How Can You Prove a Driver Was Intoxicated?
If you are in an accident with a drunk driver
, you deserve to receive full compensation for all of your accident-related losses include lost income from missing work, medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and much more. However, before you can recover, you must first prove that the driver was, in fact, intoxicated and doing so requires that you present sufficient evidence to the court. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will know how to collect the evidence you need and present in accordance with all state and court rules
Some helpful evidence includes as follows:
The driver's appearance and actions at the scene
One of the most telling signs of intoxication is how the driver looks and acts at the scene of the accident. Florida law requires a driver to stop at an accident scene and exchange information if there is any property damage or injury caused. When a driver gets out of their car, you should always take note of their appearance and of whether they appear to be under the influence of alcohol. The following are some signs of intoxication that you may notice:
- Red and/or watery eyes
- Slurring of their speech
- Stumbling, swaying, or having difficulty balancing or standing in one place
- Difficulty concentrating or listening
- Having the odor of alcohol
- Nodding off or having trouble staying conscious
If possible, you should make clear notes regarding your observations and get the information of anyone else at the scene so that they can corroborate your account that the driver seemed drunk.
Police reports and test results
If law enforcement officers arrive on the scene, they will want to interview the drivers involved in the accident. If the driver has been drinking, it is likely an officer will notice signs of intoxication and may place them under arrest. In such situations, the officer will have to initiate a criminal case against the drunk driver for violating Florida law
and will gather evidence of intoxication in order to justify and support criminal charges. Though you civil case is separate from the criminal matter, the evidence collected by police officers can be very useful in your case, as well.
For example, the police may perform a breath test (commonly called a Breathalyzer) or a blood test to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver. If this BAC is over the legal limit, it can be used as concrete evidence of intoxication. The officers' observations in the police report can also be used to support your assertions.
Interviews with witnesses
Though police evidence is often quite strong, certain amounts of alcohol affect people in different manners due to size, what they ate that day, how quickly they drank, and their general tolerance for alcohol. Therefore, you may need additional evidence to prove that the driver was intoxicated other than a BAC. If the driver had been at a bar, nightclub, or similar establishment, your attorney may interview the bartenders or servers at that restaurant in order to find out how much the driver had to drink. While many establishments do not want to admit that they served alcohol to a patron who was already intoxicated, we can obtain receipts, credit card bills, and other items that show how much the driver ordered.
Call an auto accident lawyer in St. Petersburg for a free consultation today
There is no excuse for driving while intoxicated and the skilled auto accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in St. Petersburg, Florida are committed to standing up for the legal rights of victims injured by drunk drivers. We strive to obtain the full amount of compensation allowed under the law for every client and the recovery in many drunk driving cases can be substantial. Receiving just compensation for your losses can help you ease your financial concerns, find a sense of justice, and focus on your physical recovery from your injuries. We know how to investigate and present sufficient evidence of driver intoxication, so please call our office today at 727-222-6922 for a free discussion as soon as possible
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
Personal Injury Lawyer
This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.