Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys in Pensacola
Drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous practices a motorist can ever engage in. It is widely known that becoming intoxicated can significantly alter your state of mind and behavior, and when behind the wheel, this often means driving aggressively or recklessly. Excessive drinking can also make a driver drowsy, slowing reaction times and even causing them to fall asleep at the wheel. Despite years of public awareness campaigns that discourage this type of behavior, drunk driving is still all too common on our roadways.
Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) paint a very sobering picture of the effect drunk driving has on our society. The NHTSA reports that more than 10,000 individuals are killed each year because of intoxicated drivers. This averages out to approximately 30 people per day or one person every 48 minutes who dies in a drunk driving crash. In addition to all the lives that are lost, the economic costs of all this carnage top $44 billion annually.
Florida has seen a drop in drunk driving-related fatalities in recent years, but there are still more than 5,000 alcohol-related crashes each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths. And according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of adults in Florida who drive after drinking too much is still higher than the national average.
If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed because of the actions of a drunk driver, call the experienced attorneys at Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett for a free consultation and case assessment. The insurance company for the other driver will do everything possible to minimize the amount of compensation they pay you, and you need a skilled advocate in your corner fighting hard to protect your rights and interests.
At Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett, we have several decades of experience successfully representing clients who have been injured in drunk driving accidents, and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Florida. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we have a proven track record with even the most complex cases. We have been highly acclaimed not only for our experience and skill, but also our dedication to the well-being of our clients.
We work closely with our clients, providing strong legal guidance and moral support during some of the most difficult times in their lives. We treat our clients with the dignity and respect, and we give every case the full attention it deserves, regardless of how big or small. We are also highly responsive to our clients’ needs, and we are always available whenever you need to reach out to us with questions or concerns.
Florida Drunk Driving Laws
Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense under Florida law. Most adult motorists can be legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, this is commonly known as DUI “per se”. But even if a motorist is under the legal limit, they could still be charge for DUI if they are impaired to the point of being unable to safely operate a vehicle. In addition, the legal limit for those operating commercial vehicles in Florida is only .04 BAC.
Individuals who are convicted for DUI can face very stiff penalties. These may include hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines, community service, alcohol treatment, probation, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time. When there are aggravated circumstances, such as multiple DUI convictions or a DUI accident with serious bodily injuries or fatalities, penalties may be enhanced.
Although there are harsh consequences for those who are convicted for drunk driving, they pale in comparison to the damage inflicted upon individuals who are seriously or fatally injured because of their actions. And unfortunately, a criminal conviction for DUI does nothing to compensate injury victims. In order to receive the full and fair compensation you deserve, you must file a separate civil claim, which is typically done through the responsible driver’s insurance company or by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages from Drunk Driving Accident Claims in Florida
Those who are injured in DUI accidents can seek damages for both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages are direct monetary losses incurred by the victim, such as property damage, hospital bills, costs for surgeries and other types of medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and funeral and burial costs. Noneconomic damages are for losses that are intangible and more difficult to quantify. These may include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, permanent disability, and loss of comfort, care, guidance, and support.
In rarer cases in which the actions of the party responsible for a personal injury were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded as punishment for the wrongdoing and to help discourage similar behaviors in the future. In most auto accident cases, punitive damages are difficult to recover, because you must show that the responsible party acted willfully, wantonly, or maliciously in causing the injury. With drunk driving accident cases, however, this category of damages may be more attainable.
It is important to note that just because a driver was drunk at the time you were involved in a collision with them, this does not necessarily mean they will be found fully at fault for the accident. The other side may argue that you were at least partially responsible, which could cause your compensation to be reduced under Florida’s comparative negligence laws. This is one of many reasons it is very important to get an attorney involved as soon as possible after the accident. Retaining strong legal counsel early on helps ensure that critical pieces of evidence are preserved, putting you in the best possible position to recover maximum compensation.
Contact a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Florida
At Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett, we understand that getting injured in an auto accident can take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and we work hard to make the legal process as smooth and stress-free as possible. We handle your entire claim from start to finish and we take care of all the complex legal tasks, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed at the hands of a distracted driver, contact a Fort Walton Beach or Pensacola lawyer at Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett to schedule your free consultation. Call our office today at 850-500-1111 or message us through our online contact form. You may also stop by our office in person at your convenience, or we will come to you.