It is well established that driving under the influence of alcohol is a dangerous practice that is also against the law. This, however, does little to dissuade drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.
The overall damage wrought by drunk drivers is immense, and DUI accidents are often life-altering. If you have been injured by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, contact us now and discuss your claim with a skilled Plantation car accident attorney who has experience guiding DUI accident claims toward favorable outcomes for victims.
Drunk Driving Accidents: The Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares the following sobering drunk driving statistics:
- In this country, about 32 people lose their lives to drunk drivers daily.
- In 2020 alone, drunk driving accidents took the lives of 11,654 people.
- The number of total drunk driving fatalities in 2020 was 14 percent higher than in 2019.
- Approximately 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. involve an impaired driver.
- From 2011 to 2020, drunk drivers killed an average of 10,500 people yearly.
The Progression of Impairment
At the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in the State of Florida, which is .08 percent, NHTSA reports that drivers experience the following impairments behind the wheel:
- Decreased concentration
- Loss of short-term memory
- Decreased ability to control vehicle’s speed
- Reduction in ability to process information correctly
By the time the driver’s BAC rises to the level of .15 percent, however, all the following additional impairments affect their ability to drive safely:
- A reduction in the ability to maintain lane position
- A reduction in the ability to brake safely
- A substantial reduction in the ability to control the vehicle
- A diminished capacity for paying attention to the task of driving
- A decrease in ability to accurately process the visual and auditory information necessary to drive safely
In light of these significant impairments, it is no surprise that drunk drivers are often responsible for deadly traffic accidents.
The Other Driver’s DUI Charge
If the driver who causes you to be injured in a car accident is under the influence of alcohol at the time, they will likely be arrested for DUI by the attending officer at the scene of the accident.
If you believe the other driver is drunk – or have reason to suspect that they might be – it’s important to share your reasoning with the officer on the scene. Allowing an impaired driver to get back behind the wheel is a bad idea, and the fact of the other driver’s negligence is important to your DUI accident claim.
Your Civil Claim vs. the State’s Criminal Charge
While your DUI accident claim is a civil matter in which you will seek compensation for the covered losses you endure due to the drunk driver’s negligence, a DUI charge is a criminal matter that relates to the other driver having broken the law.
The distinctions between the two include:
- You will likely file your DUI accident claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance provider – seeking compensation for your related physical, financial, and emotional losses.
- The driving under the influence charge is likely a misdemeanor, and a conviction can lead to legal fines and penalties, including jail time.
While the two cases are distinct matters, this does not mean that they have no bearing on one another. If the other driver is charged with and convicted of DUI in relation to the accident that leaves you injured, it helps to establish their negligence in your accident claim.
Further, in especially egregious cases, the court may impose punitive damages intended to punish the dangerously reckless driver.
Generally, settlements in car accident claims – or court orders in car accident cases – are intended to compensate the injured party for the verifiable losses they endure. As mentioned, when the at-fault party’s wrongdoing is so offensive that it amounts to gross negligence, the court may also impose punitive damages that punish the at-fault party and warn others against following suit.
The losses you recover in your DUI accident claim can generally be divided into several basic categories.
The damage caused to your vehicle is addressed in terms of property damage.
The medical costs associated with the kind of serious car accidents that drunk drivers often cause can be immense, and they can also be ongoing. If your injuries require follow-up care or lead to complications or secondary healthcare concerns, you can expect even more considerable medical expenses.
The recovery process after a serious car accident is likely to be lengthy, and the earnings you lose as a result can be a real financial drain — especially in the face of those mounting medical costs.
If your ability to perform your job or continue developing your career is affected, this loss category can be especially challenging. It should also be noted that job-related losses can carry an emotional punch along with the financial blow they land.
Physical and emotional pain and suffering
The pain and suffering you’re forced to endure due to a drunk driver’s recklessness can be immense and affect your overall recovery.
Common signs of accident-related emotional distress include:
- Frightening accident flashbacks
- Fear of driving
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
Injured by a Drunk Driver? Consult With a Plantation Car Accident Attorney
At Scarfone Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys, we help those hurt by a drunk driver in Plantation, Florida seek justice. Rocco Scarfone, our founder, has a track record of guiding claims like yours toward beneficial resolutions. As our client, we’ll support rights and best interests.
Contact us online or pick up the phone and call Scarfone now at 754-465-0874.