffered severe facial scarring in a car accident.
Obviously, past claim results cannot guarantee future results for victims of severe accidents. We can, however, help you better understand your right to compensation, including how much compensation you really deserve for your accident. Contact Frank and Jennifer today to learn more about our past case results, and how our experienced team of attorneys can help handle your claim.
How Can The Fernandez Firm Help?
Did you suffer severe injuries in your drunk driving accident in Tampa? An attorney can make a big difference in your drunk driving accident claim.
Many victims find that simply working with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney like Frank or Jennifer can increase the compensation offered by the liable driver’s insurance company, which may increase the compensation you ultimately receive after your accident.
The Fernandez Firm can also:
- Evaluate the details of your accident and collect evidence. Did the drunk driver attempt to claim that you caused or contributed to the accident that resulted in your injuries? Did multiple factors contribute to the accident, increasing the number of liable parties and changing who you need to pursue compensation against after your accident? Fernandez Firm can go over all the details of your claim and find the evidence you need to establish your right to compensation.
- Help you understand the compensation you deserve. The compensation you deserve following a drunk driving accident may depend on several factors, including both the severity of your injuries and the party that caused them. Frank and Jennifer Fernandez can help go over the details of your accident, including your medical bills and the extent of your injuries, and give you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect.
- Take over negotiations for you. Often, dealing with the insurance company after a drunk driving accident can sap your energy and leave you struggling to decide what to do next. Should you accept a settlement offer? Did you say the right thing about your injuries, or did you say something that could ultimately limit the compensation you can receive after your accident?
The Fernandez Firm can deal with the insurance company on your behalf, freeing up your energy to focus on your recovery and the other important elements of your life.
Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Injuries and the Aftermath
Driving under the influence not only seriously increases the risk that the driver will cause a serious accident, it can also raise the risk that victims of that accident will suffer severe injuries. Often, drunk drivers struggle with slowed reaction times and poor problem-solving skills. They may fail to hit their brakes or steer away from a potential collision. The poor choices and control of a drunk driver may mean that the victim suffers more force in the accident, which may lead to more substantial challenges.
Living With Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury can leave the victim with permanent limitations that may impact every area of his or her life. Popular media often portrays TBI or concussion as long-term memory loss. While TBI victims may lose their long-term memories, they may also suffer from other significant challenges: loss of focus and concentration, difficulty with creative thinking skills or overall processing skills, or challenges related to emotional control, for example.
Many victims with traumatic brain injury struggle to maintain their jobs or take care of their usual job responsibilities, since TBI can make it impossible for the victim to keep his attention on the task at hand.
In some cases, personality changes related to traumatic brain injury may cause the victim to suffer relationship challenges: the victim may, for example, struggle with emotional regulation challenges or have a hard time relating to people. Frequently, these challenges cause the victim to suffer from higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Life After Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can cause permanent limitations to the victim’s mobility. Complete spinal cord injuries, in which the spinal cord severs completely, often leave the victim completely paralyzed below the site of the injury. Complete spinal cord injury victims often end up using a wheelchair to get around.
They may face the need to change an occupation if their former occupation required manual labor, or they need to develop new hobbies, since spinal cord injuries can prevent victims from engaging in sports or other highly physical activities. Incomplete spinal cord injuries, in which the spinal cord does not sever completely, can still cause substantial limitations in the victim’s overall mobility.
The Aftermath of Amputations
Drunk driving accidents may result in the need to amputate limbs to save the victim’s life. Many amputees go on to live active, full lives. However, they must learn to compensate for the loss of a limb. In some cases, limb loss can result in long-term difficulties for the victim.
The victim may need to relearn how to perform many common activities, including self-care tasks. Amputees may choose to use prosthetic devices to help improve function and independence or to make a missing limb look more “normal.”
While prosthetics can help improve mobility, they may also leave the victim facing substantial expenses that may linger long-term. Prosthetics often require replacement every 3-5 years, and the more complex the prosthetic, the more it may cost to replace it.
Dealing With Severe Burn Injuries
Severe burn injuries frequently cause immense physical pain for the victim. Depending on the burn’s severity, victims may have long-term scarring as well as limited mobility around the injury, especially if it occurs near joints.
