Legal Guidance for Injured Individuals in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is the county seat of Palm Beach County in Florida. In 2010, there were 1,561 DUI convictions in the county. In spite of substantial campaigns against drunk driving, it remains a problem in Florida. If a drunk driver harms you, you may be concerned about how you will pay for your hospital bills and prescription drugs, and whether you can get time off work. At Anidjar & Levine, our car accident attorneys can help victims of drunk drivers in West Palm Beach pursue damages.
Seeking Compensation from a Drunk Driver
In Florida, you can sue a drunk driver for personal injuries or wrongful death if he or she caused an accident. Since DUI is a crime in Florida, you may be able to hold the driver accountable under a theory of negligence per se. Under this cause of action, a defendant can potentially be liable for injuries if he or she violated a law intended to protect a particular class of people, the plaintiff is a member of that class, and the plaintiff suffered injuries of a type that the law was designed to protect against.
Someone is guilty of drunk driving if he or she was operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more, or when his or her faculties were impaired. If a drunk driver who injured you has been convicted of DUI, he or she likely will be considered negligent as a matter of law without you having to prove duty or breach of duty, as required when suing under a theory of negligence. Even if a drunk driver is not convicted, you should be aware that there is a lower standard of proof in civil cases. A drunk driver could escape a conviction under criminal law and still be held accountable for damages in civil court.
Florida has a dram shop law. You can try to hold an establishment accountable for injuries caused by a drunk driver if the establishment intentionally sold or gave alcohol to a driver under age 21, or if the establishment knowingly served alcohol to someone habitually addicted to alcohol. Unlike other states with dram shop laws, there is no social host liability, nor any liability for serving alcohol to someone who appears intoxicated.
Suppose, for example, that someone is a regular at a particular bar across town from the defendant’s house where her friend is a bartender. Even though her friend knows she is an alcoholic, she serves her multiple drinks. The defendant then gets in her car and crashes into you, causing catastrophic injuries. You can potentially sue the driver on a theory of negligence per se and also sue the bar for dram shop liability.
What damages can you recover for a DUI car accident? These often include compensatory damages like medical bills, lost income, loss of earning capacity, vocational rehabilitation, loss of enjoyment, and pain and suffering. It may be appropriate in a drunk driving case to seek punitive damages as well.
Explore Your Options with a West Palm Beach Attorney after a Car Accident
If you have been hurt by a drunk driver in West Palm Beach or the surrounding communities, the injury lawyers at Anidjar & Levine may be able to represent you in a civil lawsuit for damages arising out of the accident. Contact us for a free consultation at 800-747-3733 or via our online form. We also represent clients in cities throughout Palm Beach County, including Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Boca Raton, and Royal Palm Beach.