A person who commits a DUI and causes injuries or fatalities will usually face multiple legal problems. On one hand, the police and state attorneys will pursue a conviction a crime in criminal court. A criminal conviction of a DUI can help any civil action for personal injury. In criminal court, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person drove intoxicated. In civil court, however, the injured party only has to prove its case by the greater weight of the evidence (or, it was more likely than not). So, if a person is convicted of a DUI, this can be strong evidence in a civil case, since the burden of proof was much higher in the criminal case.
In a DUI injury situation, there are additional forms of damages that might be available to someone who files a claim against an intoxicated driver who caused injuries or fatalities.
Compensatory damages are usually available in most any personal injury case. Compensatory damages, as is obvious by the name, are to compensate the injured person or to make them as whole as possible. For example, these compensatory damages might include past lost wages, future lost wages, past medical bills, and future medical bills.
Non-economic damages are generally those that are difficult to quantify. The most common is called pain and suffering damages, and it is intended to compensate the person for the physical pain the person must endure due to the negligence of the defendant. Other non-economic damages include mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life. Mental anguish generally refers to any psychological issues that arise due to the injury, and loss of enjoyment of life refers to the life activities of a person that are affected by the injury.
Due to the reckless behavior involved with intoxicated drivers, many personal injury cases allow the person to go after punitive damages. Punitive damages are to punish the drunk driver and to provide some sort of award for a plaintiff who has suffered as a result of voluntarily reckless conduct on the part of the defendant.
Third Party Damages
When someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver in Florida, the at-fault driver may not be the only party who could be liable. Florida law allows for injured parties to sue bars and other drinking establishments as defendants under certain circumstances. These actions are usually called Dram Shop actions, and purpose of these laws is to hold these establishments accountable for serving alcohol to someone who clearly has already had too much to drink, or for serving minors
Injuries resulting from a DUI accident can become very complicated. If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of being harmed by a drunk driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.