While it is often difficult to anticipate or prevent an accident, drunk driving crashes are 100% avoidable. Such accidents are caused when a driver makes a deliberate decision to get behind the wheel while drunk despite being fully aware of the potential risks. The state of Florida is one of the most affected states when it comes to drunk driving, with it exceeding the national average on most of the key drunk driving metrics.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI crash, the highly skilled Tarpon Springs drunk driving accident lawyers at Winters & Yonker can help you receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses caused by the drunk driver. Call our car accident attorneys at (888) 373-7770 today for a free consultation.
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Drunk Driving Statistics In Florida
A recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) shows that in 2019, there were 4,984 car crashes involving drunk drivers in the state. And of these, 351 crashes were fatal. 378 people lost their lives in 2019 in Florida as a result of alcohol-related crashes while a total of 3,064 people suffered various injuries.
While the number of alcohol-related crashes had decreased from 2018 (5,106) by 2.39%, the number of deaths had increased by 1.61%. With an average of about 5,000 alcohol-related crashes per year, it is clear to see that Florida has a major drunk driving problem.
In the recent past, the rate of death as a result of drunk driving has been higher than the national average in almost all age groups. In addition, one survey found that the number of drivers in Florida who had driven after drinking more than the legally allowed amount in the past thirty days was higher than the national average.
This essentially means that you are much more likely to suffer injuries and even lose your life as a result of drunk driving in Florida than in other areas of the country.
In what seems like an ongoing trend, the vast majority of alcohol-related deaths involved people between the ages of 25 and 29. What’s more, males are three times more likely to be involved in drunk driving accidents than females.
Alcohol-related crashes account for more than 25% of all annual car accidents in the state of Florida.
What Are the BAC Limits in Florida?
It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or above in the state of Florida for people above the age of 21 years. For those under the age of 21, the legal BAC is 0.02%, however, you have to keep in mind that drinking is illegal for people below the age of 21 years.
If you are below 21 years old and have a BAC below 0.02%, you can have your license suspended for 6 months for the first offense, with no fines or jail time. However, if found in possession of alcohol as a minor in Florida, you face a $500 fine, 60-day jail time, and 6-12 months license revocation for a first offense.
When the BAC is at or above 0.08%, both minors and adults will face the same penalties, which include, a $1000-$2,000 fine, 6 months license suspension, a maximum sentence of 6 months, and 50 hours of community service for a first offense.
What To Do After an Accident With a Drunk Driver?
There are a number of crucial steps that you should take after being involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
If you are in a position to do so, first assess your surroundings to determine whether there is anyone who is in dire need of medical attention or there are any safety risks. Next, you need to call the police, this is important in any kind of accident. Keep in mind that drunk driving is a criminal offense in Florida, so the at-fault driver may try to convince you not to call the police or try to switch seats with a passenger. You shouldn’t also admit any fault for the accident, just limit your conversation with the at-fault driver to exchanging information with the other driver.
- If you are in a position to do so, document the scene of the accident. Take as many photos and videos as you can.
- Even if you don’t feel injured, ensure that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Once you’ve visited the hospital, your next immediate step should be speaking to an attorney, who will guide you on the best course of action.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Drunk Driving Accident in Florida?
There are three types of damages that victims of DUI crashes can be awarded:
This refers to compensation for verifiable monetary losses resulting from the accident. These include past and future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, costs of repair and replacement, etc.
This refers to compensation for subjective losses that can’t be assigned a monetary value. They include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life. etc.
These types of damages aren’t often awarded in most personal injury cases, however, in drunk driving accidents, victims typically have a solid basis to pursue punitive damages. These types of damages are awarded as a means to punish the at-fault driver.
The state law in Florida typically limits the amount awarded as punitive damages to three times the amount awarded as compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, when the negligence of a drunk driver leads to your accident, there isn’t a limit on the punitive damages awardable.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Florida?
The statute of limitations for drunk driving accident claims is four years from the date of the accident. In cases where the accident resulted in death, the stipulated time window for filing a claim is two years.
How Much Will an Attorney Cost?
Fortunately, like most professional personal injury lawyers, our attorneys at Winters & Yonker offer their services on a contingency fee basis. This essentially means that you pay us only if we deliver a favorable result. We will deduct a certain agreed-upon percentage as our payment.
Contact an Experienced Tarpon Springs Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drunk drivers pose a huge threat to the safety of everyone around them, not only those on the road. There have been cases of drunk drivers crashing into houses and buildings, seriously injuring and even killing those unlucky enough to be in the way. When a person chooses to get behind the wheel while drunk and ends up causing an accident, they should be held accountable for their actions.
Suffering injuries or losing a loved one because of the negligence of a drunk driver can be a very traumatizing or distressing experience. It is important that the at-fault driver is held accountable for their wrongful acts. Our highly skilled team of Tarpon Springs drunk driving attorneys at Winters & Yonker can help you get the justice you deserve. We will fight aggressively for your rights and won’t rest until we have secured fair and favorable compensation for you and your family. Get in touch with us today at (888) 373-7770 to schedule your free consultation session.