Driving under the influence often results in crashes which kill or catastrophically injured innocent motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Impairment of normal abilities while in actual control of a vehicle due to alcohol or drug use—including prescription medication—is DUI.
What is surprising is that many people believe that drunkenness or intoxication is required to prove DUI. Under the law, all that is required to be proven is impairment, or limitation, of one’s ability to operate a vehicle based on blood-alcohol level or presence of impairing drugs in the system.
Personal Injury or Death Caused by Alcohol-Related Crashes in SWFL
Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in Southwest Florida are too common and hurt and kill too many people. The local incidence of of DUI crashes are staggering. Over five years, the average annual number of drunk driver crashes are the following:
- Lee County: 622
- Collier County: 288
- Charlotte County: 143
- Sarasota County: 399
- Hendry County: 44
The numbers speak for themselves, but consider the average of 12 per week in Lee County alone. Throughout SW Fla. there are an average of nearly 30 alcohol-related crashes every week.
DUI accidents are very serious, and while the impaired driver may face criminal charges, injury victims may seek compensation and other damages.
Compensation for DUI Injury Victims
While some may have some sympathy for a driver who is momentarily distracted and kills or injures someone, it is hard to feel sorry for a person driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The act of consuming alcohol or taking drugs—including prescription medication—which causes impairment is a voluntary act. If impairment exists, then alternative arrangements for transportation must be made. Calling a cab, taking the bus, or asking a friend or family member for a ride are all easy alternatives to driving drunk.
When a driver, motorcyclist, or pedestrian is injured or killed by a drunk driver, the family of the injured or killed victim is changed forever. These stories happen again and again, despite all of the awareness campaigns and efforts to combat drunk driving. The depth of harm and loss is unimaginable.
Our criminal justice system deals with the DUI driver while our firm seeks to take care of the victims and families changed forever by a senseless, selfish act. While time cannot be reset, together we can work toward providing financial security and some measure of comfort in the wake of such damage.
Unfortunately, the terrible aftermath of a drunk driving injury—death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, broken bones, quadriplegia, paraplegia, and other serious harms and losses—is often catastrophic.
Compensation in a Drunk Driving Accident
At Harris Law, experienced injury lawyer David Harris seeks justice on behalf of drunk driving accident victims. In the civil justice system, money damages to help make up for the harms and losses may be available, among other remedies.
- The intoxicated at-fault driver may be sued for gross negligence.
- Your uninsured motorist (UM) policy may provide additional compensation.
- If the drunk driver was over-served at a party, bar, restaurant, or other establishment, a dram shop liability claim may exist.
In addition to compensation from the at-fault driver or other responsible parties, a claim for punitive damages may be pursued under the circumstances.
Punitive Damages for DUI Accident Injury Claims
While these impaired drivers are frequently punished in criminal court, there is often a source of recovery for the victim in the form of a civil action for money damages compensation. The goal of compensation is to make up for the harms and losses, such as medical expenses, lost work, future needs, and pain and suffering, caused by the drunk driver.
Additional damages often available in drinking and driving crashes are punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the drunk driver and other reckless accountable parties, as well as deter future misconduct. Punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
Pursuing Compensation and Other Justice for Persons Injured by Intoxicated Drivers
Were seriously injured by a drunk driver? Was a family member killed by a motorist who was drinking and driving? Your tragedy, your despair, and your grief are unimaginable.
If you are seeking justice for your harms and losses, then contact experienced Fort Myers injury lawyer David Harris right now for a free, personal, and confidential discussion of your circumstances. Serving Southwest Florida injury victims, driven for justice and determined to pursue maximum compensation and damages, David stands by you and your family in this time of need.
You are valued here. If David agrees to represent you, then you stay involved in the fight for justice, your questions are answered, your phone calls answered or returned promptly, and your thoughts and concerns matter.