A large majority of the injuries that occur on Florida roadways are a result of accidents caused by the momentarily negligent operation of a vehicle. Other times, injuries are the result of the reckless behavior of impaired drivers. When a driver abuses alcohol and gets behind the wheel of a car the results can be devastating for everyone. According to recent statistics, there were over 40,000 arrests for driving under the influence in the state of Florida, and 676 drunk driving-related fatalities. When alcohol is a factor in an accident that caused you or someone you know to be injured, there are additional factors to consider when pursuing those responsible.
Driver Liability for Personal Injury as a Result of an Accident
Of course, driving under the influence can carry severe criminal penalties; however, a person who injures another as a result of being under the influence of alcohol also faces civil liability. Those injured by another’s negligence, including drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, are entitled to damages from the person causing the injury. A personal injury claim includes compensatory damages for medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injury, and pain and suffering. Under Florida law, drunk drivers may also be responsible for punitive damages when their reckless conduct is deemed to be in conscious disregard or indifference to the safety of others. Punitive damages are special damages above and beyond compensation for your injuries and expenses, and are meant to punish and deter certain conduct like repeatedly driving drunk and injuring others as a result.
Dram Shop Liability
Recognizing the need to also hold establishments that unlawfully provide alcohol to those that may get behind the wheel of a car, many states have enacted dram shop laws designed to deter liquor establishments from serving underage patrons or over serving those who already had too much to drink. Under Florida law, an establishment or host may be liable for the injuries caused by their intoxicated patron or guest if the establishment or host unlawfully sells or furnishes alcohol to an under-aged person or someone known to habitually abuse alcohol.
What to do When Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver
Driving under the influence cases have unique challenges. For example, if you are in an accident with an underage driver who may have been drinking, you may also have a claim against the establishment or host who furnished the alcohol. If you were injured by a repeat DUI offender under reckless circumstances, you may have a basis to recover punitive damages. In all cases, investigating the facts leading up to the accident can be of critical importance to your case and recovery.
Get Help from an Experienced Florida Lawyer
If you or someone that you know has been injured in an accident by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs near Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, or West Palm Beach you may have a claim for damages against the driver and possibly those who served the intoxicated driver. Get the help of the experienced lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm who will aggressively pursue those responsible. Call or contact the office today for a confidential consultation regarding your case.