At Kaiser Romanello, P.A., we understand that the aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be a harrowing and overwhelming experience for victims and their families. The immense physical, emotional, and financial toll of such incidents can make seeking justice and compensation seem like an uphill battle.
We believe every victim has the right to justice and the opportunity to rebuild their life.
In this pursuit, the Coral Springs drunk driving accident lawyers at Kaiser Romanello, P.A., offer unwavering support, legal expertise, and compassionate guidance to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Contact us today for your free consultation and to learn your legal options.
Why Choose Kaiser Romanello, P.A., for Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
Kaiser Romanello, P.A., built its practice on providing personalized legal services to accident victims in Coral Springs and throughout South Florida.
Our personal injury lawyers fight for justice and maximum compensation to help our clients injured due to the negligence or carelessness of another get back on their feet. We have obtained millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for those in need, and we can help you, too.
Contact the Coral Springs personal injury lawyers at Kaiser Romanello, P.A. We will handle your drunk driving accident claim so you can focus on what’s important—your recovery.
How Common Are Drunk Driving Accidents in Coral Springs?
Every day, roughly 27 people die in drunk driving crashes in the U.S.—all preventable deaths. According to the latest data from the Florida Crash Dashboard, 5,241 motor vehicle accidents in Florida last year involved alcohol, and resulted in over 3,000 injuries and 416 fatalities. Broward County saw more DUI accidents last year than in the past five years, resulting in seven fatalities. Dedicated efforts have helped drive down rates of drunk driving and alcohol-impaired fatal crashes. Still, too many intoxicated people get behind the wheel.
How Does Alcohol Affect Drivers?
Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down the central nervous system. Initially, the effects may provide relaxation and stress relief. But these same mechanisms can significantly impair a driver.
Here are some of the key ways alcohol affects drivers and leads to serious traffic accidents:
- Impaired judgment: Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to make sound decisions. Drivers under the influence of alcohol may take risks they wouldn’t normally take, such as speeding, tailgating, or attempting dangerous maneuvers.
- Reduced coordination: Alcohol affects motor skills and coordination, making it difficult for drivers to perform tasks such as steering, braking, and accelerating smoothly. This can lead to erratic driving behavior and difficulty staying within their lane.
- Slower reaction times: Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, which includes the brain’s ability to process information and send signals to the muscles. As a result, drivers may react more slowly to unexpected situations on the road, like sudden stops or obstacles.
- Impaired vision: Alcohol can blur vision and reduce the ability to focus on the road and recognize hazards. It can also cause double vision and affect depth perception, making it harder to judge distances accurately.
- Drowsiness: Alcohol can make a driver feel drowsy or fatigued, increasing the likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel, even for short periods.
- Increased aggression: Some people become more aggressive when they consume alcohol. This can lead to aggressive driving behaviors, road rage, and an increased likelihood of accidents.
- Impaired balance and stability: Alcohol affects a driver’s balance, which can make it challenging to maintain control of the vehicle, especially during turns or sudden maneuvers.
Florida Drunk Driving Laws
In Florida, drivers 21 years of age and older may not drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. For drivers under 21, the legal BAC drops to 0.02 percent—which is about equivalent to one drink. Those younger than 21 may not consume alcohol in Florida, and those found in possession of alcohol face fines, jail time, and license revocation.
Drivers of any age convicted of DUI face fines, license suspension, jail time, and vehicle impoundments.
Personal Injury Claims vs. Criminal DUI Charges
Personal injury claims against drunk drivers and criminal DUI charges can result from the same incident but serve different purposes and have distinct legal standards.
Personal Injury Claims Against Drunk Drivers
Personal injury claims against drunk drivers are civil lawsuits initiated by a person who was injured or suffered damages as a result of a drunk driver’s actions. The purpose is to seek compensation for their losses and damages.
In a personal injury claim, the burden of proof is typically based on a preponderance of the evidence, meaning the plaintiff must show that it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s actions (driving under the influence) were the cause of their injuries. If successful, the plaintiff can recover damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Criminal DUI Charges
The government brings criminal DUI charges against individuals caught driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs to punish the offender and protect public safety.
In DUI cases, the government (prosecution) charges the individual (defendant) with a crime. The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a higher standard of proof compared to civil cases.
If convicted of DUI, the defendant may face penalties such as fines, license suspension, probation, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even incarceration, depending on the severity of the offense. Criminal convictions do not compensate the victim but serve as a form of punishment.
Can a Drunk Driver Face Criminal Charges and Civil Claims?
