A car accident with a drunk driver can change your life in an instant. You may suffer significant injuries, including permanent impairments, when you are involved in this type of accident.
A St. Petersburg drunk driving accident lawyer can work with you to determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation against the drunk driver and any other potentially liable parties.
If you are unsure where to turn in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, consider calling the office of Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 598-7557 to learn more about your options. With legal assistance, you may be able to bring those who caused your accident to justice and hold them responsible for the costs of your injuries.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in three traffic deaths nationwide each year involve a drunk driver. In Florida, almost 8,500 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents between 2003 and 2012.
Drivers are impaired under Florida Statutes §316.193 when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more, or if they drive when they have consumed alcohol or drugs to the point that it impairs their normal faculties. These drivers can face criminal charges, license suspension, and fines for driving while intoxicated. However, if they cause an accident that injures others, they also can face a civil claim for compensation brought by the injured parties.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving accidents lawyer serving St.Petersburg, call (800) 598-7557
Negligence and Drunk Driving Accidents
Personal injury claims, including drunk driving accidents, usually rest on a legal theory of negligence, or a careless disregard for the safety of others. As a St. Petersburg drunk driving accident lawyer may advise, if the actions or inaction of a person falls below the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same or similar position, that person may be negligent.
Drivers generally owe others a duty of care to drive safely for their benefits, whether those people are passengers in their own vehicles, drivers and passengers of other vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians. When they violate this duty of care and directly harm others, as a result, they may be liable for the costs of those accident-related injuries.
If an individual was driving drunk in violation of the law, however, and facing criminal charges as a result, they might be responsible for the injuries that they cause under a variation of negligence, or negligence per se. This legal theory relies on evidence that the individual violated a law or regulation that intended to protect people such as the injury victims.
In other words, states pass criminal drunk driving laws to prevent drunk driving accidents and protect others on the road. Violation of these laws would constitute negligence per se.
St.Petersburg Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
Parties to Drunk Driving Accident Claims
The most obvious party to a civil claim stemming from a drunk driving claim is the drunk driver. However, other parties also may be liable if a drunk driver causes an accident that harms others. For instance, if the drunk driver was working for an employer at the time of the accident, then the employer of the drunk driver also may face liability for the misconduct of the driver.
In other cases, commercial businesses such as bars, nightclubs, restaurants, or liquor stores may be liable for the actions of a drunk driver in causing an accident. Social hosts who serve alcohol also can face this same type of liability.
Under Florida’s “dram shop” law, Florida Statutes § 768.125, these businesses can face liability if they provided alcohol to someone who is underage. Likewise, if these businesses sell alcohol to someone whom they know has a drinking problem, they also can face liability if the driver later causes a crash and injures others.
Compensation for Injury Victims
Injury victims may be able to seek various types of compensation through a personal injury claim following a drunk driving accident. Damages may be either economic or non-economic.
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Common examples of economic damages include medical bills, hospitalization costs, rehabilitation expenses, and the costs of medical equipment or assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or hospital beds.
Other economic damages can include lost wages due to a temporary inability to work, or loss of future income or income capacity if you are no longer able to work due to your injuries. If you have a permanent impairment, you may be able to seek damages for the costs of modifying your home or vehicle to accommodate your impairment.
While economic damages are typically easy to translate into dollars and cents, non-economic damage can be more challenging to value. These damages include compensation for physical pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of companionship for your spouse, and more.
Wrongful Death Damages
Damages in claims arising from fatal drunk driving accidents can include compensation for funeral and burial expenses and final medical expenses. However, based on their relationship with the deceased person, immediate family members may be able to seek damages unique to wrongful death claims. For instance, a surviving spouse can seek damages for lost companionship and protection in a wrongful death claim.
Talk with Us About Your Legal Rights to Compensation
When you are suffering from injuries in a drunk driving accident, your primary focus is likely to be your recovery, not the pursuit of legal claims. However, you may have a right to compensation that is subject to strict deadlines. As a result, you may want to reach out to the offices of Ben Crump Law, PLLC by calling (800) 598-7557.
We can help you understand the laws that apply to your case and the evidence necessary to support a valid personal injury claim. A St. Petersburg drunk driving accident lawyer can give you information, answer your questions, and help you explore your options for relief.