The death of a man in Key West earlier this month should serve the public as a sad reminder of the dangers of operating any vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The accident, which was reported by a local news source, occurred on October 14 and resulted in the death of a 69-year-old man who was aboard the vessel that capsized. According to details released by local police, the cause of death was most likely drowning, although all of the occupants on board the craft claimed to be too intoxicated to remember what happened and were unable to report details of what happened to the police.
Intoxication Cannot Be Used as a Defense to Most Civil Accusations of Wrongdoing
Although police have reported that all of the surviving men who were on board the boat when it capsized were too drunk to remember the details of the crash, it is possible that they are using their intoxication as an excuse not to cooperate in the investigation. This may be because the men are fearful of criminal charges being filed based on the incident. In the event a criminal or civil case is pursued against any party involved, the intoxication of whoever was responsible will not serve as an excuse.
Under Florida law, intoxication cannot generally be used to defend against allegations that a person had the required mental state to commit a tort. In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff is required to prove that the defendant was negligent. A defendant cannot claim that they were intoxicated and therefore not negligent. In fact, proving intoxication may actually satisfy one or more elements of the tort the plaintiff is seeking to establish.
Compensation for South Florida Drunk Driving Victims
When criminal charges are brought against a drunk driver, there may be a restitution order designed to compensate the victims, but the amount is often insufficient and may be difficult to collect. South Florida car or boat accident victims who suspect that alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash may be entitled to more significant compensation from a drunk driver through a civil personal injury lawsuit. This may even be the case when the injured party was a passenger in the drunk driver’s vehicle.
While passengers may be prevented from obtaining damages in some situations in which they willingly get into a vehicle with knowledge that the driver was intoxicated, all of the facts surrounding the cause of an accident may come into play in determining whether a victim is entitled to civil relief. A qualified South Florida drunk driving accident attorney can determine if an injured passenger should be entitled to damages on their claim.
Finding a South Florida DUI Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car or boat accident involving alcohol or drug intoxication, you may be entitled to compensation from the drivers involved or their insurance provider. The Miami DUI accident attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank can assist you with your case and pursue damages if you have a valid claim. Our South Florida accident lawyers are experienced in obtaining the compensation that our clients are entitled to receive, even in cases that don’t seem cut-and-dry at first glance. Contact the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank to discuss your claim with an experienced attorney free of charge. Schedule a consultation by calling 877-448-8585 or using our online form.
More Blog Posts:
Federal Court Refuses to Impose Sanctions Against Pharmacy for Destruction of Evidence in Prescription Error Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 4, 2016.
Appellate Court Rejects $885,000 Verdict Against Educational Institution in Auto-Pedestrian Accident Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 19, 2016.