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Recovering Damages in an Accident with a Drunk Driver
Experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the actions of a drunk driver, then Florida law may entitle you to significant damages. Oftentimes, however, injured plaintiffs may not realize the unique issues and potential of a drunk driving accident case.
Let’s take a closer look.
Negligence Per Se
In Florida, defendant-drivers who violate certain laws (such as drunk driving regulations) may be deemed “negligent per se.” In other words, they may be automatically determined to have engaged in misconduct.
This is quite useful from a strategic perspective.
Normally, to prove the defendant’s wrongdoing, you would have to show that the defendant-driver was acting in such a way that they were violating the reasonable standard of care for the situation at hand. This can be somewhat challenging. If you can establish “negligence per se,” however, then the wrongdoing is assumed.
Drunk driving is a violation of the law that is generally considered “negligence per se” — as an injured plaintiff, you need only prove that the defendant caused you to suffer harm. This makes it significantly easier to establish liability and secure damages.
Punitive Damages Potential
Drunk driving accidents that involve particularly egregious misconduct (i.e., a person knows that they are going to have to drive later but decides to consume many drinks to the point of becoming blackout drunk) may give rise to punitive damages. Though punitive damages are infrequently awarded, they can lead to rather significant damage awards.
Punitive damages work as a multiplier on the amount of compensatory damages. For example, if you have been injured and suffered damages totaling $100,000, then the punitive damages multiplier may be up to seven times that amount — $700,000 — for a total recovery of $800,000.
Given the potentially enormous recovery available through punitive damages, it is worth exploring such damages when made possible by the facts of the case. Generally, the more egregious the defendant’s conduct, the more likely punitive damages will be awarded — if at the time of the accident, the defendant-driver has a history of intoxicated driving and was illegally driving while his license was suspended (and again, while intoxicated), then that conduct may be sufficiently egregious to justify punitive damages.
Contact Alley, Clark & Greiwe for Legal Assistance
Here at Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our attorneys have decades of experience working with injured car accident plaintiffs, helping them secure damages in challenging disputes, including those involving drunk driving defendants.
We understand that every case is different. As such, we work closely with our clients to ensure that we gain insight into the particular facts of their case, and how best to litigate their case in an effective manner, personalized to the factual/legal circumstances — this approach helps us achieve favorable results.