Experienced Fort Lauderdale Car Crash Law Firm for Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk Driving Accident are Avoidable. Let Our Lawyers Recover the Compensation You Deserve.
Drunk driving accidents are serious events that can have life-changing consequences for victims and their families. Despite the presence of rideshare services (i.e., Uber, Lyft, etc.) that make it easier than ever to find a safe ride home after a night of drinking, drivers still routinely violate the law and operate their vehicle “under the influence.” According to data recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, throughout the United States, nearly 30 people die in drunk driving-related crashes on a daily basis — a staggering number. If you’ve been harmed in a drunk driving accident in Florida, then you may have a legal claim against the driver for damages. Drunk driving litigation does not necessarily proceed in the same way as “standard” auto accident litigation, as the circumstances of the accident typically require different legal strategies. As such, it’s important that you consult with an experienced Fort Lauderdale car crash law firm for guidance on how to move forward with your claim.
How Much Can You Drink in Florida and Still be Under the Legal Limit?
The amount of alcohol that a person can have in their blood and legally operate a motor vehicle varies by state and is called your “blood alcohol content.” There are three categories of legal BAC, blood alcohol content that constitutes the legal limit. Having over the legal limit can cause a driver to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
The strictest measure of the legal limit for alcohol is for drivers under the age of 21. For that group, a BAC in excess or .02% will trigger a DUI charge. If you are 21 or older, the amount increases to .08%. Operators of commercial vehicles are limited to a BAC of .04%.
Determining the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood is an inexact science, and a breathalyzer is a device that police use to record blood alcohol level. Before a person goes out to dinner or to a bar or consume alcohol and drive, they should know the estimated amount that they can drink before you are considered illegal. The amount varies based on one’s weight. For an average person weighing 180 lbs, the number of drinks that they can consume is approximately 2, 12 oz beers, 2, 5 oz glasses of wine or 2 shots of liquor. In contrast, for an individual weighing 120 or less, the number goes down to 1 drink, while a 240 lb. person could drink up to 3 drinks. These numbers are only a reference and should not be relied upon to determine whether or not you have a legal blood alcohol level. It is always best to have no alcohol in your system when operating a motor vehicle as a car accident could occur in many other situations.
Sometimes a person will consume under the legal limit of alcohol, get pulled over, and still be charged by police with DUI. Police errors in administering the breathalyzer test, insufficient training, and faulty equipment all contribute to inaccurate readings and over-zealous charges. Some people have pre-existing medical conditions that prohibit them from being able to perform the field sobriety tests. Still others are taking prescription medications in legal quantities that will cause the tests to produce false positive results.
It’s important to remember, that even if a person is not found guilty of a DUI, you can still will damages for your injuries in a drunk driving accident. Our Fort Lauderdale car crash law firm is happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss how we can handle your claim.
Punitive Damages Could Be Awarded in Florida with the Help of Our Fort Lauderdale Car Crash Law Firm
Punitive damages are rare, which may come as a surprise to many accident victimes. In a dispute involving punitive damages, plaintiffs may be awarded up to seven times the total compensatory damages, thus leading to multimillion-dollar, record-breaking recoveries. Naturally, if punitive damages could be available in your car accident case, it’s important to consult with a Fort Lauderdale car crash law firm as soon as possible to start your claim.
The reasoning behind an award of punitive damages is different than that of other car accident damages, however — punitive damages are not awarded to help the victim, but are instead meant to punish the defendant and discourage others from engaging in similar bad behavior.
In Florida, punitive damages are only available in cases where the defendant has engaged in malicious, willful, and/or wanton behavior — drunk driving accidents included, though the circumstances must be such that it is indicative of particularly extreme behavior on the part of the drunk driver. For example, if a drunk driver was found bragging to his friends about how he was going to be driving drunk later that evening, then the court might find the driver’s behavior proof of a willing disregard for the safety of others and rule for an award of punitive damages.
Liability for Third-Party Defendants in Drinking and Driving Accidents
In drunk driving accident litigation, it’s important to consider the possibility of suing other defendants besides the driver — this is especially relevant if the driver is uninsured or has inadequate insurance to cover all your losses.
Dram Shop Liability
In Florida, businesses may be held liable under a theory of “dram shop liability” if they serve alcohol to minors, or if they serve alcohol to a person who is clearly intoxicated already or who is a known alcoholic.
For example, if you are injured by a 16-year old driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and you discover that they were served alcohol by a local bar that did not check their ID, then you may be able to sue the bar for damages.
Florida law entitles plaintiffs to sue and recover damages from the owner of a vehicle who negligently entrusted their vehicle with the drunk driver. To succeed, you’ll have to show that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was going to operate the vehicle while intoxicated, or that the driver had a history of drunk driving.
Negligent Hiring and Supervision
If you are injured by a drunk driver who was intoxicated and operating the vehicle on-the-job (i.e., in the course and scope of their employment), then you may be able to bring an independent action against their employer for negligent hiring and supervision. Employers have a responsibility to evaluate the drunk driving history of employees who will be operating vehicles for work, and further, to supervise employees to ensure that they are not “under the influence” while operating vehicles for work.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Car Crash Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If you’ve sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation for your injuries and losses. Drunk driving accident claims are full of unique challenges and opportunities — as such, it’s critical that you work with an experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident lawyer for comprehensive guidance on how to not only successfully obtain compensation, but also to maximize that recovery.
Here at Maus Law Firm, our team has decades of experience working with motor vehicle accident plaintiffs throughout Florida, helping them at every stage of the personal injury litigation process, from pre-suit actions all the way through to trial. We are aggressive client advocates with practical courtroom experience — unlike many of our competitors, we are willing and able to to take our cases to the courtroom.
Ready to speak to a drunk driving accident lawyer at our Fort Lauderdale car crash law firm? Call us at 1-855-999-5297 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.