Yes. Both personal injury claims and criminal DUI charges can coexist in cases involving a drunk driver. The outcome of one case can affect the other. For example, a DUI conviction can serve as evidence of liability in a personal injury lawsuit, making it easier for the injured party to establish negligence.
But even after an acquittal, the injured party may still hold the other driver liable for the injuries they caused through a personal injury claim.
Who Can You Sue in a Coral Springs Drunk Driving Accident?
The most obvious party to sue in a drunk driving accident is the intoxicated driver who caused the collision that led to your injuries. You may seek damages for their negligence or recklessness. However, in some cases, you may sue multiple parties in a DUI accident. Some common defendants include:
The Driver’s Employer
If the drunk driver drove as part of their job duties or during work hours, you may hold their employer liable for the accident under certain circumstances. This is known as vicarious liability or employer liability.
If the intoxicated driver does not own the vehicle involved in the accident, you may hold the vehicle’s owner responsible. For example, if the car owner allowed someone obviously drunk to drive their car, and the intoxicated driver causes an accident, you can hold the vehicle’s owner liable for negligent entrustment.
In some cases, if a road or traffic signal malfunction contributed to the accident, you might have a claim against a government entity responsible for maintaining the road or traffic control devices.
Other Negligent Parties
Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, you may hold other parties liable, such as manufacturers of defective vehicle parts or contractors responsible for road maintenance or construction.
Can I Sue a Restaurant or Bar for Serving the Drunk Driver?
Some states allow victims of drunk driving accidents to sue establishments, such as bars, restaurants, or liquor stores, for overserving the drunk driver before the accident.
This is often called dram shop liability. Florida does not hold establishments that sell or furnish alcohol to a person of legal drinking age liable for injuries or damages that the intoxicated person causes.
But Florida does provide two exceptions to this rule. You can hold establishments liable in a drunk driving accident if they serve alcohol to a minor patron under 21 or if they serve alcohol to a patron the establishment knows has a history of alcoholism.
Similarly, a social host who entertains in their own home and serves alcohol to guests is not liable for a DUI accident caused by an intoxicated guest unless they provided packaged alcohol or alcoholic beverages to underage guests and an underage driver caused a DUI accident.
Who Pays for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?
Florida is a no-fault state, meaning you must turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident.
However, if you have sustained a serious injury, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for medical expenses that exceed your insurance coverage. You may also recover pain and suffering for serious injuries that meet certain criteria under Florida law.
To file a drunk driving claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you or your lawyer will need to contact the company and provide them with information about the accident, including the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the name and contact information of the at-fault driver. Provide the insurance company with your own contact information and insurance policy information.
If you speak to the insurance company, do not make any statements or sign any documents about the accident. The insurance company may use your words against you to devalue or deny your claim. It’s best to leave these discussions to your lawyer.
The insurance company will investigate the accident and determine whether their policy covered the at-fault driver at the time of the accident. If so, the insurance company will open a claim and begin the process of investigating your injuries and calculating your damages.
Before accepting an offer from the insurance company, it’s important to consult with a lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for making offers that don’t fully cover the losses you’ve suffered.
A drunk driving accident lawyer with Kaiser Romanello, P.A., can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me with My Drunk Driving Accident Case?
The legal team at Kaiser Romanello, P.A., can help with your drunk driving accident claim by:
- Investigating the accident and gathering evidence: Our drunk driving accident attorney can investigate the accident and gather evidence to prove that the drunk driver was at fault. This may include obtaining police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
- Identify all liable parties: Your lawyer can also identify all of the potential defendants in your case, such as the drunk driver’s employer or the owner of the car.
- Determine the value of your claim: Your lawyer can also calculate the full value of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and lost future earnings.
- Negotiating with the insurance company: A lawyer with our firm can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to get you a fair settlement. Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out full value on drunk driving claims, so it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
- Filing a lawsuit: If the insurance company refuses to make a fair offer, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the drunk driver on your behalf. They can handle all aspects of the lawsuit, including arguing your case in court.
In addition to these specific tasks, your lawyer can also provide you with general guidance and support throughout the claims process. They can answer your questions, explain your legal rights, and help you make informed decisions about your case.
Contact a Coral Springs Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer from Kaiser Romanello, P.A. Today
Drunk driving crashes can result in serious, life-changing injuries. The dedicated team of experienced Coral Springs drunk driving accident lawyers at Kaiser Romanello, P.A., can guide you through this challenging journey.
With a proven track record of advocating for accident victims, we are committed to holding those responsible accountable for their actions and helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today (844) 877-8679 or through our online form for your free consultation, and let us help you begin your journey toward healing, closure, and justice. Your well-being is our top priority, and we are here to fight for your rights.