A car accident occurred in Sarasota early last week, and as a result a 21-year-old man is in critical condition. According to a report by one Florida newspaper, the man was driving on Tuttle Avenue at approximately 12:45 in the morning on Tuesday, November 18. Another individual was driving south on Tuttle Avenue when, apparently, the victim was about to enter Siesta Circle as the other vehicle began to turn. It then exited the road and crashed into the median. Unfortunately, his car then proceeded to hit a light pole.
The victim was driven to Blake Medical Center in Florida shortly after the accident, and he remains in critical condition. An initial investigation has revealed that the victim may have been under the influence of alcohol.
Liability in Florida Drunk Driving Cases
In Florida, if you have been injured as a result of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Although ordinary negligence is a common personal injury theory of liability, when drunk driving was the negligent behavior the theory of liability may fall under negligence per se.
To establish negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a standard duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, that the breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, and that he or she incurred actual damages. However, in a case where the defendant was convicted of a DUI, the most relevant theory of liability may be negligence per se.
Negligence per se in regard to a drunk driving accident is the concept that if a defendant is convicted of DUI, he or she will be presumed to have breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, assuming that the plaintiff was in the class of persons that the law was designed to protect. This prong is often met because the plaintiff in most cases is another driver, passenger, or pedestrian. Negligence per se lessens the burden on the plaintiff because the plaintiff no longer needs to prove the first two prongs of the negligence analysis, which are presumed under the legal theory of negligence per se.
Dram Shop Laws in Florida
In some cases, the defendant will not be able to pay the judgment, and he or she may not have insurance to cover the costs either. In these situations, Florida law allows the plaintiff to sue the establishment or person that provided the alcohol to the defendant. The plaintiff would need to prove that the establishment or person continued to serve the defendant alcohol even though it knew or should have known that the person was intoxicated.
Have You Been in a Car Accident Because of the Negligence of Another?
The Dean Law Firm in Ocala is comprised of attorneys who have a significant amount of experience in settling and litigating personal injury cases all around Central Florida. To increase your chances of success, it is crucial that you contact one of our dedicated attorneys. Negligence cases can be complex and take a significant amount of strategic planning, so an attorney during these proceedings is indispensable. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your past medical bills, future medical expenses, and other damages related to your injuries. Contact our office today at 352-387-8700 to schedule a free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Helicopter Crash Results in $16 Million Verdict, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 3, 2014.
Tampa City Truck Driver Kills Toddler in Accident, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 12, 2014.