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Who Is Liable In A DUI Car Accident?

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Even a single drink can be too many when a person gets behind the wheel. Drunk driving car accidents cause thousands of injuries and many deaths in Florida and throughout the country every year. One of the more important aspects of a personal injury claim after this type of crash is identifying every party that may be liable in the case in order to ensure that injury victims are fully compensated for their claims. At Earhart Law, our experienced Delray Beach personal injury lawyers are here to help you after a DUI crash. To learn more, call or contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Driver Liability

The most obvious party that can be held liable after a drunk driving car accident is the intoxicated driver. This is known as first party liability, and in Florida the personal injury protection (PIP) will kick in for injury victims first. Once PIP is depleted, a victim can seek additional compensation from the drunk driver’s auto insurance policy. Proof of a driver’s intoxication can be shown with the following evidence:

  • Reconstructing the driver’s schedule in the hours leading up to the accident,
  • Physical symptoms of intoxication, including bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, etc.
  • Witness testimony of erratic driving prior to the crash,
  • The driver’s admission of alcohol consumption before the accident,
  • A failed field sobriety test, and
  • A failed chemical test, such as a blood or urine test.

If the driver’s auto policy is not enough to cover an injury victim’s claim, there may be others who share in the responsibility for the accident that could also be held liable after a crash.

Third Party Liability

Known as third party liability, other entities may share in the responsibility for an accident if a drunk driver causes a crash. Dram shop laws in Florida hold restaurants, bars, saloons, and other commercial establishments partially liable for drunk driving accidents if the following applies:

  • The establishment served alcohol to a person under 21 years old, or
  • The establishment served alcohol to a person who is clearly already intoxicated, and
  • The consumption of that alcohol led directly to the drunk driving accident.

Holding these establishments liable for DUI car accidents ensures that the victims are fully compensated for their injuries and that everyone who contributed to the crash are held responsible for their part in the accident.

Injuries Caused by a DUI Car Accident

Because an intoxicated driver has impaired judgment and lacks the cognitive awareness of a sober driver, DUI car accidents often happen at higher speeds, with more direct impact, and result in more catastrophic injuries for victims. Some of the most common injuries reported after drunk driving accidents include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Facial trauma
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputation injuries
  • Multiple, complex bone fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Severe lacerations and burns
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Death

Call or Contact Our Office Today

If you or a loved one was hurt by a drunk driver in the Delray Beach area, the experienced lawyers at Earnhart Law are here to help. Call or contact the office today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

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