Articles Posted in DUI Accident

Uber-car-accidentEarlier this month, prosecutors filed criminal charges against two men for their roles in a December 2022 DUI accident that claimed three lives. According to a recent news report, the accident occurred when a Toyota Tacoma began driving west in the eastbound lanes of Route 44 near DeLand, Florida. As the Toyota was driving the wrong way, it collided with an Infiniti. The driver of the Infiniti lost control of the vehicle, which spun out into a nearby median. As a result of the head-on collision, three people died.

The driver of the Toyota fled the scene, leaving behind an injured passenger. Police spoke with the passenger, but she was initially reluctant to identify the driver. Subsequent investigation revealed that the driver of the Toyota was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Prosecutors are charging him with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, three counts of leaving the scene of a crash with death, three counts of vehicular homicide and reckless driving resulting in serious bodily injury.

The driver of the Infiniti, who remained at the scene, was also intoxicated. Through its investigation, law enforcement determined that the Infiniti was traveling at approximately 100 miles per hour in the moments before the crash. This prompted prosecutors to charge the driver with reckless driving resulting in serious bodily injury as well as three counts of vehicular homicide.

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When thinking about liability in a drunk driving accident, it’s common to assume that the drunk driver is the only potentially liable party. However, there are various laws in place that allow accident victims to pursue a claim against other parties, such as bars and restaurants or manufacturers and distributors of a dangerous product that contributed to the accident.

1259-Blogimage-01-640x-432For example, recently, a federal judge issued an opinion in a case involving a fatal accident caused by a driver under the influence of Ultra Duster, a commonly-available inhalant most frequently used to clean electronics. According to the court’s opinion, a man purchased a can of Ultra Duster at Walmart. He inhaled the contents before getting behind the wheel. As he was driving, he lost control of the vehicle, hitting and killing two children and an adult.

While the victims’ families certainly had a potential case against the driver, in his case, the court was tasked with determining whether the distributor of Ultra Duster was also liable for the accident under a theory of strict product liability. Ultimately, the court held that, while the distributor placed the product into the stream of commerce, the connection between the company’s actions and the victims’ death amounted to “speculation.” Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s strict liability claims.

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Generally, people who drive while intoxicated and cause accidents can be held liable for any injuries suffered by other people involved in the collision. Typically, evidence of intoxication is relevant and admissible in a lawsuit arising out of a crash, but there are some exceptions. For example, as explained in a recent Florida ruling, in cases in which a defendant admits liability and that punitive damages are warranted, such evidence should be precluded. If you were hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Florida car accident attorney to determine what damages you may be owed.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a rear-end car accident caused by the defendant. The defendant was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensatory and punitive damages due to the defendant’s intoxication. The defendant conceded liability and admitted that if the plaintiff was awarded compensatory damages, he would be owed punitive damages as well, and asked the court to bifurcate the trial and exclude evidence of his intoxication during the compensatory phase.

Allegedly, the court bifurcated the trial but permitted the plaintiff to admit evidence of the defendant’s intoxication during the first phase. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him over $2.5 million. The defendant appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in permitting the plaintiff to introduce evidence of the defendant’s intoxication, despite the defendant’s admission of liability and concession to punitive damages. Continue reading

People that are hurt in car accidents often seek damages in civil lawsuits from the parties that caused the accident. Typically, a plaintiff that proves a defendant’s liability in an auto crash case will be awarded compensation for the cost of treating injuries and repairing property damage caused by the accident. In some instances, though, a plaintiff may be awarded other damages as well. In a recent Florida opinion, a district court of appeals discussed when a plaintiff may assert a punitive damages claim in a lawsuit arising out of a drunk driving accident. If you were hurt in a crash caused by an intoxicated driver, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Florida DUI accident attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to pursue.

Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was walking on a Florida sidewalk when he was struck by a car driven by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. An investigation revealed that the defendant was intoxicated due to marijuana and alcohol at the time of the accident. While the civil claim was pending, the defendant was charged with multiple DUI crimes, to which he pleaded guilty.

It is reported that after the defendant’s entry of a guilty plea, the plaintiff moved to amend his complaint to include a claim for punitive damages. The trial court held a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion, after which it issued an order granting the motion. The defendant filed a petition for certiorari review of the order, arguing that it should be quashed because the trial court did not set forth express findings when it determined the plaintiff could assert a claim for punitive damages. Upon review, the appellate court denied the defendant’s petition.

