Drunk Driving Accidents
Florida drivers have a responsibility to avoid endangering everyone else on the road. Drivers must drive safely and in accordance with traffic safety laws. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs puts everyone on the road at risk of a catastrophic accident. If you or a loved one were hurt or killed by a drunk driver, you have the right to recover for the harm they have caused you and your family.
Florida Drunk Driving Laws
Like every state, Florida sets a legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving. A Florida driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent is guilty of a “per se” DUI. However, even a driver with a lower BAC may still be guilty of DUI if there is evidence that they were driving while deprived of full possession of their normal faculties.
For your civil personal injury claim, you do not need to prove that the drunk driver satisfied the criminal definition of DUI. You need only prove that they were at fault for your accident, and being in any way impaired while driving is strong evidence that the crash was their fault. Violating a safety law, especially one as important as the prohibition against driving while intoxicated, is legal proof of negligence at the very least.
Moreover, if the at-fault driver was seriously impaired, regardless of their BAC, you might be entitled to punitive damages. A knowledgeable Central Florida drunk driving accident lawyer can tell you more based on the circumstances of your case.
Damages Available After a Intoxicated Driver Collision
If a drunk driver seriously injured you, or if a drunk driver killed your loved one, you can sue for damages. In the typical lawsuit, you may be able to recover for the following:
- Medical bills, including both past and anticipated future expenses
- Physical therapy costs
- Wheelchairs and other medical devices
- Lost income as a result of missing work due to injury
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If your family member was killed in the crash, you might have a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death plaintiffs can recover damages including:
- Lost income and support from the decedent
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of parental guidance
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
Additionally, drunk driving is strong evidence of “gross negligence.” If a personal injury defendant was acting extremely recklessly, then the plaintiff might be able to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are additional damages on top of those necessary to compensate you for your harm that are meant to punish the defendant. Punitive damage awards can be quite large. If a drunk driver killed your loved one, you likely have a strong case for seeking punitive damages. Talk to your dedicated Florida drunk driving accident lawyer.
Florida’s “Dram Shop” Law
If a patron at a bar is visibly drunk, but the bar continues to serve them alcohol and then lets that person get behind the wheel of a car, is the bar partially liable for any resulting accident? Florida’s “dram shop” law addresses this issue.
In most cases, a drunk driver is solely responsible for any injuries or damages they cause in a car crash. There are, however, limited circumstances under which a party other than the driver may be held partially liable for an alcohol-induced accident. Two instances in which a third party may be liable include:
- Selling to minors. If a minor under age 21 gets in a drunk driving accident, any business or host that served them alcohol before the crash might be liable for damages.
- History of alcohol abuse. If a bartender, server, or business generally knows that a patron is “habitually addicted” to alcohol and chooses to serve that person alcohol regardless, then they might be partially responsible for a resulting accident.
Unlike in some other states, in Florida, it is not sufficient to show that a bartender knew a patron appeared visibly drunk and served them alcohol or did not stop them from driving. A business or other third party will only be liable for a drunk driving accident in those circumstances described above.
Contact a Compassionate Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed by a drunk driver you might be entitled to damages. Our zealous and talented personal injury team is prepared to hear your case. We will fight for justice for you and your family, and we will not rest until you get the compensation you deserve. Call the dedicated drunk driving accident lawyer at Goldman Law, P.A. for a free consultation and see how we can help you recover after your drunk driver accident.