Florida DUI Accidents: What is Civil Liability and Who is Liable?
Many people don’t know it’s possible to recover compensation after sustaining injuries in Florida DUI accidents. However, it is civil liability that families may use personally against a driver who causes harm or kills their loved one. After a DUI accident case in which you become the victim, it’s important to retain the best Miami Personal Injury law firm after a DUI accident.
No matter how high a person believes a tolerance to alcohol, driving after drinking is illegal. Drinking and driving is acting recklessly, and DUI accidents can happen to anyone. No one is immune from coming to harm in these accidents, and no one is immune from causing them. Responsibility is what protects those who consume alcohol from liability. A driver assuming they won’t get caught, or that they can’t possibly hurt anyone after “just one drink”, is exactly when DUI accidents occur. Never take the risk and drive after consuming any amount of alcohol!
After Miami DUI accidents with injuries, those responsible face both civil liability and criminal consequences for their actions.
What is drunk driving?
Drunk driving itself is obvious: when a person consumes alcohol, then drives a car, no matter the level of impairment, this is “drunk driving”. A person who consumes alcohol is committing a crime if they choose to drive. This crime comes with civil and criminal consequences. A civil consequence of choosing to drink and drive is liability.
Unfortunately, drunk driving occurs frequently in South Florida. There is a lot of money in the alcohol business in Miami. At nightclubs. At restaurants. Miami is a hotspot for those who party and drink to excess on the weekends. Witnessing a person drink a single beer or order only one cocktail, then attempt to drive home appears normal at first glance. However, it’s a crime, and it puts the public at risk of serious injury and death. After just one drink, a person is no longer fit to drive themselves.
When a person witnesses his friend consuming alcohol, but chooses to allow the friend to drive anyway, that friend or family member faces liability, too. Furthermore, the bar or restaurant in which they consume the alcohol could become liable. The latter liability are Dram Shop Laws. Dram Shop Laws may be applicable for accidents that occur after a drunk person leaves an establishment and drives. If that driver harms another driver, pedestrian, or passengers in their own car, laws pertaining to the liability they face can be severe. Read more: How Do Dram Shop Laws Protect Public Safety?
What happens in Florida DUI accidents with wrongful death?
When someone dies as a result of a Florida drunk driving accident, surviving family members may pursue legal recourse to seek compensation. This may be through mediation or going to trial. With any wrongful death, however, compensation and further damages is the right of the family who is not at-fault.
What are consequences of Miami DUI accidents?
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 DUI accidents 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.
Police pull over a driver suspected of driving drunk. What is BAC testing in Miami-Dade county?
In states such as Florida law enforcement may require drivers to submit to a Blood Alcohol Concentration BAC test. Based on the results of the test, “probable cause” may be present. During DUI accident stops, Miami-Dade police cannot make an arrest without reasonable suspicion to first require the driver to submit to a BAC test. If the results show a driver is drunk or under the influence, there is probable cause for an arrest. Arresting a drunk driver is always in the public’s best interest. Drunk drivers pose a risk to themselves and everyone else. Aside from the criminal consequences, arresting a person for driving drunk leaves them open to liability, civil punishment for any harm they cause while under the influence.
What is Florida’s stance on BAC laws and how do police administer the test?
The state of Florida does not have specific BAC laws. Therefore, it’s a state that leaves testing requirements up to law enforcement. However, if an officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired. Then, they may use their best discretion and require the driver to submit to a BAC.
In the state of Florida, where the legal experts of the Shaked Law Firm reside, there are no laws specific to Blood Alcohol testing. It remains Florida law enforcement’s job to do due diligence in determining whether to issue a BAC test to a driver who appears “out of it”.
Next, there are two types of Blood Alcohol Concentration testing at the discretion of 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. Below is a quick checklist of what Florida’s expert Personal Injury lawyers look for when accepting claims for DUI accidents.
What is the “burden of proof” in Miami DUI accidents?
- Is the driver showing signs of impairment?
- Is the BAC indicative of the driver being above the legal limit?
- What is the intoxication level of the driver at the time they’re pulled over? Slurring words? Walking unsteadily?
- Is the driver acting recklessly or in an unreasonable manner? Are they placing the public at risk by driving?
What do Florida law firms 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 DUI accidents? 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.