In Florida, state statutes set strict guidelines regarding what constitutes drunk driving. Motorists violate state law if they drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. The statutes also prohibit driving with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle.
When drunk drivers cause car accidents, the results can be devastating. If the other driver was drunk in a car accident and caused injuries or property damage, you can hold them responsible for your damages.
For help building a legal case against a drunk driver, contact the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine today at 800-747-3733.
How Will the Police Determine If the Other Driver Was Drunk?
The police have several methods of determining whether a driver is legally impaired and guilty of a criminal offense under Florida’s drunk driving laws.
Officers may administer field sobriety tests to the driver or use a portable breathalyzer device to establish probable cause. If the other driver appears impaired and cannot pass a field sobriety test, the police can make an arrest even if he or she did not fail a breath test for BAC.
What Penalties Do Drunk Drivers Face?
The police have the responsibility for establishing probable cause to arrest a driver who was drunk in a car accident. Subsequently, the driver will face criminal charges and the resulting penalties.
If you suffered injuries, however, criminal charges will not help you recover compensation. Instead, you must pursue your case through the Florida civil court system. You accomplish this by suing the drunk driver and taking them to trial.
Sometimes, however, we can help victims by submitting a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the claim is sufficiently persuasive, the insurance company will typically settle for a fair amount of compensation to cover the victim’s past and future medical care needs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
How Many Florida Car Accidents Occur Due to Drunk Drivers?
According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, alcohol-impaired drivers caused almost 800 fatalities in Florida in 2015. That accounts for more than 27 percent of the total deaths in the state.
Florida actually ranks higher than the U.S. average for alcohol-related fatalities. You can see that the Sunshine State has a significant problem with drunk drivers.
How Can I Hold a Drunk Driver Liable for My Damages?
If the other driver was drunk or had alcohol and caused a car accident, that individual is accountable for any injuries and damages that occurred as a result. However, a drunk driver may not be the only person at fault for an accident.
Sometimes we can demonstrate that a bar or restaurant also had liability for overserving a customer. Someone else could also share liability if they allowed an obviously impaired person to get behind the wheel of their car.
To hold anyone legally accountable for a drunk driving accident, we must demonstrate the legal elements of negligence. This is necessary to collect a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company and to prevail in a civil lawsuit.
What Are the Legal Elements of Negligence?
The first legal element of negligence, duty of care, holds that the at-fault party owed a duty of care to you. Motorists owe a duty of care to others when they get behind the wheel. To uphold this duty, drivers obey the law, obey posted speed limits, avoid driving while tired or distracted, and they do not get behind the wheel of a car if they have been drinking. Likewise, bar and restaurant owners, bartenders, and servers have a duty of care not to overserve alcohol to customers.
The second legal element, breach of duty, occurs when the at-fault party fails to uphold their duty of care. This may mean that a driver gets behind the wheel of a car after consuming more alcohol than the legal limit. Or it may mean that a bartender continues serving drinks to an inebriated customer that they know to have a problem with alcohol and allows them to leave with their keys, as established in Florida’s Dramshop statute.
The third element of negligence, causation, occurs when the at-fault party’s breach of duty leads to an accident. The law holds them accountable to their victims for any injuries or damages that result from the accident.
The final element, actual damages, requires victims to demonstrate the value of their accident-related losses. We can demonstrate the damages you suffered by providing copies of your hospital bills and other medical care receipts, estimates to repair or replace your vehicle, towing costs, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and other documentation that shows your losses.
Call the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine for Help With Your Case.
If the other driver was drunk or had alcohol in a car accident—and you sustained injuries—contact the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine today at 800-747-3733 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case review.