Helping the Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents

Most car accidents are preventable. In some particularly unfortunate situations, a driver's misconduct can rise to the level of a crime such as DUI or DWI. Accidents caused by drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs are among the most serious and deadly collisions on our roadways.

If you have been hurt or lost a family member due to another driver's intoxication, the attorneys at Heller & Heller, P.A., in Coral Springs can help you vigorously pursue the driver who was responsible for causing your harm.

Under Florida law, it is illegal to operate a car, truck or other motor vehicle with a blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. In addition to being held criminally responsible by a conviction for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, a drunk driver can also be held civilly liable to others for damages that were sustained in the DUI accident.

Asserting Your Right to Compensation: What to Know

A case arising from a motor vehicle collision typically is brought under negligence law. Negligence cases consist of four simple elements: duty, breach of duty, causation and damages. The duty element involves the showing of some type of legal obligation on the part of the defendant, such as the duty to avoid posing foreseeable risks of harm to others.

  • In drunk driving accident cases, the breach element may involve testimony by a medical expert who can explain how the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs affects a driver's reaction time and his or her ability to keep a lookout while behind the wheel.
  • Damages in negligence cases, such as those involving drunk drivers, can include medical expenses resulting from the injuries sustained in the crash, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, repairs to a vehicle, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, family members may be able to file a derivative claim for loss of services or loss of consortium.
  • An award of punitive damages is rare in civil cases, but it may be a possibility in cases where a defendant acted recklessly or in a wanton and willful manner. Since drunk driving accident cases may result in not only civil liability but also in a criminal conviction, this elevated level of misconduct may have occurred.

Take Action Now — Time Is of the Essence

The time period allowed for filing suit after a Florida drunk driving accident may be complex. A claim filed outside the four-year limitation for negligence cases would most likely be dismissed as untimely, but there may be situations in which a shorter or longer period could apply. For instance, claims involving wrongful death must be filed within two years. The wise course of action for anyone who has been hurt or lost a family member in an accident is to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Explore Your Options After Being Injured

Our lawyers have been protecting the rights of victims since 1991. We are careful to explain a client's legal rights and options in understandable terms, and we work closely with each client to move a case forward in a timely fashion. To put our experience to work in your case, call 954-228-5940 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.