Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driver Accident Attorney

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drunk driver accident lawyerBeing involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. As experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driver accident lawyers, we understand the profound impact these accidents have on victims and their families.

The reckless decision of another person to drive under the influence can lead to severe injuries, emotional distress, and significant financial burdens.

Drunk driver accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, often result in devastating injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and more. These incidents not only cause physical harm but also leave victims facing substantial medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term rehabilitation needs.

The emotional toll of such an accident, knowing it was entirely preventable, adds another layer of suffering for the victims.

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, we are committed to holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping victims of drunk driver accidents in Fort Lauderdale secure the compensation they deserve.

We thoroughly investigate each case, gather crucial evidence, and build a solid legal strategy to advocate for our client’s rights.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, it’s essential to seek legal assistance promptly. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let our experienced drunk driver accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, guide you through obtaining justice and recovering the compensation you need to move forward. Our dedication to fighting for your rights makes us the trusted choice for auto accident cases in Fort Lauderdale.

How Often Do Drunk Driving Accidents Happen in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

Drunk driver accidents are a significant concern in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida, and understanding the statistics of these incidents is crucial for assisting victims. Florida’s warm weather and attractions draw many visitors, particularly in spring, which unfortunately leads to a spike in drunk driving incidents.

In March 2022 alone, Florida saw 479 alcohol-confirmed crashes, resulting in 41 deaths and 41 serious injuries—a 3% increase from 2021. Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, experienced 4 alcohol-related fatalities in 2022, down from 12 in 2021 and 18 in 2020, highlighting the ongoing issue.

Florida’s “Never Drive Impaired” campaign, led by the FLHSMV and FHP, focuses on educating the public about the dangers of impaired driving. The campaign, especially in March, stresses the severe consequences of driving under the influence.

Drunk driver accidents often result in severe injuries, extensive medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term rehabilitation needs. Despite strict laws and penalties, such as fines, license revocation, and mandatory DUI education, impaired driving remains a significant threat.

For immediate legal assistance from a skilled Fort Lauderdale drunk driver accident lawyer, reach out to our legal team today. We offer free case evaluations.

What Are My Rights If I'm Injured by a Drunk Driver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

If you’re injured by a drunk driver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. To take legal action, you need to prove that the driver was at fault, typically based on evidence gathered by the police. However, the at-fault driver or their attorney might challenge this evidence, so hiring a skilled Fort Lauderdale drunk driver accident attorney to conduct an independent investigation is crucial.

Florida’s statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident for personal injury claims and two years from the date of death for wrongful death claims. Missing this deadline means losing the right to seek compensation.

Victims can claim financial compensation for various accident-related expenses.

This includes immediate costs like emergency medical bills and lost income if you’re unable to work. Long-term expenses, such as ongoing medical treatment, lost future income, and, in wrongful death cases, the financial impact of losing a loved one, can also be covered.

Your attorney will file the lawsuit in the county where the accident occurred, such as Broward County, for a Fort Lauderdale incident. Each case is unique and requires a tailored legal strategy to ensure your rights are protected, and you receive fair compensation.

What Are Florida Laws for Drunk and Impaired Driving in Fort Lauderdale?

Overview of DUI Laws

In Florida, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances is illegal. You can be charged with a DUI if your normal faculties are impaired or if your blood alcohol or breath alcohol level is 0.08 or above.

Penalties for DUI Convictions

The penalties for a DUI conviction vary depending on the number of offenses and specific circumstances, like having a high blood alcohol level (0.15 or above) or having a minor in the vehicle. For a first conviction, fines range from $500 to $1,000, with higher fines if your blood alcohol level is 0.15 or higher or if a minor is present. You could face up to 6 months in jail or up to 9 months under those same circumstances.

Additionally, you must perform 50 hours of community service or pay an extra $10 fine per hour of required service. The total period of probation and incarceration will not exceed 1 year, and your license could be suspended for 180 days to 1 year.

For a second conviction, fines increase to $1,000 to $2,000, or $2,000 to $4,000 if your blood alcohol level is 0.15 or higher, or a minor is present. Imprisonment could be up to 9 months or up to 12 months with a high blood alcohol level or a minor.

If the second conviction is within 5 years of the first, there is a mandatory 10-day jail sentence, with at least 48 hours being consecutive. License suspension for a second conviction is at least 5 years if within 5 years of the prior conviction, though you may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year.

A third conviction carries fines of $2,000 to $5,000, or at least $4,000, with a high blood alcohol level or a minor in the vehicle. You could be imprisoned for up to 12 months, with a mandatory 30-day sentence if the conviction is within 10 years of the prior one, including 48 hours consecutive. Your license will be suspended for at least 10 years if within 10 years of the prior conviction, with potential hardship reinstatement after 2 years.

For a fourth or subsequent conviction, fines start at $2,000, or $4,000 minimum, if your blood alcohol level is 0.15 or higher or if a minor is present. Imprisonment can be up to 5 years, and your license will be permanently revoked, though you might be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years.