Many victims struggle with long-term psychological implications related to scarring that occurs because of burn injuries. Burn injuries may also have a high risk of complication, which can substantially increase both scarring and the victim’s medical expenses.
To help decrease the risk of complications, including infection, many burn victims spend a long time in a special burn unit in the hospital, where sterile procedures help reduce the presence of bacteria and germs that could lead to serious illness in the patient. Patients who do suffer complications may end up spending much longer in recovery and have to go through many more procedures, including repeat skin grafts.
Healing From Broken Bones
Healing from broken bones may take considerable time, especially if the victim has multiple broken bones or severe breaks. Often, broken bones, especially in the case of severe drunk driving accident injuries, can require surgery to set the bone completely.
During the recovery process, many victims have trouble with mobility and self-care and may need to rely on other people to help them get around. Some victims with broken bones also have long-term limitations from their injuries, including ongoing pain or some long-term limitations to mobility. Broken bones can prevent victims from completing their usual job tasks, which may result in significant financial losses.
Seeking Compensation After a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident: Frank and Jennifer Fernandez Can Help You
Following a drunk driving accident, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. Drunk drivers often bear liability for any accidents they cause because of their drunken behaviors, including unpredictable driving, speeding, or ignoring traffic signals. The Fernandez Firm can help go over the compensation you deserve and give you a better idea of what you should expect during your drunk driving accident claim.
How Much Compensation Should You Expect After a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident?
Obviously, nobody can guarantee the compensation you will receive for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. However, our experienced attorneys can review the circumstances that led to your injuries, and give you a better idea of the compensation you might expect. Compensation for severe injuries may include several key factors.
- Who caused your injuries, and what coverage does the liable party’s insurance company offer? Most often, in a drunk driving accident, you will need to pursue compensation through the drunk driver’s insurance policy. Tampa drivers must carry insurance policies that will protect them financially after accidents, including drunk driving crashes. That insurance policy may determine how much compensation you can pursue following a drunk driving accident.
- What injuries did you suffer in your drunk driving accident? Your injuries, and the medical bills that go along with them, may have a substantial impact on your drunk driving accident claim. Frequently, severe injuries bring with them equally severe medical bills, which may cause substantial financial difficulties during this challenging period of your life.
Your attorney will help you evaluate your medical expenses, including:
- Emergency transport and treatment
- Surgeries and other procedures to treat your injuries
- Your time in the hospital
- Time in a long-term care facility, if needed
- In-home medical care
- Durable medical equipment, including items like crutches, braces, and wheelchairs
- Physical, occupational, and psychological therapy after your accident
Consult us to learn more about how to include your injuries as part of your drunk driving accident claim. Your attorney may also want to look into expenses like the cost of renovating your home to meet the needs of your injuries: adding wheelchair ramps, widening doorways, or completing the installation of specialty equipment in the bathroom to make it accessible even from a wheelchair.
- Did you have to miss work because of your injuries? How much time did you miss? Severe drunk driving accident injuries can leave you unable to go back to work. Some employers will work with their employees to get them back in the office as soon after the accident as possible. Others may prefer that you remain out of work until you make a full recovery.
If you work in a physically demanding profession or your injuries substantially impair your ability to complete your job duties, you may spend a long time out of work.
Those lost wages can cause immense financial hardship during a time when you may already have bills piling up from your medical care and other needs. Talk to Frank and Jennifer Fernandez about how to include those lost wages as part of your drunk driving accident claim.
- How did your drunk driving accident injuries impact your life? The severity of your injuries may also influence the type of effect they have on your life. However, that impact may also depend on your specific injuries and your overall lifestyle.
For example, a spinal cord injury victim who used to love sports, but can no longer play or engage in many of his favorite physical activities, may struggle more with the impact of those injuries than a victim who maintains the use of his hands and arms and prefers to play video games.
Likewise, a victim who suffers severe scarring on an area of the body that most people do not see may have fewer problems than a victim who has severe scarring on the face or other visible areas of the body. Discuss the limitations and challenges posed by your accident with the Fernandez firm to learn more about how to include pain and suffering as part of your drunk driving accident claim.
