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Drunk Driving Accidents

The Florida legislature takes a dim view of drivers who get behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated. That’s why Florida has some of the harshest DUI laws in the country. But if a drunk driver in Florida injures you, a criminal charge doesn’t help with your medical bills.

Florida attorney Scott J. Senft represents individuals who have been injured by drunk drivers. While you work on your physical recovery, let the Law Office of Scott J. Senft fight for the legal compensation you’re entitled to. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and work on a contingency basis.

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The Difference Between a Criminal Charge and Civil Liability

The police are trained to look for signs of drunkenness when they respond to accidents. They will start their investigation by looking for the cause of the accident, interviewing witnesses, and investigating the crash. Once they’ve completed this phase, they will begin the criminal portion of their investigation. If they determine that the driver was intoxicated, they will usually make an arrest.

The evidence that the police obtained during their investigation will be invaluable to your civil case. When attorney Senft accepts your case, he will meticulously review the entire criminal investigation in addition to hiring independent accident reconstruction experts to review the case.

Photo of Police Chasing a Drunk Driver

Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident

The state of Florida recognizes three types of damages in DUI accidents. Economic damages and non-economic damages are compensatory, while punitive damages are non-compensatory.

Economic Damages

These are the financial costs associated with every accident with injuries. They include items like your medical expenses, lost wages from work, and vehicle damage. In a wrongful death action, they also include funeral expenses and loss of financial support.

Non-Economic Damages

This covers the intangible costs of a DUI car accident, including physical pain, emotional anguish, reduced quality of life, and more. In a wrongful death case, non-economic damages include the pain and suffering of the decedent and their survivors.

Punitive Damages

As was previously stated, economic and non-economic damages are compensatory in nature. This means that you are owed compensation for your losses. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded to penalize the defendant. In a DUI accident case, you have a better chance of recovering punitive damages from the defendant than in an accident that doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs.

While there are no caps on economic and non-economic damages, Florida does have a cap for punitive damages. It’s the greater of $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages.

What to Do if You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver

Every accident is different, and a drunk driver adds an unpredictable element to the situation. If you are struck by an intoxicated driver, the following tips may help ensure your safety and potentially help your civil case:

  • Get to a place of safety – If you don’t feel safe at the accident scene — either because of road perils or because the other driver is behaving erratically, get to a safe position.
  • Call 911 – The dispatcher will need to know your location, direction of travel, vehicle descriptions, and apparent injuries. If you are able to convey that the other person may be intoxicated, do so. If the other driver is belligerent, let the dispatcher know so the police can accelerate their response.
  • Get the names and contact information of individuals who witnessed the accident or the drunken behavior of the other driver.
  • Take Photographs – You should try to capture the vehicles, the positions of the cars, property damage, and debris on the road. If you can see cans, bottles, or other evidence of alcohol in or around the other car, try to get a picture. Do not endanger yourself to obtain this evidence.
  • Allow the EMTs to Examine You – This will not hurt your case. In fact, if you have severe injuries, the police may opt to draw and test the blood of the other driver. The EMTs will be responsible for that, but they’ll only proceed if they know a party has been severely injured.
  • Don’t Accept a Settlement – If an insurance adjuster approaches you with a settlement offer, don’t accept it until you speak with attorney Senft. If you take the money, it will prevent you from going after additional damages.

Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

In 2020, there were 22,106 crashes in Palm Beach County, of which 12,832 involved injuries and 185 resulted in death. According to the FLHSMV, there were 265 alcohol-confirmed crashes, 9 alcohol-confirmed fatalities, and 171 alcohol-confirmed injuries.

Photo of a Man Drinking While Driving

Drunk Driving Accident FAQ

As a car accident lawyer, these are some of the most commonly asked questions attorney Senft hears at our Palm Beach County law firm:

Will my DUI accident go to court?

Most drunk driving accidents settle out of court because the insurance company knows that they have heightened exposure. However, court is always a possibility, so you’ll want to have a diligent personal injury lawyer on your side.

How long do I have to file an accident claim in Florida?

For most car accident cases, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the crash. For wrongful death cases, it’s two years from the date of death.

Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in Florida, you’re entitled to damages for your injuries. The Law Offices of Scott J. Senft will represent you on a contingency basis. Call today for a free consultation.

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Scott J. Senft - South Florida's Top Personal Injury Attorney

Was born in Brooklyn, NewYork. He received his Bachelor of Science from University of Florida in 1988 and his Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law in 1991.

For over 32 years, The Law Offices of Scott J Senft have served South Florida as one of the top personal injury law firms.  If you or a loved one has been involved in any type of accident, do not hesitate to reach out immediately.
What should I do if I was involved in a motor vehicle accident and have suffered injuries? 
If you have been involved in any type of accident, whether its a car, truck, pedestrian, or motorcycle accident, where an injury has occurred, do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us anytime of the day, including weekends. With decades of experience in this field, attorney Scott Jay Senft has a track-record of achieving incredibly favorable compensation on behalf of injured clients. Our goal is to return peace of mind by attaining compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more.  Contact one of South Florida's top auto accident lawyers today for a free consult.

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