DUI Car Accidents
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages in Florida is a criminal offense, as in most states, which occurs when an individual drives a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above or with their normal faculties impaired. Florida law imposes severe penalties for DUI offenders, which includes suspension of driver’s license, imprisonment, and thousands of dollars in fines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida has had 8,476 deaths in crashes involving a drunk driver between 2003 and 2012. In 2012 alone, the rate of fatalities for individuals between the ages of 21 and 34 for drunk driving was 8 per 100,000, which is higher than the national rate of 6.7 per 100,000. 2.1 percent of adults in Florida report driving after drinking too much, as compared with 1.9 percent nationwide. If you have been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach County, you should contact Englander Peebles' Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorneys to assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries.Civil Suits in DUI Cases
When an individual who driving under the influence causes a car accident and injures or kills someone, they may be sued in court in a negligence or wrongful death action. Both the civil suit and criminal proceedings may run simultaneously. A personal injury lawsuit against a drunk driver who caused an accident is separate from the criminal prosecution, though there is evidence that is used in both cases. The burden of proof for plaintiffs in the civil suit is much lower than the burden of proof for the prosecutors, and in some instances, a jury may find an individual not guilty in a criminal proceeding, but a jury in a civil suit may hold the same person liable for damages.
To prove that a defendant was driving drunk, there are tests administered by law enforcement In Florida, these tests include:
- A field sobriety test, which is a test designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to measure blood alcohol concentration using involuntary eye movement, a walk and turn routing which is used to determine if a person can follow instructions and perform walking tasks, and a balancing test; and/or
- A breathalyzer test, where an officer asks an individual to breathe into a device that performs a preliminary screening for alcohol content.
Additionally, victims of DUI crashes may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by a jury to punish the individual who caused your injuries due to intoxication. Under Florida law, car accident victims are able to obtain punitive damages if the at-fault driver is found to be guilty of intentional wrongdoing or gross negligence. Florida law defines gross negligence is conduct that constitutes an indifference to the life of others. When one decides to get behind the wheel while intoxicated and injures another, their conduct should be punished.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you should seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. These matters can be incredibly complex, particularly because of the intersection between the ongoing criminal prosecution and the civil action. Our South Florida Personal Injury Attorneys have years of experience that he can bring to your aid in your civil suit. Give us a call at (954) 500-4878 to discuss your legal rights today.