Drunk driving is deadly. Even though we all know to avoid drinking and driving—after all, it’s the law—thousands of people are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents every year. How does driving under the influence affect a personal injury claim?
Florida drunk driving laws and personal injury claims
Under Florida Statute 316.193, drunk driving is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It is also a negligent act.
To prove a driver was negligent and recover damages, a plaintiff must show:
- The defendant had a duty to avoid causing harm;
- The defendant breached that duty; and
- As a result, the plaintiff suffered actual harm.
In this case, every driver has a duty to follow all laws and avoid causing harm to other drivers on the road. Driving drunk is against the law, which is evidence that the defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff. This is called “negligence per se”: conduct which is against the law is presumed to be negligent.
The plaintiff also must show they suffered actual injuries from the accident—that is, if they weren’t harmed, they don’t have grounds for a personal injury suit. Insurance coverage would likely be sufficient to cover the property damage.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, but drunk driving accidents can kill or severely injure others. Insurance coverage is unlikely to cover all the costs involved in this event. For that reason, victims or their families may choose to file a personal injury suit against the negligent driver.
Have you been injured in a drunk driving accident? You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Talk to a knowledgeable Bradenton, FL auto accident lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.