Articles Posted in DUI

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A court recently issued an opinion in a Florida drunk driving accident lawsuit addressing whether evidence of intoxication is relevant to the calculation of damages. The case arose when a man consumed two alcoholic beverages at work and proceeded to walk home on the side of the highway. The man conceded that he was experiencing a “buzz” and was unfamiliar with the area. He called a friend for help, and as he was talking to his friend, a driver hit him.

The driver stated that he was not under the influence of alcohol or medications, was not tired, or otherwise distracted when the accident happened. He recounted that as he was driving, he noticed the pedestrian in the road. To provide the pedestrian with more room, he moved into the southbound lane. He shifted his gaze momentarily, and continued to drive north in the southbound lane; shortly after that, he heard a “pow.” The driver presented evidence that the pedestrian had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.18. An expert witness testified that the pedestrian was impaired, and the impairment could have compromised his motor skills, reaction times, and ability to judge speed, distance, and danger.

Under Florida law, the trial court maintains discretion in determining whether evidence is admissible. If a trial court finds that evidence is admissible, the ruling will not be reversed, unless there is a clear abuse of discretion. However, it is essential to note that trial courts have limitations when ruling on evidentiary matters. The law provides that relevant evidence is that which proves or disproves a material fact. In cases involving comparative negligence, the fact trier must evaluate each party’s “totality of fault.” Disputes regarding whether a person was impaired or to what level alcohol impaired their typical facilities is a fact question that should be determined by a jury. The question should go to the jury when there is “substantial evidence” of the fact.

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Every state has different laws when it comes to the legal responsibility of bars and social hosts for providing alcohol to an individual who is later accountable for causing a motor vehicle wreck. Laws surrounding alcohol can be complex, which is why it is wise to consult a knowledgeable Miami injury attorney to determine what can be done in your case.

In the state of Florida, there is limited liability for bars and restaurants when it comes to incidents of drunk driving. Under state law, a person is liable when he or she willfully and unlawfully provides alcohol to an individual who is not of lawful drinking age or knowingly gives alcohol to an individual who is an alcohol addict.

In Case v. Newman, a Jacksonville woman was killed in a car accident when a 17-year-old drunk driver, Andrew Newman, struck her vehicle. Police confirmed that Newman was under the influence of alcohol when he lost control of his car and veered into the lane in which the decedent was driving. Paramedics determined that the victim was dead at the scene of the accident. The decedent’s daughter and personal representatives filed a lawsuit against Newman, his father and grandfather, who owned the car Newman was driving, and the store that sold Newman the alcohol. Continue reading →

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Every year thousands of Americans are killed or injured in alcohol related automobile accidents. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reports that in 2012 there were 697 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities; 55 of these were under 21 alcohol-impaired fatalities. Miami personal injury attorney Robert Dixon understands that drunk driving is a serious matter. Our team works aggressively on behalf of victims, and families of victims whose lives have been adversely affected by drunk driving.

The Legal Limit

Driving while drunk is a criminal offense. Those found driving while intoxicated are charged with a DUI which stands for “driving under the influence.” Whether or not you will be charged with a DUI depends on your blood alcohol level. The legal limit of blood alcohol content in Florida is .08.

The Legal Standard for Liability

As with other automobile accidents, liability will likely be based on the theory of negligence or wrongful death. A claim of negligence requires showing that the party that caused the accident acted in a negligent manner. Negligence occurs when a person breaches their duty to exercise reasonable care. An individual acts with reasonable care when they act how a reasonably prudent person would act under similar circumstances. Continue reading →

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