Everyone knows that alcohol & other illicit substances seriously impact judgment and safe driving. It poses an imminent danger on the road. Despite efforts to raise awareness, Floridians every day get in their cars when they’ve had a few too many, causing serious accidents to occur. If you were injured in an accident because someone couldn’t be bothered to call an Uber or find another safe ride home after a night of partying, you should pursue financial compensation by contacting our Florida drunk driving accident lawyers today.
The experienced Florida personal injury lawyers at Eltringham Law Group will see that you are covered for your damages. Contact us to find out what our Florida drunk driving accident lawyers can do for you or your loved one.
What Are Florida’s Drunk Driving Laws?
According to Florida’s laws on drunk driving, drivers can be arrested if they get behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. It’s a uniform threshold for adults who can legally drink. The car doesn’t even have to move for an arrest to occur. In fact, someone “sleeping it off” in a parking lot can still be arrested even without keys in the ignition.
Most everyone knows that drunk drivers can be arrested if law enforcement determines that they are legally impaired. However, most people don’t know that “circumstantial evidence” of intoxication is also admissible in civil cases and is adequate to prove by the greater weight of the evidence that a person was under the influence to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired. For example, despite the lack of direct proof of intoxication such as roadside sobriety or BAC testing, evidence that the driver had spent seven to eight hours in two bars on the night of the accident, that he admitted to drinking two beers and a sip of champagne, and that he fled the scene were sufficient for the jury to determine that the driver was intoxicated in a civil negligence action. Matalon v. Lee, 847 So.2d 1077 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).
It is therefore crucial to immediately hire experienced drunk driving accident attorneys like Eltringham Law Group to investigate right away & uncover critical evidence when you have been involved in a suspected drunk or impaired driving accident. This type of evidence can include obtaining witness statements or even your own testimony that the drunk driver’s normal faculties were impaired, including his own admissions to drinking, his erratic, inexplicable and reckless driving, rear-ending a vehicle stopped in the emergency lane at high speed, observations of first responders of him staggering and having glassy eyes, smelling of alcohol, etc.
What is the Florida Dram Shop Law?
In Florida, establishments such as a bar or restaurant may also be financially responsible for a drunk driving accident if they overserve a customer who becomes severely intoxicated and then gets in a motor vehicle and hurts someone else. However, Florida’s dram shop law generally limits such vendor liability to only certain situations. First, where the establishment knew or reasonably should have known that the customer was a “habitual drunkard” based on past experience & interaction with that particular customer. Or, where the drunk customer that injured you was under Florida’s legal drinking age of 21. This is just one of many reasons that it is so important to hire an experienced drunk driving accident attorney like Eltringham Law Group to investigate right away & uncover critical evidence any time you have been involved in a drunk driving accident. A drunk driver’s status as a habitual drunkard implicating possible vendor liability is not something that’s likely to appear in any police report. It is not law enforcements’s job to figure that out for drunk driving accident victims. But it is Eltringham Law Group’s job should you decide to hire us to be your drunk driving accident lawyers. We will do whatever we have to do uncover the evidence necessary to hold all responsible parties financially accountable for any injuries & legal damages resulting from a drunk driving accident.
Common DUI Accident Injuries
A DUI accident can result in serious injuries or the loss of life. These include:
- Disc herniations & bulging discs
- Shoulder & knee injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Brain Damage (often referred to as TBI)
- Organ damage
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Wrongful death
Compensation for Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida
The compensation you may receive in a drunk driving accident will vary depending on your personal and professional situation and the severity of your injuries. They may include:
- Medical expenses (past & future): Medical expenses will cover care needed directly after the accident and any ongoing or future care needs.
- Lost wages (past & future): You may be compensated for wages lost due to taking time off work to recover from your injuries. And you may also receive compensation to the extent that you have suffered a loss of earning capacity in the future as a result of your injuries.
- Residential modifications: If you were severely injured in a DUI accident, you might have to make residential modifications to your home to accommodate a disability. The expenses for these modifications may be covered in your damages.
- Non-Economic Damages: these are personal damages for pain & suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, scaring, loss of consortium, and, perhaps most significantly, “Loss of Enjoyment of Life” to name a few.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages don’t typically apply in most car accident cases but they are often brought to the table in DUI accidents. They are meant to punish the drunk driver for injuring you in the commission of a crime, namely drunk or impaired driving. And to further discourage & deter the drunk driver from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
- Wrongful death: If the victim dies in the drunk driving accident accident, their family members may bring a civil claim for emotional pain and suffering, a loss of financial support, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
Every case is different so our Florida drunk driving injury lawyers at Eltringham Law Group will investigate your case and determine which types of compensation you may be eligible to receive.
How to Spot a Drunk Driver
If you spot a drunk driver on the road in Florida, it is best to get out of their vicinity as soon as possible and call the police. Here are some signs that will tell you if someone is drinking and driving:
- Braking erratically
- Driving very slowly
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Making very wide or tight turns
- Driving too close to the center lane
- Weaving, swerving and drifting out of the lane
- Driving at night without headlights
- Driving at erratic speeds
- Nearly striking objects when driving
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Ilegal turns
DUI Accident FAQs
Does car insurance cover DUI accidents in Florida?
Yes, car insurance will cover DUIs in Florida in most cases. However, the drunk driver’s insurance may not provide adequate compensation if that person is underinsured and does not have other available financial assets to fully compensate you.
How bad is the drunk driving problem in Florida?
According to 2018 NHTSA data, Florida ranked as one of the three states with the highest alcohol-related fatalities. 958 deaths were recorded for the year. The state was third to California (1,241) and Texas (1,677).
What is the statute of limitations for a Florida DUI accident injury?
The victim must file a claim within four years of the date of the accident to receive compensation. The claim must be filed within two years if a wrongful death occurred.
Your Florida Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Can Help You Win Your Case
If you were injured in a Florida drunk driving accident, act quickly to pursue compensation. Our Florida drunk driving accident lawyers have helped accident victims like you file claims and build strong cases. We perform the investigations, evidence-gathering, and fighting for a fair settlement even if the case goes to court.
Trust the Eltringham Law Group in Florida to be considerate about your recovery and fierce against the insurance companies. Our compassion and results speak for themselves.
Injured in a DUI accident? Call the Eltringham Law Group today to begin your case.