Drunk Driving Accidents
Every single day in this country, 29 people in the U.S. die in a drunk driving accident. Driver impairment by alcohol and/ or drugs has long been a major cause of serious and deadly crashes in Florida.
Though commonly referred to as “accidents,” the truth is impaired driving is conduct best described as intentional, negligent and often criminal. Lives are ended – or upended – and are often never the same again. Those who recover fully are fortunate, but even they aren’t unscathed, often saddled with a substantial economic burden, thanks to someone else’s poor choices.
In Florida, drunk driving is a crime. It is also strong evidence that a driver failed to use reasonable care in the operation of his or her vehicle and that this failure was causal in injuring someone else. This is what our Collier County drunk driving accident lawyers at Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner must prove to establish negligence and obtain justice. Drunk driving is also one of the few crash-related offenses in Florida for which civil injury and wrongful death plaintiffs can seek punitive damages (as opposed to just compensatory damages). Punitive damages are paid to the victim over and above actual losses with the intent of punishing a defendant for egregious or reckless conduct and utter disregard for others’ well-being.
Drunk driving cases are often among the most serious not only because of the extreme risks taken by impaired drivers (such as driving on the wrong side of the road or completely blowing through a red light), but also the fact they are less likely to initiate last-second evasive maneuvers. If you’re injured in a Collier County drunk driving crash, you’re going to need veteran legal representation. Our law firm has been working – and winning – these cases for nearly 50 years.Collier Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Every year in Florida, well over 5,000 crashes are attributed to drivers whose ability to drive safely was hindered by their decision to drink or use drugs. Specifically in Collier County, there are roughly 125 alcohol and drug confirmed crashes a year, with dozens resulting in serious injury and death.
According to Drug Free Collier, law enforcement agencies in the county report roughly 1,250 DUI violations a year. While it’s a figure that’s been steadily decreasing in recent years, we can’t assume that’s because it’s happening less, given the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash statistics that show alcohol-related crashes in Collier have been rising for the last 10 years. Similar trends are reported statewide.
State statute defines impaired driving as involving a person with actual physical control of a vehicle while having either a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater OR who is under the influence of any chemical or controlled substance that has affected the person’s faculties to the point they can’t safely operate the vehicle. For commercial drivers, the impairment threshold is considered 0.04 while for minors under 21, it’s considered 0.02. For a commercial driver, it’s 0.04.
The proof burden in civil cases is lower than criminal cases, but evidence gleaned by law enforcement or prosecutors in preparation for the criminal case can be helpful to your Collier County drunk driving accident lawyer.
State law says the conviction of a DUI defendant won’t have any bearing on the crash victims’ ability to file a civil lawsuit for damages. It’s sometimes not, however, the only means by which plaintiffs can recover compensation.Collier County Teen Drunk Driver Crashes
Teens and young adults tend to be greater risk-takers and statistically are more likely to be involved in drunk driving crashes in Collier.
Generally when we look at liability for drunk driving, we start with the person who risked YOUR life or that of your loved one by breaking the law. Underage drunk driving cases are one example of cases where other parties may be liable. Taking legal action against the vendor who unlawfully provided someone alcohol may be possible. Such claims fall under the provision of Florida’s “dram shop law,” F.S. 768.125. Bars, restaurants or other vendors who sell or distribute alcohol to a minor can be held legally responsible if that minor gets behind the wheel of a car drunk and hurts themselves or someone else.
A state survey found 9 percent of Collier County high school students indicated they drank and drove in the previous month. If you have been injured in a Collier County drunk driving accident, our dedicated injury lawyers can help.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Collier drunk driving injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.