This Week On LawCall™ — DUI
Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and you can bet that law enforcement will be actively hunting for drunk drivers. Obviously, the best advice we can give is “don’t drink and drive.” But, not everyone will heed that warning.
The consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction are serious, and an alcohol-related accident could be devastating. If you have questions about the consequences of drinking and driving, tune in to LawCall™ this Sunday, when Tallahassee personal injury attorney Harry Graham and his guest, attorney Gus Soto, will answering your questions about what happens after the accident.
Will a DUI mean a fine? Losing your license? Jail time? What about the possibility of injuring or even killing someone in a drunk driving accident? What happens then? This Sunday on LawCall™, we’re talking specifically about our state’s DUI laws. Call or email us with your questions!
What To Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
Each year, hundreds of Floridians needlessly lose their lives in crashes involving drunk drivers; many more are seriously injured. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you need to know what to do if you have been in a car accident or truck accident involving an impaired driver.
The first thing you should do after being involved in a crash in which you suspect the other driver is under the influence of alcohol is to tend to your injuries and the injuries of others. Summon emergency assistance if you are able to do so. Because you may be entitled to recover monetary damages for your injuries, losses, and expenses after such a crash, you should also try to:
- Record as much information about the driver as possible, including the driver’s appearance, mannerisms, odors, and any statements the driver made. Also look for signs of alcohol or drug consumption such as open alcohol containers in the driver’s vehicle and/or marijuana buds (for example).
- Record as much information about the accident as you can remember. What did you remember the other driver doing before striking your vehicle? What were you doing? What were the weather conditions and road conditions? All of this information can be helpful in establishing the fault of the other driver and minimizing any reduction in your compensation because of comparative negligence.
DUI in Florida: Insurance and The Law
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
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.
If you have been injured, it is important that you retain a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. You only have a limited time in which to file a claim seeking compensation and damages for the crash. If you fail to prepare and file your case before the expiration of this deadline, you will lose your right to recover compensation for your injuries forever.
You also want to be sure that any usable information or evidence doesn’t get lost. If your case goes to trial, you’ll need the evidence to have been responsibly gathered. This is the type of thoroughness that you should expect from an experienced personal injury attorney, and just one more reason why it is important to speak to one after you are injured in a DUI accident.
LawCall™ features Tallahassee personal injury attorneys, Vinse Barrett, Jimmy Fasig, Dana Brooks, Mark Nonni and Jaeson Homola, plus guest attorneys from across North Florida who answer your questions on a different legal topic every Sunday. Long-time newscaster Frank Ranicky anchors the program.