People who get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are threatening the lives of all motorists, pedestrians, and others on the road. Knowledgeable car accident lawyer Jarrett Blakeley at the Blakeley Law Firm has experience with assisting victims from Sunrise and beyond who have been hurt as a result of drunk drivers. Our legal practice is devoted entirely to helping individuals injured on the road hold those responsible liable for the harm that they have caused. Mr. Blakeley knows the devastation that occurs in the aftermath of a DUI accident, and he has detailed conversations with his clients to make sure they know and understand their rights.DUI Accidents Cause Serious Harm
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 14 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2011 were under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or some kind of medication. That year, drivers who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more caused over 9,000 deaths. In Florida, they were responsible for 29 percent of fatal traffic accidents. Drivers under the influence are a danger to not only themselves but also their passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.Holding an Intoxicated Driver Liable for Damages
To take legal action and pursue damages in most car accident cases, an injured person usually must prove that the responsible party, or defendant, was negligent. This usually requires a showing that the defendant's actions fell below the standard of reasonable care owed to the victim in that setting. The injured person must show that he or she was owed a duty of care, that the duty of care was violated by the defendant's carelessness, that this breach led directly to the accident, and that the victim sustained damages that can be compensated.
Someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs often can be held accountable under the related legal theory of negligence per se. This rule means that a person can be found negligent if he or she violated a statute designed to protect a certain group of people from a specific type of harm. In Florida, it is against the law for a driver to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs when operating a motor vehicle. This rule is designed to protect all other users of the road from injuries sustained in a car accident. Florida law states that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol if he or she has a BAC of .08 or more. Once a person has been convicted of a DUI that caused injuries to someone else, a victim does not have to prove the elements of duty and breach. However, it is still necessary to show causation and damages.
In general, individuals or businesses that serve alcohol to others are not liable for any damages caused by a driver under the influence. However, under Florida's dram shop law, they can be held responsible if a victim shows that they intentionally provided alcohol to a driver under 21 or knowingly served an individual with an alcohol addiction.
Damages that are potentially available to people injured in a DUI accident may extend to past and future medical expenses, the loss of earning capacity or wages, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, these events often result in a fatality. When that happens, relatives of the deceased person may file a wrongful death action to pursue damages for their family member's medical bills, burial expenses, and other costs and losses.Legal Representation for Accident Victims in Broward County
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Broward County accident caused by a drunk driver, motor vehicle accident attorney Jarrett Blakeley at the Blakeley Law Firm can help you pursue legal action while you focus on physical recovery. We represent clients in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, as well as throughout South Florida. You can contact us online to find out more about how we can help.