Additional Penalties

Other penalties include vehicle impoundment (10 days for the first conviction, 30 days for the second within 5 years, and 90 days for the third within 10 years), mandatory DUI school and possible substance abuse treatment, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device for certain offenders, typically those with high blood alcohol levels or multiple offenses.

Conditions for Release After Arrest

After a DUI arrest, you can be released if you are no longer under the influence, your normal faculties are no longer impaired, your blood alcohol level is below 0.05, or eight hours have passed since your arrest.

DUI Involving Damage, Injury, or Death

If a DUI results in property damage or personal injury, it is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If serious or catastrophic injury occurs, it is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the driver leaves the scene, it becomes a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers face stricter rules, including a 1-year disqualification for a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or above and permanent disqualification for a second offense or refusal to submit to testing.

License Reinstatement

For a first conviction, you are eligible for a hardship license after completing DUI school and any required treatment, but you must serve 30 days without a license before applying. For subsequent convictions, eligibility varies but generally requires completion of DUI school and remaining alcohol and drug-free for a specified period.

Refusal to Submit to Testing

Refusing to submit to testing results in a one-year license suspension for the first refusal, an 18-month suspension, and a first-degree misdemeanor for the second refusal.

To learn more about Florida laws and your rights after an accident caused by a driver under the influence, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driver accident lawyer at Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys today. We can answer any questions you may have.

What Are Florida's Dram Shop and Social Host Liability Laws?

Florida’s dram shop laws make establishments like bars, restaurants, and liquor stores liable if they serve alcohol to a minor or an obviously intoxicated person who then causes harm. These laws are designed to prevent businesses from irresponsibly serving alcohol.

For private individuals, Florida’s social host liability laws generally do not hold hosts responsible for injuries resulting from their guests’ alcohol consumption. However, there is an important exception: if a host serves alcohol to a minor (under 21), they can be held liable for any resulting injuries. Under Florida statute § 856.015, it is a crime to allow underage drinking at a party if the host is aware of it and fails to take steps to prevent it.

In such cases, the host may face both criminal charges and civil liability. Civil liability can be proven under the concept of “negligence per se” if the host violates the statute. Additionally, property owners may be liable for injuries caused by unsafe conditions on their premises unrelated to alcohol consumption.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash due to another driver being under the influence of alcohol, consulting with a knowledgeable drunk driver accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, can help determine if you have a valid claim under Florida’s dram shop and social host liability laws.

Experienced Law Firm Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Drunk driving in Fort Lauderdale leads to severe injuries and tragic losses. At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, we understand the profound impact these accidents have on victims and their families, from physical pain to emotional trauma and financial hardships.

Our dedicated Fort Lauderdale drunk driver accident lawyers work tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable. We navigate the complexities of both personal injury and Workers’ Compensation cases, mainly when accidents occur during job-related duties.

Florida law imposes strict penalties on drunk drivers, but victims must pursue compensation through civil litigation. This process can be overwhelming, especially with defense attorneys aggressively representing the accused.

 If you or a loved one has been affected by a drunk driver accident, contact Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys promptly. We are committed to securing the justice and compensation you deserve.

How Do I Recover Compensation After Being Involved in a Crash with a Drunk Driver in Fort Lauderdale?

Recovering compensation after a crash with a drunk driver in Fort Lauderdale involves proving that the driver’s negligence directly caused the accident and your injuries. To do this effectively, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you gather the necessary evidence is crucial.

Proving Liability

To prove liability in a drunk driver car accident case, you need to collect evidence demonstrating that the driver was impaired at the time of the crash. The most compelling proof is a DUI conviction or arrest. Additional evidence can include:

  • Police Reports: These often contain detailed observations from officers about the driver’s condition and behavior.
  • Breathalyzer or Chemical Test Results: These tests measure the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and are strong indicators of impairment.
  • Credit Card Receipts: Documentation showing that the driver consumed alcohol before the accident.
  • Social Media Posts: Posts indicating the driver was at a party or bar before the crash.
  • Witness Statements: Observations from witnesses can attest to the driver’s impairment.
  • Photos and Videos: Visual evidence from cell phones or social media that captures the driver’s condition or actions.
  • Your Testimony: Statements about the driver’s behavior, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol.

Proving Your Damages

Proving liability is only part of the process. You must also demonstrate the extent of your losses. Key evidence includes:

  • Medical Records: These documents detail your injuries, treatments, and any long-term or permanent disabilities resulting from the accident.
  • Employment Records: Pay stubs and tax records to show lost wages if your injuries prevented you from working.
  • Pain and Suffering Documentation: This often requires expert testimony to quantify your injuries’ physical and emotional impact.

Caution with Social Media

While pursuing your claim, be mindful of your social media activity. Insurance companies may scrutinize your posts to find inconsistencies that could undermine your claim. For example, claiming a severe injury but posting photos suggesting otherwise could harm your case.

Is a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Case Worth More if it Was Caused By a Drunk Driver?

In Fort Lauderdale, car accident cases involving drunk drivers can often result in higher compensation compared to typical Fort Lauderdale car crash lawsuits. Several factors contribute to these cases’ increased settlement values and jury awards.

