Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in all 50 states including Florida. If you are a victim in an accident involving alcohol, you may want to know how you can go about suing a drunk driver.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs can severely impair a driver’s ability to control their vehicle and is extremely dangerous. In many cases, driving impaired by alcohol and drugs can lead to serious personal injury and death. Over 25% of traffic deaths in Florida involve at least one intoxicated driver.
In addition to criminal action being taken against intoxicated drivers, injured people or the family members of those incapacitated or killed in DUI-related accidents can sue for damages.
The Role of Alcohol
Before exploring the issue of suing the at-fault party in a DUI accident, it’s important to understand how alcohol affects accident statistics. Alcohol abuse is the number one cause of DUI-related accidents and has led to the widely-used term “drunk driving”. Different people respond differently to alcohol at different times. Because of this, it is not possible to determine how many units of alcohol need to be drunk before a driver officially can be said to be too intoxicated to drive. To legally be considered too drunk to drive under Florida law, a driver must be proven to have their normal faculties impaired at the time of driving or be tested at an alcohol breath level of .08% or above.
According to the official statistics of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2018 there were:
5,106 accidents involving a confirmed drunk driver
2,984 confirmed cases of injury in alcohol-related auto accidents
352 alcohol-related crashes that led to a death
In other words, alcohol led to nearly one auto accident death per day in the state of Florida in 2018. Of these, 17 occurred in Miami-Dade County, 15 in Palm Beach County, 10 in Broward County and 3 in Monroe County (the Florida Keys).
Personal Injury Law and Alcohol
You can take legal action if you or a completely incapacitated relative has been injured in a drunk driving accident or if a deceased relative has been killed in an accident involving a drunk driver. In order to have a case, you must show that the other driver acted or failed to act in a way that proves they were negligent. Since being a drunk driver is considered negligence in itself, you are very likely to have a powerful case when bringing a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver.
“… alcohol led to nearly one auto accident death per day in the state of Florida … ”
Alcohol and the Insurance Companies
Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying as little as possible when a claim is made. Because of this, there is a likelihood that the legal team of the insurance company will obscure or downplay the fact that the covered driver was drunk at the time of the accident. Another tactic used by insurance companies is to attempt to settle for a much smaller amount than is appropriate. This is settled “out of court” in situations where the insurance company knows that a judge and jury would rule that they owe far more. Beware of these tactics and schemes used by insurance companies acting in bad faith. Hire an experienced personal injury attorney who understands “big insurance” and knows how to beat them at their game.
If you or a loved one has experienced injury or incapacitation or if a loved one was killed due to a drunk driver, call the Personal Injury offices of South Florida law on (954) 900-8885. You can also upload your evidence into our contact form for use to evaluate your case.
South Florida Law
The personal injury division at South Florida Law, consists of experienced civil litigation attorneys who are dedicated to aggressively representing those who are injured due to the negligence of others. Our attorneys advocate for accident victims against insurance companies that refuse to pay fair and just compensation for the injuries caused by their insureds.
South Florida understands the insurance companies’ tactics and has the experience to counter them. This background allows South Florida Law to fight smart against the insurance companies and their lawyers. If necessary, we are prepared to meet insurance companies in court.
If you have been in an accident and are looking for a personal injury attorney, then reach out to us today for a free case evaluation. Remember, you only need to pay if you win your case! You can reach us on (954) 900-8885 or via our contact form.