- Will the court award punitive damages following your accident? The court may award punitive damages when you suffer severe injuries in a drunk driving accident. Punitive damages act as a punishment for the drunk driver and get paid by the driver directly, not his or her insurance company. For some drunk driving accident victims, these may substantially increase the compensation you can receive.
Determining Who Bears Liability for a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident
Most often, the drunk driver who caused your accident will bear primary liability for the accident and your injuries. However, in some cases, you may find that other entities also bear liability for a drunk driving accident.
Frank and Jennifer can investigate the situation that led to your accident and determine all parties that may share liability after a drunk driving accident, including:
- The vehicle’s manufacturer
- A mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle
- The driver’s employer, if the driver was on the clock at the time of the accident
In some cases, including a bar or restaurant that knowingly served a minor, the bar or restaurant that served that driver may bear liability for an accident caused by that driver’s negligence.
Tampa Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
You sustained serious injuries in a drunk driving accident. Now what? Your case has many individual elements that may depend on your specific injuries, who caused or contributed to your accident, and the insurance policy that covers the liable party. Contact The Fernandez Firm today to learn more about your case and legal rights. Below, check out some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from Tampa drunk driving accident victims.
1. Does the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver bear liability for my accident?
Under Florida statute 768.125, the bar or restaurant that serves a driver who leaves and gets into a drunk driving accident usually does not bear liability for the accident.
However, the bar or restaurant may bear liability if:
- The bar or restaurant knowingly served a minor driver. To drink legally in Florida, customers must have reached the age of 21. If a bar or restaurant willfully and knowingly serves alcohol to a minor—a patron under the age of 21—that business may bear liability for the driver’s actions.
- The bar or restaurant knowingly served a patron known to have a problem. In some cases, the bar or restaurant staff may know that a particular patron has a problem with alcohol: most often, alcoholism. If the bar or restaurant serves that patron, it may leave the organization liable for serving that driver.
If you believe that your accident may have resulted from a minor seeking alcohol from a bar or restaurant or a driver with a habitual, known problem, discuss your concerns with your attorney as soon as possible.
2. I know that the driver who hit me was drunk, but wasn’t convicted of drinking and driving. Can I still pursue a claim?
A drunk driving conviction can help establish evidence that the driver who caused your accident bears liability for the accident and, therefore, for your injuries, but it does not necessarily change the balance of liability in the accident.
In some cases, the police might not convict a driver of driving while intoxicated, especially if the police cannot obtain a blood alcohol reading at the scene or immediately after the accident. In other cases, what you think of as symptoms of drunken behavior might actually occur due to other circumstances, including traumatic brain injury to the other driver or blood sugar issues in a diabetic driver.
Even if the driver does not end up convicted of driving while intoxicated, you still have the right to pursue a drunk driving accident claim and may still receive the same damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the accident. Call us today to learn more about your right to compensation.
3. What should I do if the insurance company that covers the drunk driver contacts me with a settlement offer? Should I take it?
A settlement offer, especially one that will get money in your hands fast, may feel extremely tempting following a Tampa drunk driving accident. You may want to take the offer to get your immediate expenses covered, especially if you cannot work following your accident or you have medical bills starting to pile up.
Accepting that offer, however, may prevent you from receiving the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. Often, an insurance company will try to get you to accept a low settlement offer to decrease its financial liability to you later. You may not have any idea how much your medical bills will ultimately cost or how your injuries will impact you long-term. Thus, you may unknowingly accept a settlement offer that reflects only a small portion of the compensation you really deserve.
Before accepting any settlement offer after a serious accident, get in touch with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney. An attorney can help you evaluate your claim and the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. You can then determine whether you should accept the settlement offer or wait for an offer that reflects the compensation you really deserve.
4. How long do I have to file a Tampa drunk driving accident claim after a drunk driving accident?
After a drunk driving accident, you must file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out. The statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a claim before the courts will refuse to hear your case. However, in some cases, exceptions may exist to the statute of limitations that can help you pursue the compensation you deserve even if some time has passed since your injuries. Talk to an attorney about how long ago your accident occurred and whether you may still have grounds to file a drunk driving accident claim.
