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Who is Liable if I’ve Been Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?

Drunk driving accidents happen unexpectedly when a driver is least expecting it. Nobody ever expects another driver to make the reckless decision to get drunk and then slide behind the wheel of a car. After one of these accidents happens, you wonder how you can hold a driver liable when it appears as if they were driving while intoxicated. Who is liable in the event of a drunk driving accident?

Every year, many drivers make the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated and this can lead to devastating results. In fact, statistics taken in Florida show us that 8,476 lives were lost in drunk driving accidents between the years 2003 and 2012. Who is at fault?

Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident: Is it Automatic?

Drunk driving is a crime and one that comes with a variety of charges. In most cases, a drunk driver will be fully liable for the harm that they have caused you. When a driver is incredibly and visibility intoxicated at the scene, police will surely notice this and arrest those who have engaged in these reckless actions. However, there are some cases where two parties may have contributed to one of these accidents.

Yes, there are some cases where a drunk driver is only partially at fault. Perhaps you blew through a red light and slammed into the driver’s vehicle but, because they were intoxicated, they also contributed to the accident on some level. While you may have a valid claim against a driver who should not have legally been driving at the time, you were also partially at fault and your damages may be reduced by a percentage because of this.

Determining Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident

Determining drunk driving liability depends on the same aspects that apply in every personal injury claim: a duty, a breach of duty, causation, proximate cause, and damages.

Duty: Drivers have a duty to abide by all traffic rules and hazards. If they make the decision to drive drunk, they are not abiding by the duty of the roads.

Breach of Duty: Speeding, driving recklessly, and drunk driving all contribute to a breach in the standard duty of care expected of drivers.

Cause in Fact: If the other driver was not impaired, you have to ask yourself: Would the accident still have happened due to the negligence of the other driver? 

Proximate Cause: The plaintiff must be able to show that the driver’s drunk driving acts were a proximate cause of their injuries taking place.

Damages: The plaintiff must be able to show that they actually received financial damages due to their accident.

Speaking with an Attorney After a DUI Accident

If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Florida and believe that the DUI driver is at fault, you have many rights to compensation. Some of the damages that are most prevalent in these accidents are lost wages, medical bills, property damages, and more. Our skilled attorneys at Sheftall & Associates are committed to helping you through these difficult times and will help you every step of the way. Please contact our accident attorneys at 904-647-2296 to find out how we can assist you.