Drunk Driving and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Accidents
Automobile accidents are always difficult for both the victim and their family, and can cause serious or life threatening injuries. However, accidents caused as the result of an intoxicated driver are especially tragic, as they are entirely preventable. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 30,000 accidents per year occur as the result of drunk drivers (source). Unfortunately, among those injured, in Florida 2,500 people are killed per year as the result of alcohol related accidents.
In order to deter these senseless accidents, Florida law provides that, in addition to monetary damages generally recoverable from at-fault drivers in automobile accidents, where the at-fault driver is intoxicated at the time of the accident, the victim or their family can recover additional, punitive damages from the defendant. Intoxication can be the result of a blood alcohol content level exceeding the maximum .08% provided by Florida law, or can result from general impairment caused by alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants.
Punitive damages are damages imposed in order to punish the at-fault party for extreme wrongdoing and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages can only be recovered in circumstances where the at-fault party’s negligence is gross and reckless, and are generally warranted where there is egregious wrongdoing of the at-fault party. Florida courts have consistently held that punitive damages should be allowed where a driver is voluntarily intoxicated and involved in a motor vehicle accident. The voluntary act of drinking and driving meets the gross and recklessness standard necessary to allow for an award of punitive damages.
The effect of the statutes and law on punitive damages in DUI cases is to permit monetary recovery greatly exceeding any objective limit on the amount that may legally be awarded in other cases. If you have been injured, or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of an intoxicated driver, you may be able to recover these additional damages.
The attorneys at the law firm of Syprett Meshad are experienced at handling the claims of victims injured or killed as the tragic result of drunk or intoxicated drivers, and helping those victims through a painful and stressful time. Our team of attorneys and staff can help you present your case to the defendant and relevant insurance companies, and are prepared to take your case to trial to obtain the financial compensation you are entitled to under Florida law.
Free consultation and no attorney’s fees unless you recover compensation for your claim . Your initial consultation with the attorneys of Syprett Meshad is free of charge. Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that you are not responsible for paying any attorney’s fees unless we are successful in obtaining you compensation for your claim. Please contact us today for your free consultation.