5. When, after my accident, should I get in touch with a Tampa drunk driving attorney?
Any time you suffer severe injuries in an accident, get in touch with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. Evidence often fades quickly after an accident. Witnesses may forget exactly what happened during the accident or can no longer accurately report what contributed to the accident. The city may fix damage to the accident scene, repairing guard rails or taking down shrubs that blocked the view of the road. An attorney can help collect evidence related to your accident immediately, while it remains fresh and you can find the information you need more easily.
6. I did not think I suffered serious injuries in my Tampa drunk driving accident, but later realized that I had severe back and/or neck injuries. Can I still file a Tampa drunk driving accident claim?
Ideally, you should always pursue medical attention immediately after a drunk driving accident or, indeed, any accident. Even seemingly minor fender benders can result in severe injuries, which may have long-term consequences if not treated promptly. Sometimes, however, the adrenaline from the accident can mask pain. You may not recognize serious injuries after an accident.
Later, a visit to your doctor may reveal severe, ongoing issues that can result in substantial challenges.
You can still file a drunk driving accident claim against the driver that caused your injuries, even if you did not seek medical attention immediately after the accident. However, you may have a more difficult time proving exactly when your injuries occurred. This is where hiring experienced Tampa drunk driving accident attorneys like Frank and Jennifer Fernandez can pay dividends.
7. How long does it take to receive compensation in a Tampa drunk driving accident claim?
Seeking compensation after a severe accident often takes months. First, your attorney will need time to investigate the accident and your claim. In some cases, you may have clear evidence that a drunk driver caused your accident. In other cases, your attorney may need additional time to seek information: whether a bar or restaurant knowingly served an underage driver, for example, or whether mechanical failures may have contributed to the driver’s actions. If a driver on the clock caused your accident, your attorney may want to evaluate the driver’s employer.
At the same time, the other driver’s insurance company will want to investigate the accident. The two parties may share some information, including video recordings of the accident. Both sides may need to independently seek out other pieces of evidence to establish grounds for your claim.
Next, your attorney may advise waiting for you to recover from your injuries before moving forward with your drunk driving accident claim. Some drunk driving accident injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury, may not make it easy for doctors to assess the full extent of your injuries and the damages you suffered immediately after your accident.
You may not realize what complications you may face along the way, which can extend your recovery time and increase your medical expenses, or you may not know what limitations you will ultimately face. Your attorney may advise waiting until your doctors can more accurately predict your prognosis before filing your drunk driving accident claim.
Finally, you will likely need to negotiate for the compensation you deserve. The liable party’s insurance company may try to limit your compensation as much as possible. Meanwhile, you may want to maximize your compensation so that you can pay your medical expenses and cover your other bills. You may need to go through several rounds of negotiation before arriving at a solution that works for both parties. Going to court can further extend the time needed to settle your drunk driving accident claim.
8. Does a drunk driver always bear liability for an accident in Tampa?
The police may automatically assume that a drunk driver bears liability for a serious accident. The driver’s inebriation certainly affects the accident despite other factors, since inebriation can cause the driver to struggle to keep up with everything going on around them. Inebriation can slow a driver’s reflexes or make it more difficult for a driver to predict the behavior of others on the road, raising the risk of a severe accident.
The drunk driver, however, does not always bear full liability for an accident. Talk to your attorney to learn more about who may bear liability in your specific accident.
9. Do I have to have an attorney to handle a Tampa drunk driving accident claim?
While hiring a lawyer is never required, you should always get in touch with an attorney after an accident that results in serious injuries. Often, you may not know the full compensation you deserve or the full extent of your rights.
Frank and Jennifer can ensure that you know your rights as you move forward with your claim, and offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to all of our Tampa clients to ensure they know what to do next following a drunk driving accident in Tampa.
Do You Need a Tampa Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer? Call The Fernandez Firm Today
If you suffered serious injuries because of a drunk driver, you may seek compensation for your injuries and other losses related to the accident. Contact Frank and Jennifer at The Fernandez Firm at (813) 278-1032 for your free consultation.