Drunk Driving Accidents
In Florida, as well as in every state in the country, it is illegal for anyone 21 years of age or older to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of .08 or higher. It is illegal for a Florida driver under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02 or higher. The penalties for a drunk driving conviction are severe and may include incarceration, expensive fines, license suspension and more.
However, the greater problem pertains to alcohol-related injuries and deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a recent year - the following statistics are noted:
- 9,967 deaths
- Drunk drivers accounted for about 1/3 of all traffic deaths
- For a recent period there was an average of more than 10,000 alcohol-related deaths
- In all of these instances the BAC was .08 or higher
Negligence and Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident
When a driver gets behind the wheel, they have a duty to abide by the rules of the road. Drivers in Florida must adhere to the rules set forth by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as well as by those proscribed by the Florida Statutes. When a motorist is negligent and drives under the influence of alcohol, resulting in injury or death to another, the injured victim or the heirs of the deceased victim have a legal right to pursue compensation, known as damages.
Additional Parties May be Liable
There is often a lot more to winning a drunk-driving case than just proving the driver had an illegal BAC. In many cases, an investigation may reveal that a host, bar, restaurant, hotel or other establishment may share liability with the driver. If a party served alcohol to a driver and had knowledge of their inebriation, they may be equally liable.
Different Types of Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
There are different types of damages potentially available to injured parties. Broadly speaking, they include the following:
- Economic damages – these are quantifiable, tangible damages that generally include past and future medical expenses, lost income (beginning at the time of the accident), rehabilitation, medicine, home nursing care, various out-of-pocket expenses and more
- Noneconomic damages - these tend to include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and other personal aspects
- Punitive damages – gross negligence is defined by the Florida Statutes and is often available to injured parties in drunk driving accidents. "... In these cases the drunk driver’s conduct resulted in a “conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.” 768.72(2)(b)..."
Who May Pursue Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident?
Injured victims may pursue damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In those cases resulting in death, the lawful heirs may pursue compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes the spouse, children and parents of the deceased party.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].
Florida Statutes 768.72(2)(b)