Florida retains disturbing statistics when it comes to the prevalence of drunk driving in the state. There were over 670 deaths caused by drunk drivers for the last year reported. Almost 42,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence. Clearly, drunk drivers are dangerous and pose a huge risk to everyone on the road. What happens if you are involved in a wreck involving a drunk driver?
DUI In Florida
As stated above, DUI is all to common in Florida. Hundreds of Floridians are killed each year in crashes involving drunk drivers. If you are injured in a wreck involving a drunk driver, there are legal aspects behind the DUI that are important to know. A DUI first offense is a misdemeanor, which, in and of itself, is not important to you as an injured party. What is important, though, is that if the person who injured you has been convicted of DUI in the past 3 years, they are required by Florida law to carry additional insurance. In fact, they are required to carry $100,000 in bodily injury coverage with a $300,000 single occurrence minimum. The person also has to certify to the state that they carry the proper amount of insurance through an FR-44 form, which is a certification of financial responsibility that is required because of their past history of drinking and driving. Unfortunately, however, if this is the first incident involving DUI for the driver who is at fault, this provision does not help you, the injured party.
Suing a Drunk Driver
Depending on the previous history of the drunk driver, their past record may be useful to you if your case goes to court. In many instances, if the driver is convicted in the case in which you are involved, the criminal conviction can be used against them. However, if they plead no contest or nolo contendere, the conviction ordinarily cannot be used in a civil matter such as a personal injury case. It is important, if you have been injured, that you retain a skilled personal injury attorney so that any usable information or evidence can be gathered during a trial or hearing. This is the type of thoroughness that you should expect from your counsel during the pendency of your case.
Liability for a drunk driver is sometimes easier to prove due to the parallel criminal proceeding. However, criminal defense attorneys have the strategic ability to limit the amount of information that comes out during trials, especially when personal injury is involved. If you are injured, though, you have the ability to choose a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer to help you counter those strategies in a civil context. The attorneys and support professionals at the Tallahassee firm of Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience zealously representing their client’s rights. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call us today at (850) 222-3232 to set up your free consultation. Put our experience in your corner and get the results you deserve.