While the vast majority of car accidents are preventable, no type of accident is as avoidable as DUI accidents. Every driver knows that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is both against the law and extremely dangerous. Yet, more than 32,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence each year in Florida. These impaired drivers caused more than 5,600 accidents and claimed nearly 1,100 lives.
At Blakeley Law Firm, P.A., we’ve been advocating on behalf of accident victims and their families for more than 15 years, helping them to recover financial compensation in the wake of the tragedies that have been forced upon them. We understand your frustration and want to do everything we can to help you move on with your life. From ensuring you receive appropriate medical treatment to dealing with the insurance companies to litigating your case in front of the jury, whatever your case requires, we are ready to step in and, together, we will reach the best result possible.What Is the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal DUI Case?
After a DUI accident, there are two types of cases that may be brought against the driver. First, the driver will likely be arrested and the government will bring criminal charges for driving under the influence. If the driver is convicted, they will face fines, a license suspension, and possibly a term of incarceration. However, the purpose of this case is to punish the driver for violating the law; thus, the judge has no real ability to order the driver to make the victim whole.
The other type of DUI accident case is a civil personal injury claim. Unlike a criminal case, a civil claim is brought by the accident victim or their surviving family members. The purpose of these cases is to provide the victims with compensation for their economic and non-economic damages, which may include:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Decrease in ability to earn an income,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Decrease in quality of life.
Importantly, because criminal cases and civil cases require different levels of proof, it is possible for an accident victim to successfully bring a personal injury claim against a drunk driver even if they were not convicted—or even charged.Is a Bar or Restaurant Liable for a DUI Accident Victim’s Injuries?
Yes, under Florida Statutes § 768.125, which is commonly referred to as the dram shop law, some accident victims may be able to hold a bar or restaurant financially liable for their injuries. However, the dram shop law doesn’t apply in every Florida DUI accident case. An establishment is liable if it knowingly serves a minor or someone who is “habitually addicted” to alcohol.Can Victims Recover Damages if They Were Hurt While Riding as a Passenger in a Friend or Family Member’s Vehicle?
Yes, passengers who were injured in a single-vehicle DUI accident should not be discouraged from pursuing a claim for compensation against the driver, even if it was a friend or family member. Understandably, there may be hesitation based on your relationship; however, as long as the driver of the vehicle has car insurance, the insurance company will be the one to cover your damages.Have You Been the Victim of a South Florida Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a drunk driving accident, reach out to the dedicated car accident attorneys at the Blakeley Law Firm, P.A for assistance. At the Blakeley Law Firm, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale DUI accident attorneys are compassionate advocates who aggressively pursue maximum compensation on behalf of each of our clients. We take a comprehensive approach to every personal injury and wrongful death case we handle, catering our representation to your specific needs. We take the time to listen to what is most important to you and make ourselves available to answer your questions whenever they arise. To learn more, and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today, call (800) 602-5000. You can also reach us through our online contact form.