Individuals charged under Florida’s driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) statutes may face criminal and civil charges. Under the criminal system, the state must prove that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Whereas, the burden is much lower in the civil system, and plaintiffs must only establish liability by a “preponderance of the evidence.” Although criminal charges are not necessary to a successful Florida personal injury lawsuit, they can certainly play a role in the outcome.
When someone suffers an injury, or dies after a Florida DUI accident, they or their families may recover damages from the responsible party. Families who wish to recover damages should understand the steps necessary to successfully establishing liability. One of the first factors courts will consider is whether the defendant was negligent or driving under the influence or while impaired. The courts will review whether the driver was showing signs of impairment after the accident. It is also essential that plaintiffs submit evidence of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, currently, Florida does not have specific BAC testing requirements; therefore, it is up to the officer’s discretion whether they decide to conduct a test. Next, proving fault in a DUI accident requires the plaintiff to present evidence regarding the defendant’s intoxication level. Finally, it is important to establish whether the driver acted negligently and put the public at risk.
Evidence is critical in every personal injury case, but it is imperative in cases involving negligent per se. Negligence per se occurs when a person violates a statute created to protect a particular group of people, and the damage caused by the violation was the kind the statute was designed to protect. Negligence per se is often applicable in Florida DUI and DWI cases. Some critical pieces of evidence are police reports, witness accounts and statements, BAC testing results, medical records, and expert opinion testimony. It is important that victims and their families consult with an attorney because these accidents can cause serious long-term repercussions.
For example, a news report recently described a tragic Florida drunk driving hit and run accident. A 40-year-old woman motorcycle driver died in the three-vehicle collision. The woman was traveling west when another woman was driving her SUV southbound. A pickup truck driver was stopped facing east, waiting to turn. However, witness reports stated that the SUV driver failed to stop at the intersection and slammed into the motorcycle. The motorcyclist and her bike flew into the pickup truck, resulting in fatal injuries. The woman driving the SUV fled the accident scene, but police located her a short time after.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Serious Florida Accident?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries because of a negligent or Florida drunk driver, contact the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience successfully handling Florida car accident claims, in addition to claims involving wrongful death, medical malpractice, defective products, premises liability, and workplace injuries. We have recovered substantial amounts of compensation for our clients’ medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-448-8585, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.