Higher Average Settlement and Jury Awards

Statistics show that the average settlement value for personal injury cases involving drunk drivers tends to be higher than for standard auto accident cases. For instance, the average jury verdict in a drunk driving accident case is around $575,000, while the median jury award is approximately $75,000. These figures are notably higher than those for typical auto tort cases.

Reasons for Higher Compensation

  1. Severity of Accidents: Drunk driving accidents often result in more severe injuries due to the impaired driver’s reduced reaction time and poor judgment. This leads to higher medical costs, more significant pain and suffering, and greater long-term impacts on victims’ lives, all contributing to larger settlements and awards.
  2. Lack of Sympathy for Drunk Drivers: Juries typically have little sympathy for drunk drivers. This lack of empathy often translates into higher verdicts as juries aim to punish negligent behavior and provide ample compensation to the victims.

Admissibility of Evidence

The amount of compensation can also be influenced by whether the drunk driver admits fault. If the driver denies liability, evidence of their intoxication can be used to prove fault. This can make a significant difference in the outcome of the case, as showing the driver was drunk at the time of the accident often strengthens the victim’s claim.

However, if the drunk driver admits liability, evidence of their intoxication may not be presented to the jury. There are exceptions, such as cases involving negligent entrustment, where an employer may be held liable if the driver was on the job and under the influence.

Strategic Legal Approach

Given these nuances, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney who understands how to navigate the complexities of drunk driving cases. At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, our attorneys are skilled in handling such cases, ensuring that all relevant evidence is used to maximize your compensation.

Is a Police Report from My Car Crash Admissible as Evidence in Fort Lauderdale?

Understanding the role of a police report in your auto accident case in Fort Lauderdale involves navigating specific legal considerations:

Legal Requirements in Florida

According to Chapter 316, Section 065 of Florida law, drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500 must promptly report the incident to law enforcement. This requirement often leads to the generation of detailed police reports following accidents.

Admissibility of Police Reports

In Fort Lauderdale, as per Chapter 316, Section 066(4), while the police report itself is generally inadmissible as evidence due to hearsay rules, its contents can be presented through the testimony of the investigating officer or witnesses cited in the report. Although the report cannot be directly entered into evidence, its details can still play a crucial role in your case.

Leveraging Your Police Report

Despite its limitations, the police report remains invaluable for several reasons:

  • Identifying Parties and Witnesses: It contains essential information such as contact details of involved parties, insurance information, and statements from witnesses. This helps identify responsible parties and secure witness testimony.
  • Supporting Investigations: The report acts as a blueprint for further investigation, facilitating the retrieval of additional evidence, such as surveillance footage or dash-cam recordings that corroborate accident details.

Evidence in Your Case

To strengthen your personal injury claim in Fort Lauderdale, our attorneys at Schilling and Silvers utilize admissible evidence, including:

  • Witness Testimony: Statements from witnesses identified in the police report can be presented in court to support your account of the accident.
  • Expert Testimony: Experts may provide insights into complex accident dynamics or offer medical opinions crucial for substantiating your claims.
  • Financial Documentation: Medical records, wage loss statements, and other financial documents serve to quantify your economic losses.

While a police report itself may not be admissible in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom, its contents are foundational for building a robust case. At Schilling and Silvers, we specialize in navigating these legal nuances to ensure that all relevant evidence supports your pursuit of maximum compensation. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

What If The Accident Caused by the Drunk Driver Was Fatal?

When a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, results in a fatality, it raises critical legal considerations under Florida law, particularly in relation to wrongful death claims.

Understanding Wrongful Death in Florida

Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act (FWDA), a wrongful death occurs when the negligent or wrongful conduct of another party leads to the death of an individual. This includes incidents where death results from driving under the influence of alcohol. The FWDA allows certain surviving family members of the deceased to pursue compensation for the losses resulting from the death.

Pursuing Compensation

In cases involving a drunk driving fatality, eligible family members, such as spouses, children, parents, and other dependents, can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit seeks to recover damages (see Florida Statute 768.21) for various losses, including:

  • Funeral and burial expenses: Costs associated with the deceased’s funeral and burial arrangements.
  • Loss of financial support: Compensation for the income and economic contributions the deceased would have provided to the family.
  • Loss of companionship and guidance: Damages to address the emotional suffering and loss of guidance experienced by surviving family members.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for the emotional pain and suffering endured due to the loss of a loved one.

Establishing Liability

Proving liability in a wrongful death case involving a drunk driver typically consists of demonstrating that:

  • The driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
  • This intoxication directly caused or significantly contributed to the accident that resulted in the victim’s death.

Skilled Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Navigating injuries stemming from an accident caused by a drunk driver requires experienced legal representation. At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, our legal team specializes in handling these complex cases, ensuring that all legal avenues are pursued to secure the compensation you and your family deserve.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your situation and explore the best course of action moving forward.

Locations near Fort Lauderdale which we serve include Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Hialeah, Hollywood, and more.