Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Who Can I Sue if I’m Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?

Drunk drivers not only take their own lives in their hands when they get behind the wheel after having too much to drink but the lives of others, too. When a drunk driver loses control of their vehicle and causes an accident, the damages to the other driver, and any passengers, can be significant.

If a drunk driver hits you in Florida and you suffer serious injuries as a result, you have the right to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit. The following considers who you may be able to sue if you are injured in a drunk driving accident:

The Drunk Driver

Clearly, the most obviously liable party in a drunk driving accident case that results in injuries is the drunk driver themselves. Not only may the driver face criminal penalties for their actions, but civil penalties as well. In order to hold the driver liable, you will need to prove their negligence. Remember, negligence doesn’t just mean a violation of a law or statute (i.e having a blood alcohol concentration - BAC - over .08 percent), but the failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care. This means that even if the driver’s BAC was below .08 percent but above 0.0 percent, you may still have a case for impairment and therefore negligence.

The Parents of a Drunk Teen Driver/Owner of the Vehicle that Hit You

If the drunk driver who hit you was a teen, you may be able to hold their parents liable for your damages. Further, you may be able to hold the owner of the vehicle - if it was a party other than the drunk driver - liable. Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine holds that the owner of an “inherently dangerous” tool, such as a vehicle, is liable for any injuries caused by that tool. For teen drivers, parents can be held legally liable for their teen’s actions until that teen is 18.

The Person Who Provided the Alcohol to the Drunk Driver

While dram shop laws rarely apply in Florida, the person who sells or furnished alcohol to a person who then causes an accident based on intoxication may be held liable if:

  • The person who sold/gave the alcohol did so knowing that the recipient was not of legal drinking age; or
  • The person who sold/gave the alcohol did so knowing that the recipient was “habitually addicted” to alcohol.

Helping You to Recover Your Full Compensation Amount

If you are injured by a drunk driving, our experienced Clearwater drunk driving accident attorneys want to help you get every penny you deserve. We will investigate your case to determine who’s to blame and how much money you should be compensated with. Call us today to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765