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Impaired motorists are major threats to the public. They are at an increased risk of causing an accident due to the negative impact drugs or alcohol have on their ability to safely operate their vehicles. Drunk drivers nationwide cause about 35 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents because alcohol slows their thinking, coordination, and reaction time. Getting hit by a drunk driver can produce devastating injuries that can completely upend your life.

If you have been hurt in one of these incidents, the dedicated car accident attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can help you hold the at-fault party responsible. A successful civil lawsuit can provide you with the financial resources you need to cover your medical bills and compensation for your physical and emotional pain. Before you consider a settlement offer, it is in your best interest to speak with a Miramar Beach drunk driving car accident lawyer at our firm.

Drunk Driving Laws

Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is unlawful in every state. Each jurisdiction determines how they regulate a drunk driving offense.

Under Florida Statutes § 316.193, any person who is high on drugs, impairs their driving, or consumes alcoholic beverages and has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 is driving drunk, which is a crime. If a drunk driver causes an accident in Miramar Beach, those injured have the right to sue and be compensated for physical, financial, and emotional losses.

Statute of Limitations for Filing an Injury Claim

There is a limit to the amount of time a plaintiff can take to file a general negligence action against a defendant, such as a drunk driver who causes a car crash in Miramar Beach. The statute of limitations is two years from the date the action accrues, which would be the date of a drunk driving accident. An experienced lawyer can keep track of all relevant deadlines on the plaintiff’s behalf.

Establishing Negligence

If a Miramar Beach drunk driving car accident attorney takes on your case, their primary role is to prove the four elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

All motorists have a duty to those they share the road with to behave in a reasonable manner. A breach of that duty occurs when the offending person’s behavior is unreasonable, such as driving drunk. When that behavior foreseeably causes an accident and the plaintiff is injured, negligence is established.

Negligence Per Se

Impairment is a common example of negligent behavior. Substances reduce a driver’s reaction time and can result in irrational decision-making behind the wheel. A drunk driver who hits another motorist and injures them is presumed negligent under Fla. Stat. § 316.193.

Florida simplifies a plaintiff’s burden to establish the defendant’s negligence under the doctrine of negligence per se. This means if the driver was drunk, they can be automatically considered negligent for any injuries that followed. However, BAC test results will not always be available. Some drivers may refuse to take the test, while others may have it thrown out in their criminal trial on constitutional grounds.

Either way, you still have the ability to pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Civil cases are not held to the same standard as prosecutions. This means that a legal professional can file a lawsuit and recover damages on your behalf even if the other party was never convicted of DUI.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Sometimes accidents happen because both parties involved have done something wrong. In the past, Florida had a pure comparative negligence law, in which a plaintiff found more responsible for an accident could still recover a damages award, reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. Now, Florida House Bill 837, signed into law on March 24, 2023, has changed the doctrine under which plaintiffs who have some responsibility for an accident can collect compensation. The new modified comparative negligence statute disallows any recovery by a plaintiff found more than 50 percent at fault for an accident.

What Is the Average Value of a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement?

It is understandable to wonder about the average settlement amounts in cases involving intoxicated drivers, but that information is not easy to come by. As a car injury lawyer in Miramar Beach can explain, the details of most drunk driving agreements are never made public, and there is no single location to search publicly available data. The good news is that you do not necessarily need this data to determine your possible recovery amount.

After reviewing the evidence in your case, our attorneys can highlight the types of compensation you are entitled to recover, such as:

  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship
  • Past and future medical bills

Our team of professionals at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can help you seek an array of damages depending on your circumstances.

Learn How a Miramar Beach Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Advocates for You

Experiencing an injury at the hands of an impaired motorist can be frustrating, especially given that such collisions are often preventable. You deserve fair compensation from the negligent party responsible for your suffering.

Let Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon advocate for you during this crucial time. Contact a Miramar Beach drunk driving car accident lawyer today to schedule a consultation.