Any driver who acts in a negligent or reckless manner puts others on the road in harm’s way. However, driving after having too much to drink is one of the most dangerous behaviors that causes the most harm in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost one-third of all fatal traffic accidents involve a driver who was considered to be legally drunk. Thousands more cause other motorists serious and potentially life-changing injuries.
If you have suffered injuries because someone decided to get behind the wheel while they were drunk, the St. Petersburg drunk driving lawyers at Dolman Law Group are here to help. We have seen how seriously such injuries can affect your life and we will help you hold drunk drivers in St. Petersburg accountable for their dangerous actions.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
Alcohol can significantly impair a person’s abilities to drive a motor vehicle in many ways. Alcohol can cause a lack of focus, affected judgment, blurred vision, and other serious impairments that can lead a driver to crash. In many situations, a drunk driver may drive on the wrong side of the road or may depart from their lane and cause an often deadly head-on crash. A lack of judgment can lead to excessive speeding and/or a delay in reaction time can prevent a drunk driver from slowing down or stopping to avoid a rear-end collision.
No matter what type of crash happens, victims of drunk driving often sustain serious and lasting injuries, which can include the following:
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Shattered or broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Skull fractures
- Lacerations and contusions
Victims of drunk driving accidents usually require immediate medical care and extensive treatment plans, which can be costly. In addition, victims often are unable to work while their injuries heal and, in severe cases, injury-related disabilities can permanently keep them from returning to their previous jobs. No matter what type of damages you incurred in this type of accident, the drunk driver should be held fully liable.
DUI Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases
Like any other state, Florida has strict laws against drunk driving. If a person is determined to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent or is otherwise deemed to be impaired, they can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). In addition, if an accident with serious injuries occurred, they can face additional criminal charges for causing those injuries.
While a criminal conviction for DUI can help to punish a drunk driver through fines, license suspension, and time in jail, a criminal court will not compensate victims for their medical bills and other accident-related losses. In order to seek this type of compensation, a victim must bring their own personal injury claim in Florida civil court.
This legal process is complex and involves many rules and requirements, including presenting proof that the driver was drunk. A criminal conviction can help to prove this claim, though it is not the only evidence you will need to present in your case. You will also have to prove your losses, which may include the following:
- Medical expenses already incurred
- Estimated costs of future medical care
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages
It is critical to have an attorney representing you who has experience protecting the rights of drunk driving victims and ensuring you receive the compensation that is deserved in your case.
Contact Our St. Petersburg Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys for Help
Being in a drunk driving crash is a traumatic experience and your physical recovery can take months or years. The St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg, we will handle the legal side of your case so that you can focus on your treatment and physical healing. We believe that drunk drivers should be held fully accountable for any losses they caused and we will strive for the maximum financial recovery in every case. Please contact our drunk driving crash lawyers at 727-222-6922 to learn more about how we can help you today.