Between 2003 and 2012, 8,476 people were killed by a drunk driver in the state of Florida. About 2.1 percent of Florida adults admit to driving while impaired, as compared to the national average of 1.9 percent. Additional DUI statistics include the following:
- In the state of Florida, most DUI-related fatalities occur on a Friday or Saturday between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- Nearly a third of Florida’s traffic fatalities in 2010 were DUI-related.
- Of the 55,722 DUI arrests in the state in 2011, 2,045 occurred in the Tampa Bay area.
- Six hundred ninety-seven traffic fatalities were caused by drunk drivers in 2012 in the state of Florida.
- Twenty-eight people die every day across the United States as a result of drunk drivers.
- Those between the ages of 21 and 25 are the most likely to drive while drunk.
- As of 2012, the state of Florida had a total of 113,076 three-time DUI offenders on record, and 11,681 five-time offenders.
- The average cost of a Florida DUI for a first-time offender is about $8,000 over a three-year period.
Although some states allow an individual injured by an impaired driver to recover damages from the bar which over-served the driver, Florida allows this only under very limited circumstances, primarily when a person willfully sells or furnishes alcohol to a person under the age of 21, or who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to alcohol. This means that parents of minors who throw a party with alcohol, could be legally responsible for damages caused by a minor who is intoxicated, leaves the home and injures another or is injured. In fact, in this situation, criminal charges could be filed against the parents.
Florida’s Drunk Driving Laws
Like all other states in the United States, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. Drivers who show impairment, and are unable to pass field sobriety tests, may be arrested, regardless of BAC level. Teen drivers with any level of alcohol in their system will be arrested, as Florida has a no-tolerance policy for underage drivers who drink. A person who holds a commercial driver’s license can be arrested for BAC levels of 0.04 percent.
Injuries You May Have Received as a Result of a Drunk Driving Accident
As the victim of a drunk driving accident, you may have received serious injuries, such as:
- Head injuries, including a concussion or traumatic brain injury;
- Cuts, lacerations, bruises or burns;
- Damage to your spinal cord, resulting in paralysis;
- Limb amputation;
- Broken bones or fractures;
- Internal injuries;
- Whiplash, or other soft tissue injuries;
- Facial lacerations or disfigurement, or
Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident
The issue of fault in a drunk driving accident is usually open-and-shut. After all, there are many options for inebriated drivers to find their way home other than getting behind the wheel. If there is any question, The Law Place attorneys have extensive knowledge about alcohol-involved accidents, and how the evidence can be interpreted. Our attorneys also know that the insurance company will likely want to reach a quick agreement with you, possibly even before you are fully aware of the extent of your injuries.
Demonstrating clear negligence, and obtaining the maximum compensation for your injuries will be our primary goal. If the drunk driver who injured you did not have insurance, our attorneys will look for other coverage which will pay for your injuries, including your own auto insurance underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. In many cases, a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver could be the only way to ensure you are fully compensated for your medical expenses, your time away from work, and your pain and suffering.
When You Were Partially at Fault for the DUI Accident
In some cases, you may have been partially at fault for the accident. If this is the case, Florida’s comparative negligence laws allow you to collect in direct proportion to the impaired driver’s responsibility. This means if you are entitled to collect $60,000, but you were 20 percent responsible for the accident, you would then be entitled to $48,000. Such a scenario could occur if you were exceeding the speed limit when you were hit by the impaired driver. While the accident would not have occurred if the other driver had been sober, your excessive speed could have contributed to the severity of the accident.
When a Loved One is Killed by a Drunk Driver
If a loved one is killed by a drunk driver in the state of Florida, you, or another personal representative is entitled to file a civil wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate of the deceased. A wrongful death claim ensures the survivors have some sort of financial stability, particularly in cases where the deceased was the sole financial supporter of a spouse and/or children. If the DUI driver has already been criminally convicted, it would seem a civil case would be an easy win, however in fact it requires the services of a highly skilled attorney to win such a case.
While a wrongful death claim will not diminish the emotional pain caused by the death of a loved one, it can help pay medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future projected income, and funeral and burial expenses. In some cases, those whose loved one was killed by a drunk driver may be entitled to punitive damages if there was willful or malicious negligence involved. Punitive damages are meant to punish the drunk driver as well as to deter future drunk driving incidents.
How The Law Place Can Help
If you are the victim of a drunk driver, you need a team of lawyers on your side. The attorneys at The Law Place will work hard to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries. We will discover and use any evidence related to the driver’s criminal behavior if he or she was arrested and convicted of DUI in connection with your accident. We will obtain field sobriety test and BAC results and request video footage from the police officer’s vehicle. Our attorneys have more than 75 years’ combined experience, and we will use that experience to your advantage following your injuries by a drunk driver. You deserve an advocate by your side who has your best interests at heart and will fight for your rights. Call The Law Place today at 941-444-4444. “We are here for you.”