Any accident that can be attributed to a drunk driver or a driver under the influence is one that has the potential to be very traumatic to the victims themselves and their friends and families. In Florida specifically, those that are found to be driving while under the influence are held accountable by law. There are legal penalties in place that are stringently enacted in order to ensure that those that are irresponsible while on the road face very significant repercussions. If you or someone that you know was a victim of a drunk driving incident, you will want to quickly reach out to a St Petersburg drunk driving accident lawyer at the personal injury law firm of Winters & Yonker in order to get your free consultation.
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What Does Florida Law Say About Drunk Driving?
In Florida, much like elsewhere in the country, drunk driving is a serious offense. Anyone that is found to be operating a vehicle in Florida should have a blood alcohol content level that does not exceed .08. Thus, anyone that has a higher content level is and will be considered a drunk driver and they will be charged with driving under the influence as a direct result.
As the law states, you do not need to be actively in motion in order to get a DUI charge. Even more so, the DUI you do get will be charged even if the driver has a level below the legal limit and the level is perceived to impair his or her normal driving abilities to the point where they are driving recklessly or endangering other passengers or pedestrians.
Those that are charged as first-time DUI offenders are typically given a fine anywhere from $500 to $2,000. They might even be issued a short term jail sentence ranging from 1 to 6 months. Each of these can be higher if it is found that there was a minor in the vehicle and/or if the driver had a blood alcohol content level at .15 or higher.
The person driving might even get driving probation ranging anywhere from 1 to 12 months and they might also be forced to complete 50 hours of community service. If the accusations are very serious, the driver is likely to risk losing their license completely and the DUI will remain on his/her driving record for numerous years.
Unfortunately, even these harsh penalties don’t do much to help those that have been a victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver. This is why the car accident lawyers in St Petersburg at Winters & Yonker law firm is the single best option that you can choose from when you are looking to get the right kind of compensation that you deserve.
What are the Most Common Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers?
Because alcohol significantly hinders one’s ability to respond properly to various things including driving and reaction times, it will impede a driver’s ability to drive safely in just about any condition. Not only will they have a lack of ability to properly assess situations, but they will have poor judgment, poor reaction times to avoid accidents and more things that can contribute to the increased risk of causing an accident. Those that are drunk driving are unpredictable, to say the least.
Some different accidents caused by drunk drivers include:
This is an accident that is a direct result of a driver turning and going the wrong way on a road whether it be a back road or a major highway. A lot of the wrong way accidents typically occur on the freeway at high-speeds which make them the most deadly.
This is an accident that occurs when a vehicle hits another vehicle perpendicular to it. It can also be referred to as a side impact collision and it usually occurs when a driver is drunk and fails to stop at a Stop sign or runs a red light. This is one of the more dangerous accidents because it causes a lot of damage and it can cause subsequent accidents to occur even after the initial one.
This is another major accident that usually occurs when the drunk driver swerves into oncoming traffic. Because a drunk driver’s reaction time is slower, they usually do not have the reaction time to avoid the collision. Because these accidents occur at higher speeds and because it is a head-on collision, they have very high fatality rates.
This is an accident that occurs very frequently among drunk drivers because a drunk driver typically has decreased reaction times and they are much more likely to be distracted while on the road. Therefore, they are less likely to brake on-time to avoid rear-end collisions. This might even occur because the trailing driver is driving too close to the lead vehicle which increases the needed reaction time to stop with sufficient time.
What are Common Injuries That Drunk Driving Accidents Cause?
The various injuries that are sustained from this type of accident can range from very minor to severe. In many cases, it can be life-threatening and even fatal. Depending on the severity of the accident, the victim might need expensive and extensive medical care for either the short term or even for the rest of their lives. Some of the more typical injuries suffered from drunk driving accidents include:
Any significant collision can result in one (or more) of the vehicles involved catching fire and burning the victims which can either lead to permanent scars or even death.
Soft Tissue Damage
Luckily, some people walk away from these accidents with only soft tissue damage which can include minor or major bruises, strains, and other inflammation.
