Drunk driving can devastate victims as well as their families. Florida residents, along with their politicians, justices, and state legislators believe it is a top priority to hold those accountable who take the lives or endanger the safety of innocent people through drunk driving. If you lost or a loved one or were injured in a drunk driving accident, call a Lakeland drunk driving accident lawyer at the Winters & Yonker law office today to get your free consultation scheduled.
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What is the Law in Florida on Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving is considered to be a serious offense in the state of Florida. According to the law, anyone who is in control of a vehicle while having a .08 or higher blood-alcohol level is guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Under Florida law, the vehicle doesn’t actually need to be moving in order for the driver to be given a DUI. A driver can also be given a DUI even when their blood-alcohol level was less than 0.08 if their “normal faculties” were impaired to the extent that they could not drive safely.
Upon receiving a first DUI conviction, a driver will be issued a $500-$2,000 fine and may face a jail sentence of up to six months. Potential jail time will be increased up to nine months if the blood alcohol level of the defendant was 0.15 or higher or there was a minor in the vehicle. The driver will also be given probation of up to one year and be required to serve community service time for 50 hours. The driver may also lose their license for up to a year and the DUI will stay on their driving record for a period of 75 years.
However, these penalties do not help the people who have been injured by the drunk driver. This is where the relentless Lakeland personal injury attorneys at Winters & Yonker in Lakeland can help.
What are the Most Common Types of Drunk Driving Accidents?
Alcohol significantly lowers the ability of a driver to react appropriately while out on the road. Lack of awareness, poor judgment, and confusion, all can contribute to accidents. Since the actions of a drunk driver are unpredictable, you always should be alert and look for potential signs of dangerous driving. The following are some of the most common accidents that can take place due to driving under the influence:
This type of crash can take place whenever a driver turns the wrong way on a freeway offramp or one-way street. A fatal accident almost always results whenever a wrong-way collision occurs on the freeway.
This type of accident occurs whenever one car hits another car from the side. A t-bone crash is also called a side-impact crash. Those collisions often are caused by one driver failing to stop at a stop sign or red light. T-bone accidents are among the most deadly and dangerous accidents.
Whenever a driver swerves over to the opposite traffic lane, it can be hard for the other drivers to respond quickly enough, which can result in a head-on collision. Quite often head-on collision results in life-threatening or serious injuries.
A driver under the influence with delayed response time will make it hard to stop in time to prevent an accident. That can be compounded further if the driver follows too closely.
What are the Most Common Types of Injuries from Drunk Driving Accidents?
Injuries that relate to car accidents may range from bruises and minor cuts which means that victims are able to walk away from their accidents without suffering any long-term effects, up to catastrophic injuries that can have a significant impact on the accident victim’s life. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims of drunk driving accidents might need to receive care for the rest of their lives. Some of the most common injuries include the following:
- Burns: An explosion can be caused by a severe accident. The burns may create permanent scars.
- Soft tissue injuries: These are some of the most common types of injuries that are reported following accidents. Some of the most common complaints include inflammation, bruises, sprains, and strains.
- Broken bones: A person’s bones may bend unnaturally from the impact of a drunk driving accident. An extended recovery process may be required by broken bones and could result in permanent or long-term pain.
- Spinal injuries: These injuries can range from herniated and bulging discs to spinal cord injuries. In certain cases, those injuries may lead to paralysis or constant pain.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Brain injuries can lead to speech impairments, loss of consciousness, dizziness, headaches, sensory issues, ad other types of complications.
What Type of Damages May a Victim Sue For?
It can feel overwhelming or even impossible to recover from an accident. If you were involved in an accident and were injured, a personal injury lawyer can help recover damages for you to ensure that your recovery process is made easier. Some of the typical damages that you can receive in a personal injury case include the following:
- Medical expenses: If you suffered injuries in an accident, your medical bills can quickly add up. Some of the most common medical expenses that are recovered in a personal injury case include being reimbursed for hospital stays, medication, surgeries, and doctor’s visits. It can also include physical therapy and alternative treatments such as massage and chiropractic treatment.
- Lost Wages: Generally, this includes payments for any time that is missed from work due to an accident. That can include time missed due to recovery, surgeries or doctor’s visits. If you have sustained severe injuries, you might have a claim for recovering future wages as well.
- Retraining: If you cannot return to the job you held prior to your accident, you might need to be trained for a new career or job position. A personal injury claim may help you recover the costs that are associated with trade school or college.
- Medical equipment: This includes hospital beds, walkers, wheelchairs, and other types of necessary medical equipment.
- Home modifications: If you cannot walk or need help at home following your accident, you might need to have a railing or wheelchair ramp installed at your house.
- Pain and suffering: The pain that you suffer from an accident may extend for years after the initial trauma occurs. Pain and suffering involve compensation that is received for physical pain as well as mental or emotional distress.
- Loss of enjoyment: Ths occurs whenever a party cannot participate in activities that gave them enjoyment prior to their accident, including hobbies and sports.
- Loss of consortium: This applies to a family member or a spouse of a person who died or has been injured due to an accident. Loss of consortium may be claimed whenever the injured person can no longer offer the same level of sexual relations, companionship, affection, or love that they could provide prior to the accident.
Who Else May Be Held Liable in Drunk Driving Accident Cases?
Although the drunk driver is the most obvious one to blame, there could be other parties who contributed to a drunk driving being out on the road. A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can help determine whether those other parties might be responsible financially for your damages. Some of the other potentially responsible parties might include:
- An alcohol-serving establishment or bartender: The dram shop law in Florida covers the liability of companies in drunk driving cases. The law states that a restaurant or bar can be held liable only if they serve alcohol knowingly to an individual they know has a drinking problem or to a minor.
- An adult who served alcohol to a minor: If any drinking takes place at a private home, every adult is responsible to ensure they don’t drink and drive and get home safely. However, if alcohol is served to a minor by an adult, and the minor injures someone in an accident, then the adult could be held to be partially liable.
Call Winters & Yonker to Speak to a Lakeland Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
An expert Lakeland car accident lawyer aggressively pursues the maximum possible recovery for drunk driving victims and their families who suffer fatalities or injuries. Give us a call today to get your free initial consultation scheduled with one of our experienced Lakeland attorneys. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. We are available on weekends and can meet at your home, at the hospital, or any place that is convenient for you (which includes our law offices).