Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Florida and across the country. Due to the relatively low cost and easy availability of alcohol and illegal drugs, motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers are unfortunately becoming common place, causing states to crack down on their drunk driving laws and enforcement. However, even the possibility of harsh criminal penalties does not stop some people from getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much.
In personal injury cases involving drunk drivers, the injured plaintiff has the burden of proving negligence. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law for all of your injuries and damages. The skilled personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group will be able to help you prove all of the elements of your negligence case and assist you with obtaining the monetary compensation that you need and deserve.
How Drunk Drivers Cause Car Accidents
Alcohol is a depressant which severely slows down and hinders a driver’s central nervous system functioning, as well as a driver’s reaction time. As a result, alcohol can severely impact a driver’s abilities while behind the wheel of a car. The presence of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream can cause blurry vision and can affect a driver’s depth perception on the roadway. Common symptoms associated with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol include the following:
- Dazed expression
- Staggering gait
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
When drivers operate their motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, one or more of the following types of accidents may occur on the roadway:
- Collisions with nearby objects (such as guardrails, walls, or buildings)
- Collisions with pedestrians in crosswalks or on sidewalks
- Collisions with other motor vehicles on the roadway
Proving Drunk Driving in a Personal Injury Negligence Case
In order to prove that a driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and that this driver was, therefore, negligent in causing the accident – the injured plaintiff may be able to introduce evidence of the following at trial:
- Testimony by the injured plaintiff and eyewitnesses describing the manner in which the other driver operated his or her vehicle (e.g., swerving, driving erratically, changing lanes abruptly, etc.)
- Testimony by the injured plaintiff and eyewitnesses describing the other driver’s gait, speech, or expression after the accident occurred
- Police officer testimony regarding the defendant driver’s speech and mannerisms following the accident
- Defendant’s admission of fault
- Breathalyzer evidence (must be authenticated by the investigating police officer)
- Evidence that the defendant driver received a citation for reckless or drunk driving – or was convicted of a DUI or other drunk driving charge (must be authenticated by the investigating police officer)
- Police report which determines that the defendant driver is at fault (must be authenticated by the investigating police officer)
The injured plaintiff may be able to introduce some – or all – of the above-referenced evidence in order to show that the defendant driver had a duty to drive reasonably and prudently under the circumstances, but that he or she breached that duty by operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The injured plaintiff must also be able to show that the drunk driver’s breach of the applicable duty of care resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. Damages in drunk driving accident cases consist of both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are those types of damages that can readily be calculated in dollars and cents – such as medical bills and lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, inconvenience, and permanency, are more subjective and do not have a hard-and-fast number associated with them.
Although an injured plaintiff is technically suing the drunk driver for personal injuries arising out of a car accident case, the drunk driver’s motor vehicle insurance policy should provide the necessary insurance coverage to compensate the injured plaintiff for the injuries and damages sustained in the accident. If the drunk driver was uninsured – or underinsured – then the injured plaintiff’s own insurance company may then need to step into the shoes of the drunk driver’s insurance company and provide compensation for the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
Injured personal injury plaintiffs in New Port Richey drunk driving accident cases may be able to recover compensation for medical bills incurred, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, causally related psychological or psychiatric treatment, loss of earning capacity, and loss of spousal support.
In the most egregious of circumstances, such as when the defendant driver acted in an exceptionally reckless or careless manner, the injured plaintiff may be able to recover punitive damages in a drunk driving car accident case.
Contact a New Port Richey DUI Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
In a New Port Richey drunk driving personal injury case, the defendant driver’s insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies and their adjusters routinely try to downplay an accident victim’s injuries, claiming that they were actually caused by pre-existing medical conditions, rather than by the defendant’s negligence in the subject motor vehicle accident.
Motor vehicle accidents that result from another driver’s intoxication or impairment while behind the wheel of a car can be extremely severe and can result in catastrophic levels of personal injury. As such, you need a hard-working team of personal injury lawyers on your side who can maximize the value of your case.
The knowledgeable New Port Richey personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group know the tricks and tactics that insurance adjusters use to try and undervalue cases. Our attorneys will be able to overcome those defenses in order to maximize the potential recovery in your case.
If you have been injured in a Florida motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drunk driver, our experienced attorneys can help you to legally prove your case and obtain compensation. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New Port Richey personal injury lawyer, please call us or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652