Drunk driving accidents almost always have severe consequences. Death, serious injuries, and significant property damage are common in the event of an alcohol related wreck. In fact, the state of Florida has one of the highest rates of DUI accidents, and these rates are even higher in urban beach communities like Daytona.
Accordingly, advocates like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have lobbied for higher criminal penalties across the state, and Florida has some of the harshest in the nation. The civil side of the justice system has followed suit, and potential recoveries in these incidents can be higher than in other types of accidents. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries from a drunk driving accident you may be entitled to recover significant compensation from responsible parties.
The process for being compensated from losses after a drunk driving accident is similar to that in non-drinking auto accidents. And like any crash where a reckless driver caused significant damages, representatives of the at-fault driver will often offer quick settlements.
Insurance companies understand the increased liability of their clients in DUI accidents, and they want to avoid an investigation that might force them to pay more money to the injured. Indeed, the facts of these cases may indicate extremely negligent behavior, both by the driver and possibly by establishments that were serving the driver as well.
Dram Shop Laws
Most states, including Florida, hold alcohol-serving establishments responsible for the actions of their guests in certain circumstances, under the so called dram shop laws. A dram is a small unit of liquid, and traditionally, stores that sold alcoholic spirits came to be known as dram shops.
Today, any establishment – such as a bar, nightclub, restaurant, or hotel – that serves alcohol to a minor or someone knowingly abusing alcohol, might be subject to liability for accidents caused by that guest. Thus, these places often secure specific liability policies to cover them in the case of accidents.
Private parties can also be subject to liability under the dram shop statute, and certain insurance policies they carry can be used to help cover victims’ losses. Liability is often difficult to prove in these cases, but where a restaurant or bar violated the statute and was a contributing factor in the cause of the wreck, it should be investigated.
Bar owners and their insurance companies usually will not volunteer to compensate victims until they become the subjects of a lawsuit. Meanwhile, criminal prosecutions typically focus on the parties directly responsible – the drunk drivers. So in order to recover from all parties responsible, the resources of a local law firm that is experienced in investigating accident and injury cases will be necessary.
Drunk driving is a serious crime and most cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You should be allowed to recover to the fullest extent possible from your injuries when you are the victim in drunk driving accident. You can call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form below for a free case evaluation. Get the compensation you deserve.