Individuals involved in an accident with a drunk driver know that drunk driving in Florida can carry heavy penalties, including fines, loss of license and jail time. However, those injured in an accident with a drunk driver may also be able to seek compensation in civil court. This form of redress lets an injured individual recover monetary losses due to medical bills, hospitalization, physical therapy and lost time at work in addition to non-economic damages. Calling a car accident attorney in the Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or Boca Raton area can help.
What Constitutes Drunk Driving?
A driver can be charged with drunk driving in Florida when he or she exhibits a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, fails sobriety tests or displays impaired faculties. For drivers under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance and, if a person under this age shows a BAC level of 0.02, he or she can be charged with drunk driving. A drunk driving accident and criminal charges can be used as proof of negligence in a civil lawsuit.
How Does a Conviction of DUI Help a Negligence Case?
Drunk driving is illegal, and criminal charges can be brought against the driver particularly if others are injured or killed. The evidence presented in a criminal court must show the driver was guilty without a reasonable doubt. This is a higher standard of proof than that used in civil cases where proof of negligence is based on the preponderance of evidence. A criminal conviction can serve as proof in the civil court.
What Is the Florida Crime Victim Compensation Act?
An individual who suffers injuries or the family of a decedent who dies as a result of a criminal act may be eligible to apply for the Florida Crime Victim Compensation Act. If eligible, this act means that an individual is not subject to the copay or deductible provisions of their insurance policy, and insurance companies are obligated to not charge policyholders who are granted this waiver.
Can You File a Civil Suit Against a Drunk Driver in a No-Fault State?
If you are in an accident with a drunk driver, you can file a civil suit under certain circumstances. This is possible if you incur permanent injuries, such as disfigurement or permanent scarring. You may also file if the accident results in the permanent loss of a major bodily function that is deemed significant.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Being involved in an accident with a drunk driver may result in lost time from work, expenses due to medical care and recuperation and property loss. It may also deprive a family of the care another family member provided. In either case, consulting with the law firm of Kaiser Romanello for a free case evaluation can help. An experienced car accident attorney can review your records, answer your questions and help you to understand your rights. The firm can guide you through the legal process and help you recover pecuniary losses.