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The most expensive drink you can ever buy is undoubtedly the one that pushed you towards a DUI. Despite efforts to increase awareness and strict laws against drinking and driving, it continues to remain a huge problem in the United States. While we understand the financial implications of a DUI, not many know the hidden costs associated with drunk driving. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Jarrett Blakeley lists some for you:

• The Financial Cost:

The financial cost is the most significant and obvious impact of a DUI. Even if you successfully manage to fight a DUI, you will still have to pay for legal fees and other expenses. These include funds necessary to secure a bond, lost wages, expenses incurred when taking a taxi or Uber, fees for a review hearing to fight for administrative suspension, counseling fees, evaluation follow up fees, fines, etc. You will have to pay for impounding the vehicle if you’ve entered a plea for a DUI. A DUI conviction also involves paying for the ignition interlock device and the fees for an additional driver license reinstatement.

If you’re in an accident, the first thing you must do is seek medical attention. Once the initial confusion and commotion have died down, it’s wise to file an insurance claim. You could file a claim yourself or hire a DUI injury accident lawyer to file one for you.

Your chances of receiving a fair settlement are higher if you choose the latter. An experienced lawyer like Jarrett Blakeley understands the process well, and Blakeley Law Firm will settle for nothing less than what you deserve. If your adjuster advises you to not contact a lawyer and promises to make the claims process easy for you, don’t believe him/her! Here’s why:

• Insurance Companies Delay the Process:


Florida has a fairly good record when it comes to preventing DUI. Strict regulations and continued awareness are some of the factors that have created such a situation. What happens if you receive a DUI in Florida? How does a DUI citation affect subsequent DUI offenses? DUI accident lawyer Jarrett Blakeley explains below.

• Legal Limit:

The legal limit for BAC, or Blood Alcohol Concentration, in Florida and other states is 0.08 percent. If your BAC level exceeds this limit, you will be charged with DUI, though the first offense is considered a misdemeanor. When it comes to receiving a DUI, a lot depends on what are referred to as aggravating factors, i.e. driving with a child in the car, the driver being cited in a school zone, a driver threatening or causing serious physical harm to another person, excessive speeding, reckless driving, etc. You can also be charged with aggravated DUI if your BAC level is found to be abnormally high, i.e. around two to three times higher than the permissible limit. In an instance of aggravated DUI, you will be charged with a felony and liable for severe penalties.


Every year, hundreds of people lose their lives and thousands of others are injured or maimed because of accidents caused by drunk drivers. These accidents have financial fallout as well, more than $44 billion a year according to the NHTSA.

Thanks to tough regulations and increasing awareness of the problem, DUI accident rates have fallen. But we still have a long way to go. Many young drivers are not aware of the consequences of a DUI incident, and this ignorance can have some serious consequences. Here is what could happen if you get a DUI:

1. First Offense DUI


While the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving has drastically fallen since 1982, the number of DUI accidents, those involving underage drunk driving especially, is still alarmingly high. Strict laws outline serious consequences for drunk driving—officials want to send a message that getting behind the wheel while you’re under the influence of alcohol is inexcusable. If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a DUI accident, here are a few things a DUI accident lawyer will tell you:

1. There Are Several Laws That Protect Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents:

Drunk driving involves both criminal and civil liabilities. While a state prosecutor presses charges for death, manslaughter, or other felonies and misdemeanors based on the consequences of the accident, a DUI accident lawyer can help victims claim compensation. These attorneys can file injury claims, and they’ll do what it takes to clearly show how your property was damaged, how you lost wages because of the accident, and how you experienced pain and suffering because of the accident. Experienced attorneys can also, in some circumstances, get victims compensation from the institutions that served alcohol to a drunk driver; if they sold to a minor or a person who was clearly intoxicated, for example.


Driving under the influence of any substance, more commonly alcohol, is a misdemeanor in most states. But if you’ve caused an accident while driving intoxicated, it is considered a DUI accident and has serious implications. We now know that alcohol affects our cognitive functions and slows down the mind’s ability to see things clearly or respond quickly. As a result, you end up making decisions that could result in a serious accident. It takes anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours for the alcohol to be absorbed in the blood. During this time, your reflexes and judgment may slow down and impact your driving ability.

Laws and Penalties

Federal and state governments have set a legal alcohol limit for drunk driving to prevent drivers from putting themselves and others at risk. While driving, if your blood alcohol concentration level is at or above 0.08 percent, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The punishment for a DUI offense varies across different states in the U.S. The limit for underage drinkers is set between 0.00 to 0.02 percent in many states. Some states have enacted zero tolerance laws for underage drivers. BAC is measured using a breath analyzer or by identifying the alcoholic content of your blood samples. If you’re suspected of impaired driving, a field sobriety test, consisting of a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a walk-and-turn test, and a one-leg-stand test is done to measure your balance, physical ability, attention level, and coordination.

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