Drunk Driving Accidents

Car Crash Lawyers Assisting Individuals in the Stuart Area

Driving with beer bottle on one handDespite legislative efforts to increase the penalties for driving under the influence, this dangerous behavior is still one of the leading causes of automobile accidents in Florida and across the nation. Serious injuries and tragic deaths can result from an accident in which a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you or a family member has been involved in a DUI crash in Stuart or the surrounding area, the car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston can help you explore your options.

Pursuing Compensation from a Drunk Driver

Under Florida Statutes § 316.193, an individual may be found guilty of driving under the influence if he or she has a blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08% or above. (There is a lower limit for drivers under 21.) Florida statutory law also prohibits people from operating motor vehicles while under the influence of chemical substances or controlled substances.

Although the criminal justice system may require an offender to make some form of restitution as part of his or her punishment, the main method of recovering compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident is through a negligence lawsuit in civil court. Most negligence lawsuits have four basic requirements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The first requirement – showing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care – can usually be met through reference to the general rules of the road that require drivers to keep a proper lookout and exercise an appropriate amount of caution.

Proof that a defendant was under the influence at the time of the accident likely will show a breach of the duty of due care. The link of causation means that the victim would not have been hurt if the defendant had not breached the duty of care by driving drunk. Compensatory damages may consist of both economic and non-economic costs and losses, ranging from lost income and property damage to medical bills, the costs of future treatment, and pain and suffering.

In addition to seeking compensatory damages through a negligence lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash, it may be possible for an injured plaintiff or the family of a deceased accident victim to make additional claims. For example, punitive damages may be appropriate when a defendant has acted particularly egregiously. The employer of a drunk driver who was acting in the course and scope of his or her job duties at the time of the accident also may be held liable under a theory of vicarious liability.

All personal injury lawsuits, including those arising from drunk driving accidents, are subject to a statute of limitations. This rule sets the outer time limit for filing a lawsuit, after which a potential claim will usually be dismissed on procedural grounds. Attorneys also need time to properly investigate an accident before filing a case, so it is best to consult a knowledgeable Stuart car crash lawyer as soon as possible after you have been hurt.

Contact an Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Collision in Stuart or Beyond

Many people suffer permanent, life-changing harm because someone else made a foolish decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you or a loved one has been involved in one of these devastating accidents, you may have legal rights to assert. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers are dedicated to assisting Stuart residents and other car crash victims. Call Donaldson & Weston at (772) 266-5555 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We also represent people in Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter, as well as other cities throughout St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties.

Testimonials
★★★★★
“The attorneys at Donaldson & Weston helped me get an amazing result on my case. Obviously I’ve been through a lot physically but I feel better now and the money really helped my family. When I was riding my bicycle I was hit by a truck that wasn't paying attention. I am not the suing type, but I would definitely hire this firm again.”
MP
★★★★★
“After my accident, i felt like I was being pulled in a bunch of different directions. I really didn't know what to do and all I wanted was someone to shoot me straight. The lawyers at the firm were so honest and definitely pointed me in the right direction. The staff was professional. I think it’s great that only attorneys work on my case, it definitely made me feel comfortable”
DL
★★★★★
“After my accident happened I waited to hear back from the insurance company for about 6 months. I just felt like they kept jerking me around. They even told me not to hire an attorney because it would mean less money in my pocket. I couldn't wait any longer because my bills were out of hand. I hired this firm and they were solid. I got a great result without having to go to court.”
SC