Seeking Legal Help After Losing a Loved One to a Drunk Driver
Drunk driving accidents often lead to wrongful deaths. A wrongful death claim is one way to hold drunk drivers accountable. Here we will explore the impacts of drunk driving accidents on families and the legal aspects of filing a wrongful death claim to hold the drunk drver accountable.
At Coker Law, we understand your need for closure and can support you in your grief. We don’t want the financial burdens of losing your loved one to worsen your pain and stress. Call us now at (904) 356-6071 for a free consultation to learn how we might be able to help.
What are the Lasting Emotional and Financial Impacts of Drunk Driving Accidents?
The emotional and financial consequences of a drunk driving accident can last a lifetime. Nothing can take away your emotional pain, but a wrongful death claim can help you recover financial losses.
The financial loses that may be recovered in a drunk driving wrongful death claim include:
- the loss of income or inheritance,
- hospital bills,
- insurance deductibles and copays,
- funeral costs,
- the costs of grief therapy,
- a new need for paid caregiving for a child, senior, or disabled family member,
- and/or other punative damages or compensation by case.
These are not all of the financial losses that you may have as a result of losing a loved one to a drunk driver. Wrongful death claims are complex and require the care of an experienced attorney.
What are the Laws About Wrongful Death Claims After Drunk Driving Accidents?
Surviving family members or beneficiaries of the individual killed by a drunk driver may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This is a lawsuit that compensates you for your losses. However, there are many rules and laws about when a wrongful death claim can be filed. It takes an experienced attorney like those at Coker Law to help you determine if you have a case.
There are some core requirements for a wrongful death claim.
- It must be timely. You have two years to file a wrongful death claim in Jacksonville, Florida. However, other jurisdictions may have different laws about timeliness.
- You must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent or reckless, or that they acted intentionally.
How to Prove Negligence in Drunk Driving Wrongful Death Cases
There are two types of evidence that should be gathered to prove negligence or recklessness in a drunk driving wrongful death claim. The first is evidence of impairment, such as police reports, breathalizer results, other lab tests, and witness statements.
The other type of evidence that should be gathered to prove negligence or recklessness is that of the drunk driver’s history. Prior DUI convictions, traffic violations, or car accidents create a pattern of recless and negligent behavior that can support a wrongful death claim. Our experienced attorneys will gather all of this evidence.
What Damages Can I Get in a Drunk Driving Wrongful Death Claim?
There are many factors that are used to determine appropriate compensation in a drunk driving wrongful death case. Some are straightforward, such as the amount of medical bills or funeral costs. Others can be less clear.
Some of the factors that a judge will use to determine the amount of damages in your wrongful death claim include:
- the age of the deceased,
- the amount of income they earned and their career history,
- the relationships of the surviving family members and how much they depended on the deceased financially,
- and if the deceased was a caregiver for a child, senior, or disabled survivor.
The Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys at Coker Law have 40 years of experience to help you determine what, if any, compensation you may be entitled to as a result of your loved one to a drunk driving accident.
Do Wrongful Death Claims Hold Drunk Drivers Accountable?
There are criminal charges and penalties for drunk driving. However, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) points out that in the state of Florida drunk drivers may not serve any jail time, and the maximum criminal penalties are $10,000. Additionally, some drunk drivers are aquitted or plead guilty to a lesser charge.
The outcome of criminal drunk driving cases can impact wrongful death claims, but it doesn’t prevent you from filing one. These lawsuits hold drunk drivers accountable in a way that criminal laws do not. We are committed to advocating for stronger enforcement and stricter DUI laws in Florida.
Allow Coker Law to Be Part of Your Support System
There are many organizations out there that offer support and victim advocacy, such as MADD. Grief therapy is also highly beneficial, and a therapist should be part of your support system. However, wrongful death claims also provide closure and a sense of justice and require the expertise of an attorney.
Coker Law is here to support you in your grief. Contact our caring attorneys today for a free consultation.