Every driver on the road must uphold the duty of care that they owe to their peers. Drivers who drink before getting behind the wheel violate this duty of care outright. As such, you can hold an intoxicated driver liable for the losses you endured in an accident they caused.
You don’t have to go into this legal venture alone, though. You can work with a Lehigh Acres DUI accident attorney to determine how best to present your losses to a civil judge. Viles & Beckman can calculate your possible compensation and represent your best interests in negotiations or a civil trial.
Florida’s DUI Laws
In Florida, no one may get behind the wheel of a car if they have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Individuals who do attempt to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated can face fines, imprisonment, and license suspensions.
In most cases, Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension laws can see parties accused of intoxicated driving face criminal charges from local law enforcement representatives. If you want to take legal action against an individual whom you believe was intoxicated at the time of your roadway accident, you can do so in either civil or criminal court.
Pursuing a DUI claim through civil court allows you to request compensation for your DUI accident losses. If you choose to take a case to criminal court instead, you can see the party liable for your losses face the aforementioned consequences. Those consequences can compound depending on a person’s criminal history. You can also pursue both cases at once.
Drinking and Boating in Florida
It is illegal to drive a boat if you have a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Anyone who causes an accident on the water while intoxicated can be held accountable for both the injured party’s losses and their deliberate negligence.
That said, you are permitted to drink while on a boat in Florida. You cannot be arrested or charged for having open containers of alcohol with you on board. However, all parties found drinking on a boat should be prepared to submit to sobriety tests if they’re accused of negligent behavior.
The Overlap Between Criminal and Civil DUI Charges
As mentioned, drunk drivers can be held accountable for their actions in both criminal and civil courts. There are some benefits to pursuing both of these cases. For example, say a driver is convicted of criminal intoxication. A Lehigh Acres DUI accident attorney can use that conviction as proof of negligence in a civil court case.
Proof of negligence can help indicate to a jury that the party you’ve named in your DUI accident complaint has already been held in contempt of the law. As such, you may have an easier time securing the compensation you need to recover from your accident.
Reacting to an Accident Involving an Intoxicated Driver
After an accident with an intoxicated driver, you have the right to pursue civil action. You can do this by building a legal complaint. In your complaint, you must present information indicating that:
- A particular party bears the responsibility for your losses
- That party owed you a duty of care at the time of your accident
- That party violated their duty of care by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated
- You endured significant losses due to a party’s negligence
If you exchanged insurance information with a party at the scene of your accident, you may have a good idea of who you want to name liable for your losses. However, allow our team to investigate the site of your accident before making any concrete claims. We want to have evidence on hand to back your assertions before we file your complaint.
Requesting Compensation After a DUI Accident
DUI accidents tend to be costly for victims. Whether you were on the road or walking with friends at the time the accident occurred, a driver’s negligence can force you to contend with significant medical expenses. Vehicular accidents can also see you have to repair and/or replace expensive personal property.
While you can work with an insurer to overcome some of these losses, a civil complaint allows you to benefit from additional financial support. So long as you can provide evidence indicating the extent of your losses and their relationship to your accident, your claim can see a liable party pay you back for the damages they inflicted upon you.
Some of the most common damages included in today’s DUI accident claims include:
- Medical bills you’ve already paid for
- The cost of essential upcoming treatments
- Property replacement and repair
- Lost wages and/or opportunities for work
- The cost of hiring at-home assistance while you recover
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Undue stress
Our DUI accident lawyers in Lehigh Acres can tell you more about the non-economic multipliers that may apply to your case during an initial case consultation.
When to File Your DUI Accident Complaint
If you want to pursue financial support for your DUI losses, you need to bring your complaint to a civil court’s attention within Florida’s statute of limitations. This statute, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), allows you to take four years to pursue a case for losses involving negligence.
With that in mind, be prepared to bring forward evidence indicating that a driver’s lack of care resulted in their intoxicated driving. You can work with our attorneys to present this evidence within the aforementioned deadline. Failure to bring your claim forward within that four-year deadline can see you otherwise waive your right to financial support.
Challenge Roadway Negligence With a DUI Accident Lawyer
Anyone who drinks before getting behind the wheel can be accused of deliberate negligence. If you’ve been in an accident with an intoxicated driver, you can subsequently hold that driver liable for your losses. When you connect with a DUI accident attorney in Lehigh Acres, you can discuss the best way to bring your concerns before a judge and jury.
The Viles & Beckman team wants to help you overcome your DUI accident losses. You can contact us today to learn more about our available legal services. We’re available to schedule your first case consultation over the phone or through our website.