What To Do After You Have Been Injured By A Drunk Driver

D.N. was a nurse practitioner who worked for a physician in downtown Orlando near the Orlando Regional Hospital. She was driving down a one-way street after picking up her kids from a dance rehearsal when all of a sudden out of nowhere a large commercial truck came barreling down the street heading the wrong way right towards her car! The driver of the truck was moving all over the road and appeared that he had no idea that he was traveling the wrong way! In an effort to avoid the collision, D.N. swerved last minute praying that she would not get into a crash. Unfortunately, she was unable to avoid the collision and the truck barreled into her Honda Civic at a speed well over thirty miles per hour. The driver got out of the vehicle and stumbled over to D.N. trying to explain that he did not observe the one-way sign. He was drunk and had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of beer on his breath. Diane and her children were stuck in the car. They were obviously hurt and the rest of the details are too horrific to write about.

Immediately After The Accident

If you or a loved one is a drunk or drugged driving crash victim, you may suffer physical, emotional, and financial damages. For injured victims, family members, and friends of those who have been killed or injured as a result of a drunk or drugged driver the first task is processing what has happened. Drunken driving crashes are sudden and the victim has no time to prepare for the crash or the aftermath. It will take a long time just to grasp the shock and horror of the trauma that just occurred to you and your family. The physical emotional suffering and the financial strain may seem to absorb all of the energy you once had just to survive. The knowledge that your body or that of a loved one is injured, disfigured, or damaged is very sad and traumatic.

If your loved one is killed, the sudden and violent death that took that person’s life probably feels, unlike any other loss you may have experienced in your life. You may feel major emotional swings from feeling guilty for not being able to protect your loved ones, to feeling devastated over the loss, or extreme anger that this should never have happened. The knowledge that drunk driving is a crime and that victims of those crashes are not hurt accidentally may anger you to the point of frustration. As you understand that the crime is a result of the choices made by the driver: to use alcohol and to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. While you are recovering or grieving, you are being dragged into the legal system to testify on behalf of a loved one or yourself which makes you angry and may complicate any feelings of grief you are suffering from.

Handling The Emotional Stress After The Accident

As a result, you may experience a new sense of vulnerability. You may suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome and have nightmares or flashbacks about the crash. Your entire life changes in that your eating and sleeping habits may change. You may feel depressed and hopeless and begin to lose interest in those things you enjoyed such as physical activities: bowling, going to the theatre, and other day-to-day activities you were engaged in. Who can you turn to and where can you get help?

Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD and Students Against Drunk Driving or SADD were formed to support victims of drunk driving and reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from drunken driving collisions. Furthermore, these groups advocate for tougher legislation upon drunk drivers. You may want to call your local or state MADD chapter or another crime victim assistance program in the community or seek mental health counselors or therapists who understand the grief and anger that follows this kind of loss and trauma. Victim advocates at local prosecution offices such as the Office of the State Attorney can provide you with information and a full range of victim support services such as assistance through the criminal justice process. Victim’s assistance programs and trained professionals also can help you find out about your victim’s rights in your state.

How to Get Financial Help

When you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident the financial impact can be horrible. Bills resulting from medical care, travel, phone, counseling, lost wages, funerals, prescriptions, can add up fairly quickly. Florida has a crime/victim compensation program that reimburses victims and their families for certain out of pocket expenses and may include reimbursement of funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses considered reasonable under Florida law. You may be able to apply to your state for compensation to cover to cover mental health counseling if a loved one of yours has been killed by a drunk driver.

In many cases, you are probably advised to at least seek a consultation with an attorney who can discuss with you the legal rights you have as a victim of drunk driving. An attorney can deal with the drunk driver’s insurance company and handle the details of your own insurance company, and be a liaison between you and the government prosecuting agency as they go after the drunk driver for his or her crime. If you or a member of your family is injured or killed in a drunken driving accident, please contact an attorney at the Umansky Law Firm in Orlando, Tampa, or Florida today.

Speak With An Attorney About Filing a Claim

Our attorneys understand that many drunk driving accident victims are frustrated that drunk drivers seem to go unpunished or ignore their license suspensions. We help clients understand that drunken drivers can be sued for monetary damages in civil court and we can pursuit punitive damages in addition to general damages for your injury as a result of a drunk driver’s carelessness. Please call us today at (407) 228-3838. Many of our attorneys are former prosecutors and we will civilly prosecute drunk or drugged drivers all over the State of Florida, including Brevard, Orange, Lake, Osceola, Brevard, and Volusia Counties.