Drunk driving has the potential to devastate victims along with their families. The residents of Florida, along with their state legislators, justices, and politicians believe that the people that endanger the safety or take lives of innocent victims through drunk driving should be held accountable. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, contact a Clearwater drunk driving accident lawyer at the Winters & Yonker. Our Clearwater injury law firm offers a free consultation so you can learn how best to proceed with your claim.
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What Does the Law in Florida Have to Say About Drunk Driving?
In the state of Florida, drunk driving is considered a serious offense. The law states that any person that’s in control of a vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher is guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to the law in Florida, the vehicle does not actually have to be in motion for the driver to be charged with a DUI. A driver can even be charged with a DUI even when his/her blood-alcohol level is below 0.08 if his/her “normal faculties” were impaired to such an extent that safe driving was impossible.
A driver that gets his/her first DUI conviction is issued with a fine ranging from $500 to $2,000 and may even face a jail sentence of up to 6 months. The possible jail term can be increased up to 9 months if it is discovered that the blood-alcohol level was 0.15 or higher or a minor was present in the vehicle.
The driver may also get probation of up to 1 year and be required to serve at least 50 hours of community service time. The driver may also lose his/her license for up to 1 year and the DUI will remain on his/her driving record for 75 years.
The penalties described above, unfortunately, do nothing much to help the people that have been injured or lost their lives due to the actions of the drunk driver. That’s where Clearwater’s car accident lawyers at Winters & Yonker can help.
What Are the Most Common Types of Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida?
Alcohol significantly lowers a driver’s ability to react appropriately while out driving. Poor judgment, lack of awareness, and confusion can all contribute to an accident. The actions of a drunk driver are often unpredictable, which is why it is important to always be alert and look for any possible signs of dangerous driving.
Here are some of the most common accidents that may happen due to driving under the influence:
It is a type of accident that happens when a driver turns the wrong way on a one-way street or freeway off-ramp. A fatality almost always results when a wrong-way accident happens on the freeway.
It is a type of accident that happens when one vehicle hit another one from the side. It is also referred to as a side-impact accident. Such accidents usually occur after one driver fails to stop at a red light or stop sign. T-bone crashes are some of the most dangerous and deadly accidents.
If a driver swerves over to the opposite traffic lane, other drivers might find it hard to respond fast enough and this may result in a head-on collision. Head-on collisions usually result in serious or life-threatening injuries.
A person driving under the influence with a delayed response time will often find it hard to brake in time and prevent an accident from happening. That can be further be made worse if the driver follows too closely.
What Are the Most Common Injuries From Drunk Driving Accidents?
Injuries relating to auto accidents can range from minor cuts and bruises, which means that victims are able to walk away from such accidents without suffering any long-term effects, up to catastrophic injuries that may have a significant impact on the life of the accident victim.
Depending on how severe the injuries are, victims of drunk driving accidents might require care for the remainder of their lives. Here are some of the most common injuries resulting from drunk driving accidents:
A serious accident can lead to an explosion and the burns may create permanent scars.
Soft Tissue Injuries
They are some of the most commonly reported types of injuries following accidents. Strains, sprains, bruises, and inflammation are some of the most common complaints.
The impact of a drunk driving accident can lead to the victim’s bones bending unnaturally. The broken bones may require an extended recovery process and may result in long-term or permanent pain.
Such injuries may range from bulging and herniated discs to spinal cord injuries. In some instances, the injuries may lead to constant pain or paralysis.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Such injuries may lead to loss of consciousness, speech impairment, headaches, dizziness, sensory problems and complications of other kinds.
What Types of Damages Can Victims of DUI Accidents Sue For?
It might feel overwhelming if not impossible to recover following an accident. If you sustained injuries in the accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages to ensure that the process of recovery is made clear. Here are some of the typical damages you can receive in a personal injury case:
Economic damages have a set cost and are easily calculated. They include:
If you sustained injuries in the accident, your medical bills can quickly start adding up. Being reimbursed for surgeries, medications, hospital stays, and doctor’s visits are some of the most common medical expenses that are typically recovered in a personal injury case. It may also include physical therapy as well as alternative treatments such as chiropractic treatment and massage.
It generally includes payment for any time missed from work following the accident. It may include time missed due to doctor’s visits, surgeries, or recovery. If you have suffered severe injuries, you may have a claim for recovering future wages too.
If you are no longer able to walk or require assistance at home following the accident, you might need a wheelchair ramp or a railing installed at your home.
It includes walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other types of essential medical equipment.
If you are no longer able to return to the job that you held before the accident, you may have to be trained for a new job position or career. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover the costs associated with college or trade school.
Non-economic damages do not have a tangible price and can be more difficult to calculate, this includes:
Loss of Enjoyment
It usually happens whenever an individual is unable to participate in activities that gave them enjoyment before the accident such as sports and hobbies.
Loss of Consortium
It applies to a spouse or family member of a person that died or sustained injuries in the accident. You can claim loss of consortium if you are no longer able to offer the same level of companionship, sexual relations, affection, companionship, or love that they could provide before the accident.
Pain and Suffering
The pain suffered following the accident can extend for years after the initial trauma occurs. Pain and suffering generally involve compensation received for both physical pain and emotional or mental distress.
What Other Parties Can be Held Liable in a Driving Accident Case?
The most obvious party to blame is the driver, but there could be other parties that contributed to a drunk driver being out on the road. A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney will help determine whether the other parties could be financially responsible for your damages. Here are some of the other potentially responsible parties:
An Adult that Served Alcohol to a Minor
If any drinking happens in a private home, it is the responsibility of every adult to make sure that he/she doesn’t drink and arrives home safely. If the alcohol is served by an adult to a minor and the minor ends up injuring somebody else in an accident, then the adult could be held partially liable.
A Bartender or Establishment That Serves Alcohol
Florida’s dram shop law covers the liability of companies in drunk driving cases. According to the law, a bar or restaurant can be held liable only if they served alcohol knowingly to a minor or somebody is known to have a drinking problem.
Contact Aggressive and Dedicated Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Clearwater Today!
Winters & Yonker lawyers aggressively pursue the maximum recovery possible for drunk driving victims along with their families that suffer injuries or fatalities. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. We are even available on weekends and can meet at the hospital, home, or any place that’s convenient for you, which includes our Florida personal injury law offices.