Because these collisions typically involve hard impact, it may result in broken bones which may or may not require extended treatment, rest, and recovery.
Because of the substantial impact that occurs in these accidents, a lot of the victims might suffer from damage to their spine which can lead to lifelong pain or even permanent disability and paralysis.
Even a less significant hit on the head can lead to brain injury. Therefore, anything involving heavy impact like a drunk driving accident puts the victim at risk for suffering various short and/or long term brain trauma effects including but not limited to sensory problems, speech issues, confusion, and headaches.
What Damages Can Be Sued For In A Drunk Driving Accident?
The entire process from start to finish can be very overwhelming for those that are looking to recover from any kind of serious road accident. By having a specialized lawyer on your side, you will be able to get the kind of professional guidance and legal expertise that you need in order to ensure that you are able to recover from the damages and losses that you sustained during and/or after the accident.
More importantly, you will have a professional lawyer on hand in order to help facilitate a smoother recovery process by allowing you to focus on healing up instead of having to worry about the intricacies of the legal battle that will ensue. The damages can be based on different points of view including Economic and Non-Economic
Economic damages are easily calculated and include the following:
Unfortunately, your medical expenses are very likely to begin adding up very quickly. They will likely become a very significant financial burden in no time. Therefore, you want to consider seeking reimbursement for all of the costs that you incur for everything from medications, surgeries, and even your hospital stays. Your medical expenses might even include having to pay for physical therapy sessions and various other sorts of alternative medical treatments.
This is another economic damage that could result. You will be able to get compensation for all of the time that you ended up missing from work as a result of the accident and the injuries that it caused you. The time that you ended up losing could be a direct result of having to get medical treatment, having to recover from the injuries, or even routine doctor visits that you required. The compensation that you can get for lost wages can even consider the potential loss of any future income that you might have forfeited due to being unable to perform your work duties.
Another economic damage that could result would be any home or vehicle modifications that you had to make because of it. Whether you needed to install a wheelchair lift or a ramp, you will be able to get compensated for it.
Any medical equipment that you needed to invest in ranging from hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers, or anything else can be included.
If the injuries that you suffered from the accident caused you to have to re-learn or if they caused you to become physically unable to perform your current career duties, you will be able to get compensated for transitioning to a new career. The personal injury lawyer will be able to help you effectively recover the costs that you incur from having to make significant professional changes in your life.
Non-economic damages can be harder to calculate and cover the following:
Loss Of Enjoyment
This is the compensation that you get for being unable to enjoy various activities that you might have enjoyed in the past.
Loss Of Consortium
This applies to cases that involved losing a family member or spouse as a direct result of the drunk driving accident. Our lawyers are experienced in filing claims for loss of consortium due to the lost affection, love, and companionship you might have incurred as a result of the accident.
Pain And Suffering
The pain and suffering that the drunk driving accident caused you are likely to be there and continue to negatively impact you for years and years. Whether physical or emotional or both, you deserve the abilit5y to seek compensation for the agony that results.
Can Other Parties Be At Fault?
The person that is driving and who is behind the wheel of a vehicle is always the one that is blamed for the accident. However, other parties can be involved and they can be held responsible if found guilty. An experienced and professional personal injury lawyer will be able to investigate and determine whether or not there are other parties that should be financially responsible for the damages.
Some instances where this might come into play include:
Adult Buying or Serving Alcohol To A Minor
If there is drinking being done on a property, any adult there is responsible for ensuring that no minor is drinking and that they are not getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if they are under the influence. If an adult serves alcohol to a minor and they end up endangering someone or hurting someone in an accident, they are likely to be held at least partially liable.
Florida is one of the states that have a dram shop law which considers companies that serve alcohol responsible and liable for drunk driving collisions. According to state law, restaurants and bars must not serve alcohol to minors or any adult that is known to have a drinking problem. If the person subsequently drives under the influence and they cause an accident, the restaurant or bar will be held at least partially liable.
Contact a St Petersburg Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today!
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