Named one of the best places to live in Florida, Sarasota also has a darker side. Sarasota has also been titled the “DUI death capital of Florida.” Out of 180 cities surveyed across Florida, Sarasota topped the list of per capita deaths from drunk driving incidents at 12.2 fatalities per 100,000 people. This number is more than double the second city on the list, Lakeland, which had 6.5 deaths per 100,000 residents.
On a national scale, the numbers are just as shocking. Every year, it is estimated that drunk drivers will kill around 13,000 Americans. 700,000 Americans will be hospitalized by drunk drivers too.
Americans aren’t stupid. We know the laws, we know that it is illegal, as well as immoral and reckless to drive while under the influence, yet many of us do it anyway. This small minority of people cause unnecessary deaths and avoidable injuries.
Thankfully, in Florida, we have strict laws regarding the consequences and compensations owed by any driver who is found to be under the influence at the time of an accident. This makes seeking recompense from these parties a much easier task then it is in other states
The Law Place is a law firm that has over 70 years of combined experience in dealing with DUI cases. If you or a loved one have been involved in a DUI accident, call us today for a free consultation with our legal team.
Contact us at (941) 444-4444 today.
The Role of Law Enforcement in Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents
Law enforcement is doing its best to keep drunk drivers off the road and enforce strict penalties for those who violate the law. More than 55,000 DUI tickets were issued in Florida in 2011.
But despite these efforts, Sarasota drunk driving accident lawyers are busier than ever, helping victims and their loved ones recover financially from these incidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also found that in 2011, almost 14% of drivers involved in fatal crashes were under the influence of a controlled substance, including alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication.
Determining Liability in a Sarasota Drunk Driving Accident
One of the most common ways to assign liability to an injury accident is to determine if the party that caused the crash was negligent. In this field of study, negligence is defined as an instance where “another person violated a duty of care and caused injury to someone else.” Drunk driving often qualifies as a breach of this duty of care, but this typically isn’t the main factor that is used to determine liability.
Instead, drunk drivers are often considered reckless instead of negligent. Recklessness is knowing that your actions will cause harm to others. Even drivers that don’t know that their actions are reckless can still be found liable if they “should” have known.
It is difficult for any drunk driver to argue that they didn’t know or couldn’t know the possible consequences of their actions, given that drunk driving laws and consequences are well documented in every state, not just Florida. Therefore, if it can be proven that the driver was intoxicated when the accident occurred, it is often a straightforward argument to show that they are reckless and liable.
A Sarasota drunk driving accident attorney can review your case to determine if the evidence is sufficient to prove that the other driver was intoxicated. If the answer to that question is yes, assigning liability and recovering compensation for you or your family is an essential next step.
Florida’s Dram Shop Law
In some cases, in Sarasota, FL., the person that served or sold alcohol to a drunk driver can also be liable in a drunk driving accident case. However, generally speaking, you cannot sue someone, including a bartender, liquor store clerk, or party host, for serving alcohol to someone who is later in an accident.
Florida’s Dram Shop Law does have some exceptions. The person or establishment that sold or served alcohol to a drunk driver can be liable if:
- The person provides alcohol to someone that they know is underaged.
- The person provides alcohol to someone with a known alcohol abuse problem.
Steps to Take at the Scene of the Accident
If you are reading this pre-emptively, or shortly after being involved in a car accident in Sarasota, FL., then here are the steps you should take:
- Record every detail you can about the car and person driving at the time of your accident. If they haven’t stopped, try and record the color, shape, type of car, and, if possible, the registration number.
- If they have stopped, take all details of the driver, their address, name, phone number, insurance details, etc.
- Make a sketch of the accident, draw the road, and two squares labeled “A” for you and “B” for the other car with arrows to show the directions you were both traveling. This can be a highly useful tool in seeking a personal injury claim.
- Speak to as many witnesses as possible, take their details down in the same manner that you recorded the victims’ details. Get a phone number, name, and address if they are willing to give it. Most witnesses are more than happy to provide these details, but you will have to ask for them.
- Record any injuries immediately, no matter how minor. When seeking personal injury compensation in Sarasota, the details you provide your car accident lawyer during your first free consultation will ultimately affect how much money you could receive in compensation.
Seeking Compensation for Sarasota Drunk Driving Accidents
Depending on the severity of your injuries following the car accident in Sarasota and how your everyday life is adversely affected, you can seek a variety of damages. A car accident lawyer will ensure you get the highest compensation for your case. One of the most compelling reasons to work with an attorney is that an insurance company will do everything they can to minimize your payment and even look for ways to avoid paying you altogether.
It’s not unusual for them to delay a claim until you are desperate for any sum of money they’re willing to offer in a settlement. A personal injury lawyer will fight on your behalf as your advocate every step of the way. We are prepared to negotiate aggressively and go to trial if necessary.
Some of the damages you can recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and diminished earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
How Long Do I Have to Initiate a Claim Against a Drunk Driver?
Florida has a statute of limitations that limits the number of years from the time of the car accident that you have to file a claim. These types of claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims, which must be filed within four years from the date of the accident. If your loved one was killed in the incident, then the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the accident.
Furthermore, in order to claim compensation for your injuries, you need to see a doctor within two weeks of the accident.
Contact The Law Place If You or a Loved One Has Been Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident in Sarasota
We have a team of skilled and dedicated car accident attorneys ready to fight for what is rightfully yours. We know that the days and weeks following an accident are a stressful and painful time. Instead of worrying about paying your bills, filing forms, or following up with insurance companies, let us fight on your behalf.
Many of the attorneys at our law firm have an AVVO 10.0 rating, which is the highest possible rating. Our team is diverse and incredibly skilled. Our passion has led to favorable outcomes in countless cases. And remember, there is no fee to hire us. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid until you do.
Contact The Law Place today for a free consultation with our legal team. Unlike most law firms in Florida, we work as a team so that we can make use of our combined experience to help you with your case.
Contact us at (941) 444-4444 today.