A person who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in the State of Florida faces criminal charges. If that impaired driver causes an accident resulting in property damage, injury or death, civil charges may also be brought against them. The burden of proof in a criminal case may be difficult. Whereas in a civil case simply proving the driver was “most likely” intoxicated may lead to recovery of damages. The outcome of a criminal DUI case against the driver, as with all criminal cases, should have no bearing on the decision of a civil case.
If the DUI case is proven by the prosecutor, the civil case is made that much easier to win. In these criminal cases a plaintiff may be asked to opt for restitution. Accepting restitution can affect the civil case in a negative way because it will lower the amount awarded by the amount of the accepted restitution, even if the defendant does not have the means to pay.
Third Party DUI Accident Injury Liability
In Florida an injured party may also pursue damages under what is referred to as the dram shop law. This Florida DUI law allows for civil charges against the owners of an establishment who served alcohol to the drunk driver with the knowledge that the person was intoxicated or knew that he or she had a history of alcohol addiction. Many establishments carry insurance to cover them against the liability in regards to dram shop laws. Many bars and restaurant have even declined from giving out advertising items, like matchbooks and tee shirts, in fear that possession of these items, by a person involved in a DUI related crash, will lead investigators back to the restaurant.
Alternatives for Recovering Damages
If a person charged with DUI has no visible assets and was driving without insurance as is often the case, the injured party has two options to collect damages for medical bills and lost wages. The first is from any Uninsured Driver Insurance that they have and the second is under the dram shop law holding the establishment responsible that over served a patron or served an obviously intoxicated individual.
In cases involving an establishment that is accused of negligence that caused the accident, proving the case can be difficult. It is easy for a bartender to claim that the person was fine when they left and possibly went elsewhere or had alcohol in the vehicle. The driver may have been an experienced drinker that hid impairment well, especially if the defendant was a stranger to the bartender or server and not a regular patron.
The Plaintiff Drunk Driving Lawyer
An experienced drunk driving plaintiff attorney will know how to determine, without a doubt, whether or not the defendant was drunk at the time they left a particular establishment. The time and distance between the establishment and the location of the accident is paramount to the case. This can be verified by witnesses, credit card entries, as well as cell phone, text, voice and social media records. The demeanor of the person may also be evident from witnesses, text messages, or even security video footage.
If you or someone you care about was injured due to the negligent, criminal behavior of DUI, contact a plaintiff drunk driving attorney to have your case evaluated. The attorney’s at Dolman Law Group have the experience and investigative resources to determine the actual fault in the case. You may have a case, not only against the driver who caused the accident, but also against the establishment who contributed negligently to the driver’s impaired condition. You could receive a substantial cash settlement for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering and property damage. Contact Dolman Law Group today, for a free consultation with a plaintiff drunk driving attorney. There is nothing to pay until we win.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765