We all know that drinking and driving is a dangerous decision. The laws against drinking and driving are harsh, and it is common knowledge that having a few drinks puts you at a huge risk for getting into an accident if you get behind the wheel.
Here’s something most people don’t think about, though: what happens if you driver after having a few drinks and another driver hits you?
What to Do at the Scene of the Accident
Even though Florida’s primary insurance coverage is “no-fault” insurance, it is always best to remain silent and hold back apologies for an accident.
If you have had a few drinks, this is even more important. Telling a police officer or someone else at the scene that you are sorry for the accident, or that you’ve been drinking, is inviting trouble.
Do this any you could not only face criminal penalties, but also seriously harm your ability to receive compensation because you can bet that the responsible driver will bring up your drinking in court as a way to blame you for the accident. Why is this important?
How Drinking and Driving Affects Comparative Negligence
Say the car accident is blatantly another driver’s fault. They were speeding. Or you had the right of way but they hit you because they were texting or ran a red light.
Most of the time, this would be an open-and-shut case. All you really need to do is tally up the damages and provide evidence of their wrongdoing. If you were drinking before the accident, though, everything changes due to Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws.
These laws aim to fairly assign fault after an accident, and compensate the plaintiff accordingly if they win their case. For example, if a driver takes another driver to court for $10,000, they may claim that the defendant’s speed caused the accident.
However, the defendant could argue that the plaintiff was not wearing a seatbelt, which caused them to suffered more injuries. Because of this, the judge might find the defendant 80% at fault for the accident, and the plaintiff 20% at fault.
If the plaintiff wins the case, they would only receive $8,000, or 80% of the damages that they asked for.
Now imagine that the defendant can prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. Most judges are likely to view this as a factor that influenced the accident because your decision-making and reaction time might not have been at their best.
Because of this, you are very likely to be found at least partially at fault, reducing the compensation that you need and deserve.
Defending Drinking and Driving in a Personal Injury Suit
In order to reduce your compensation, the defendant has to prove that you were guilty of drinking and driving. Just like drivers can defend themselves against DUI charges in criminal court, you can defend your actions to improve your chances at receiving the most possible compensation for the damages you’ve incurred.
Common defenses include against accusations of driving under the influence include faulty breathalyzers, prescribed medications that caused a false breathalyzer reading, or lack of evidence to prove that you were past the legal limit in the first place.
Even if you had a few drinks before someone else crashes into you, it is still possible to receive the compensation you deserve. However, it is wise to plan for the defendant to attack you in any way that they can. Because of this, you need to make sure you have a Florida auto accident lawyer by your side.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season. Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 [..]
In the height of prom season, across the country, local police and first responders work with surrounding schools, survivors, and other drunk driving prevention organizations to reenact realistic reminders of why teens in their communities shouldn’t drink and drive. One survivor in Illinois recounted his experience of being ejected through a car window after plowing [..]
Cycling is not only a convenient and healthy way to get around in Florida, but it’s widely accepted as an effective means of reducing congestion on the road and improving the quality of our environment. However, the relationship between drivers and cyclists in Florida has always been tinged with antagonism. Motorists often complain that cyclists [..]
We live in an animal-loving society. Most of us interact with pets on a daily basis (ours or others), and they are an important part of many people’s lives. However, it is vital to remember that all animals are, at their core, wild, and sometimes things go wrong. What happens when an animal bites someone? [..]
Just under a year ago, a Florida mother and her two toddlers suffered a fatal auto collision with an alligator in South Carolina. According to police, they struck the animal and skidded off the road, smashing into a tree. The vehicle burst into flames upon impact, killing all three. Unfortunately, if you live in Florida [..]
Although we often first think of losing control in the rain or taking a surprise backroads curve too sharply, but many Florida motorcycle accidents are actually caused by passenger cars. In a previous post, we shared that, at the time, four of the five most common motorcycle accidents involved a passenger vehicle, and a quick [..]
Buy a car? Need minimum liability required. Buy a house? Got to have a homeowners’ policy. Living and breathing? Government says you better have health coverage or else. So why does it seem then that those insurance companies that we hire and pay regular monthly premiums to continue to fight so hard against acting in [..]
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 [..]
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. [..]
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 [..]
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, [..]
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 [..]
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, [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
Car accidents can result in tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. How is it decided who will have to pay for these damages and bills? In Florida, it usually starts with personal injury protection (PIP). If you experience damages that add up to less than [..]
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.