When it comes to drunk driving, no one is immune to the consequences of the crime – including law enforcement officers themselves.
A few weeks ago, Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Clayton Sperring was leaving a parking lot when he hit a vehicle. Twice. He left the scene without stopping to examine the vehicle’s damage or talk to anyone who owned the vehicle.
Sperring was shortly pulled over and officers noticed that he smelled like alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot. They asked Sperring to submit to DUI tests, but the Sheriff’s Deputy refused to perform any field sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer.
Sperring was then arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He is currently on administrative leave and Alachua County is performing an internal investigation into the incident.
Justice for All… Even If the Guilty Party Has a Badge
No matter who you are, or who is involved in your auto accident, Florida is committed to cracking down on DUI and getting justice for victims. There are two types of cases that victims can become involved in to get that justice: criminal cases and civil cases.
Though state prosecutors handle criminal DUI cases, as a victim you may be asked to testify about what happened to make it more likely that the person on trial will be found guilty.
Civil cases are far more hands-on for victims. Rather than the State of Florida filing a civil claim on your behalf, it is all up to you and your representative. You must decide to bring the lawsuit. You must gather and present the evidence proving that the other party is at fault. And the end result involves no criminal penalties. Instead, civil cases are about getting those who cause harm to compensate the victims of their actions.
Florida civil courts also have a lower standard than criminal courts to prove negligence and responsibility. For example, if you are hit by a drunk driver, you do not even have to prove that the driver in question was under the influence. All you and your lawyer must show is that the driver was likely under the influence. This, or any other evidence of driver negligence, is all you need to show that you deserve compensation for your accident.
Proving Driver Negligence
Any act that is unlawful behind the wheel, or prevents the driver from fulfilling the duties of being a safe driver, is considered negligent. Beyond driving under the influence, the following actions may qualify as “driver negligence”:
Failing to cooperate with other drivers or law enforcement
This is why it is so important for victims to collect a lot of information about the car accident and the circumstances around it. Witness testimonies, the damage done to both cars, and any evidence around the scene of the accident (cell phones or food around the driver’s seat, the speed limit in the area where the crash occurred) can help prove that the driver was negligent while behind the wheel.
Of course, even if you think that you have gathered all the evidence that you need to win your claim, your best bet at a positive outcome is to have a Florida personal injury lawyer by your side. Because they have helped many people just like you before, they have a far better understanding of what you need to do to prove your case and win the compensation you deserve. They’ll ask questions you didn’t think about, and have ready answers for anything the defendant’s attorney attempts to use to protect their client or attack you.
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Although parking lot crashes are rarely high-speed, they do happen – a lot of them. Moreover, parking lot accidents often result in expensive repair bills and insurance increases. A parking lot crash can also cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially if pedestrians are involved. Below we’re going to break down how parking lot auto [..]
Consumer products regulations ensure that most products on the market are safe for their intended use. However, some consumer products companies push the boundaries of regulations or cut corners in the design or manufacturing process, which can lead to dangerous defective products reaching US consumers. When consumers are injured by a defective product, it may [..]
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence, and it can take many different forms. For example, it may be based on a negligent action that the doctor took, or conversely, on something the doctor failed to do. However, in order to successfully hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice, you must be able [..]
Florida policyholders purchase insurance and pay premiums with the understanding that – should disaster strike – their insurer will pay out damages to compensate for losses covered in the policy. That’s the whole point of insurance! Paying out covered damages is considered to be acting in good faith on the part of the insurance company. [..]
As your teen approaches their 15th birthday, they have an exciting opportunity – the ability to get their learner’s permit. The Florida learner’s permit allows residents to start the journey toward driving – and freedom! However, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman (say it with us), “With great power comes great responsibility.” [..]
As a parent, you care about your child and you look out for their well-being. However, you may not be aware of which types of injuries occur the most often for Florida kids, and that’s something that can be the difference between avoiding an accident and spending time in the hospital. Children are treated every [..]
The holidays are just around the corner, and many Floridians are looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with colorful decorations and fun family activities. However, the holidays also carry an increased risk of many kinds of injuries. On their own, holiday decorations are responsible for about 15,000 injuries annually. You probably know to [..]
Not sure which car seat is right for your child? You have an important job as a parent—providing a safe experience for your child while he or she is riding in a vehicle. Thousands of children are injured or killed in Florida car crashes each year, and the right car seat can protect your child [..]
Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. You want to jump. You want to scream. You want to be nervous about turning the next corner. What do you not want? To get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Michigan woman in 2014. She visited the haunted house as a patron, and a moving [..]
Every day, Florida pedestrians are injured by car drivers. Some injuries are minor, yet some can be life-threatening. In this post, we’ll tell you the types of injuries you can expect if you get hit by a car, and what you can do to fight back and get the compensation you need and deserve. Stats [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
The recent death of a Tampa couple is an example of what might have been a potential product liability lawsuit had they lived. On Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and Michelle Livingston were traveling home from a visit to south Florida. Reports indicate that their sport utility vehicle drove into the waters of a canal along [..]
This law firm helped me with my car accident case and helped me to get the most of the medical benefits that were needed after the accident, and gave me fair and helpful expectations on what I would recieve back for the pain and suffering after the accident.