I was a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver, and I was injured when he crashed into another vehicle. Can I sue him?
Maybe. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, and all drivers are required by law to carry a $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. If you’re involved in an accident, even as a passenger in a drunk driver’s vehicle, you will first turn to your own insurance policy for payment.
If you don’t own a car, but you live with a spouse or relative who owns a car, their PIP policy will cover your injuries. Otherwise, your injuries should be covered by the PIP policy of the driver who owned the car you were riding in.
If You’re Seriously Injured, You Might Be Able to Sue
Unfortunately, the no-fault insurance benefits in Florida are limited, and they may not cover all of your costs. However, you may still be able to collect damages in excess of the PIP insurance limits by filing a:
- Claim against the drunk driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage.
- Claim against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (U/U) coverage.
- Personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. However, to do so, your injuries must meet Florida’s injury threshold, meaning that one or more of the following is true: the effects of the accident are permanent, the accident resulted in scarring or disfigurement, or the accident caused the loss of important bodily function.
Florida’s no-fault insurance system is quite complicated, so if you have been injured as a passenger in a vehicle with a drunk driver, it is important to obtain the advice of an experienced car accident attorney right away. Insurance companies make money by collecting policy payments, not by paying claims—they are unlikely to look out for your best interests and ensure you get all of the compensation you need and deserve.
It’s also important to understand that Florida follows the pure comparative negligence rule. This means your monetary award could be reduced by your percentage of fault for getting into a car with a drunk driver. However, an experienced attorney may be able to argue that you were not at fault—or at least that your percentage of fault should be reduced.
Are You The Victim Of A Drunk Driver In Florida?
If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver you need to speak with an experienced Florida DUI victim lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Coral Springs office directly at 954.755.7803 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve Florida residents including all of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County and all points in between.