Liability in Florida DUI Accidents. With Injuries?
After a DUI accident with injuries, those responsible are liable for the harm that comes to the victim. Many people don’t know this, but they can seek compensation after sustaining injuries in a DUI accident. However, civil liability is one of the most common consequences a drunk driver faces after causing harm to other drivers. This is especially true if injuries were sustained or property was damaged. It’s important to retain a lawyer with Board Certification after a DUI accident. That is, after stabilizing from any injuries on the medical side.
DUI accidents can happen to anyone. No matter how high a person believes their tolerance to alcohol, driving after drinking is unacceptable. Drinking and driving is acting irresponsibly. A driver assuming they won’t get caught, or that they can’t possibly hurt anyone after “just one drink”, is when a DUI accident occurs. Drunk driving is a risk no one should ever take.
Thus, this Shaked Law Firm article will help to provide insight to an important aspect of drunk driving accidents: civil liability.
What is drunk driving?
Drunk driving is something that happens every day. This is especially true in big cities like Miami where nightlife is a tourist attraction that brings in millions of dollars a year. Most of that money is made on alcoholic beverages. At nightclubs. At restaurants. Miami is prime with those who drink to excess on the weekends. Witnessing those around us drink one beer or order just one alcoholic beverage, then get in a car is commonplace. However, it shouldn’t be. After just one drink, a person is no longer fit to drive themselves home.
When someone witnesses a friend consuming alcohol, but chooses to allow that person to drive, that friend or family member could become liable. Furthermore, the establishment in which they consumed the alcohol could become liable. The latter liability are Dram Shop Laws. We discuss this issue in How Do Dram Shop Laws Protect Public Safety? Dram Shop Laws may be applicable for accidents occurring after a person leaves an establishment and drives drunk. If the driver harms another driver, pedestrian, or passengers in their own car, laws pertaining to the liability they face can be severe.
What happens in a DUI accident with wrongful death?
When someone dies as a result of a drunk driver, surviving family members have the right to seek damages. This can be done either through mediation, or in some cases trial is necessary. As we stress on The Law Resource often, no amount of money replaces the life of a family member. However, as with any wrongful death, compensation to the fullest extent of the law provides assistance in the financial burden of loss. The latter of which uses Pecuniary Damages. This is why retaining a Board Certified lawyer is extremely important.
What are the consequences of a DUI accident?
Those committing DUI offenses face severe penalties. Furthermore, they must live with the knowledge of the harm they caused to an innocent victim. The circumstances surrounding the DUI accident are what determine whether criminal charges will be filed. This is true if the driver is above the legal blood alcohol limit–”BAC”. Blood-Alcohol testing can be enforced by police officers when suspicion is present that a driver is drunk.
While this information does not concern the specialty of Personal Injury Law, it’s important to understand how these puzzle pieces fit together on the civil side. Thusly, the arrest of a driver who causes harm to a passenger in their car, can be indispensable during the Discovery phase of a Personal Injury case.
What is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) testing?
In certain states law enforcement may require a driver to submit to a Blood Alcohol Concentration test. Based on the results of the BAC test, “probable cause” may be used. An officer cannot arrest a driver without reasonable suspicion to first administer a BAC test. If the results conclude the driver is intoxicated, probable cause is then given to make an arrest. This would be in everyone’s best interest. A drunk driver poses a risk to themselves and everyone else on the road. Upon arrest, they can then potentially be charged with a DUI.
Watch the video below for the differences between a civil case and a criminal case.
Does Florida have BAC laws?
In the state of Florida, where Shaked Law Firm practices law, there are no laws specific to Blood Alcohol testing. BAC testing remains law enforcement’s job to do due diligence in determining whether to test a seemingly drunk driver upon pulling them over. However, an officer must have reasonable suspicion before pulling anyone over. Then, they may use their best discretion and require the driver to submit to a BAC.
Next, there are two types of Blood Alcohol Concentration testing that can be issued by law enforcement:
- Mandatory BAC: some states require any motorist or passenger who dies as a result of a drunk driving-related accident to have a BAC. According to government websites providing this information, only half the states in the country have this requirement.
- Discretionary BAC: Many states have “discretionary” Blood Alcohol Concentration testing. This leaves the testing decision up to the medical examiner or other state official overseeing the case.
A civil liability checklist
A lawyer may pursue litigation in order to obtain damages for a drunk driving accident with injuries or wrongful death. However, there are steps to take prior to proceeding with litigation. Below is a quick checklist of what a Florida Personal Injury law firm may when accepting a DUI accident claim.
What is the “burden of proof” in a drunk driving accident?
- Was the driver showing signs of impairment?
- Did BAC indicate the driver is above the legal BAC limit?
- What was the intoxication level of the driver?
- Did the driver act in an unreasonable manner, or negligent, thusly putting the public at risk?
What does a lawyer need for drunk driving accident Discovery?
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- BAC testing results
- An expert opinion’s testimony
The lawyer will obtain all necessary documentation using the proper legal procedure known as “Discovery”. Remember: honesty and credibility from the beginning can be what makes a successful case. Lying, being dishonest, or exaggerating causes serious harm, or kills, a case.
In conclusion, when it comes to drinking and driving, it’s never worth the risk. No one can be sure of their tolerance for alcohol. The answer to eliminating a DUI accident? Using an alternative method to get home safely. There is no excuse to drive after drinking. Therefore, whether it’s Uber, Lyft, or a taxi, there are options for those who want to remain safe after consuming alcohol.