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.
In order to win on an ordinary negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the following four elements:
- The defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care to drive safely and sober;
- The defendant breached his duty by driving an automobile while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of more than .08;
- The defendant’s breach of duty in drinking and driving caused the automobile accident; and
- The plaintiff suffered personal injuries or property damage as a result of the accident.
What Can You Sue For?
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you can obtain compensation for your injuries including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering.
In DUI cases, a plaintiff can also pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are generally permitted to punish wrongdoers as well as deter others from committing the same crime. Under Florida law, in order to obtain punitive damages, a plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the drunk driver is guilty or intentional misconduct or acted with gross negligence.
One is guilty of intentional misconduct if they were aware of the risks and high probability of harm posed by their conduct yet they willfully ignored those risks and continued to engage in the conduct. One is guilty of gross negligence is their conduct completely disregards the safety of others.
South Florida Attorney Helping DUI Accident Victims
Car accidents are never easy to deal with but when the accident is the result of someone’s recklessness, the experience can become extremely difficult. South Florida personal injury attorney Robert Dixon understands the physical, emotional and financial trauma that can result from a drunken driving accident. It is best to act quickly to preserve your right to compensation. Contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.