Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
Are drunk driving accidents common in Florida?
Florida DMV records show that there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 716 alcohol related driving fatalities that year, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of total driving fatalities in Florida.
How are drunk drivers punished in Florida?
Florida Statute Section 316.193(3) states that any person who causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can be charged with a Third Degree Felony. This is punishable in Florida with a $5,000 fine and/or up to 5 years imprisonment.
DUI Vehicular Manslaughter in Florida is a second degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or 15 years imprisonment. If the drunk driver knowingly leaves the scene of an accident and fails to give information or report the accident for law enforcement and medical assistance, then the suspect may be guilty of a first degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or 30 years imprisonment.
Any offender whose driving privileges had been suspended for DUI Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide is guilty of a 3rd degree felony, punishable by both jail time up to 5 years and/or a fine no more than $5,000.
What should I do if I was involved in an accident with a drunk driver?
The most important thing is to get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not have visible cuts or bruises, you should still be checked out by a doctor in the event of any internal injuries. You should also have a follow-up exam within a few days of the accident in case any injuries you sustained did not present themselves immediately.
If you are not seriously injured, you need to get the name of the other driver as well as his or her contact information, license plate number and the name of the driver’s insurance company and policy number. You should also try to collect the contact information of any witnesses. If you have a camera or camera phone available, take pictures of the accident scene.
Can I sue a drunk driver in civil court for damages?
Yes. If you were injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, that driver may be held liable if it can be proven that his or her intoxication caused the accident. An experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident attorney from Wolf & Pravato can work with you to investigated the accident and prove negligence on the part of the other driver.
If the other driver is found to have caused your accident, he or she may be required to compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, future loss of earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, etc.
Can I sue a bar or restaurant for serving too much alcohol to a driver?
Dram shop laws govern the legal responsibility of an individual or establishment that serves alcohol to a person, who then causes an injury due to his or her intoxication. Florida dram shop law, however, is very limited. In the State of Florida, people or establishments that sell alcohol are not held liable for accidents caused by the people they served unless the individual is a minor or if the person is known to the “habitually addicted” to alcohol.
If a family member was killed by a drunk driver, can I file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver?
A wrongful death claim can be filed by the survivors of a person killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver. A family (spouse, children, next of kin) can be compensated for medical and funeral expenses, as well as loss of financial support, companionship, parental guiding, etc.
Wolf & Pravato is a personal injury law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Tampa and Boynton Beach.
Call us at 1-954-633-8270 or fill out our online contact form.