After an Accident with a Drunk Driver
Often, the most difficult types of car accidents to be involved in are those where the other party was driving while under the influence of alcohol. While all accidents are the result of a person’s carelessness, it can be especially hard to deal with the fact that injuries in a drunk driving accident happened because the defendant was being criminally reckless. Yet despite the stern punishments for drunk driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration still reports that almost one third of all traffic accident fatalities occur because of a drunk driver. Fortunately, there are steps people can take in order to avoid accidents with drunk drivers, and the law allows them to recover in case they are injured in an accident they could not avoid.
Avoiding Drunk Driving Accidents
Apart from ordinary safe driving practices, there are a few extra things that people can do to avoid an accident with a drunk driver. One of the most important things is to be able to identify possible drunk drivers out on the road. This can be done by watching for erratic driving behavior, such as swerving between lanes, rapid changes in speed, or stopping for no reason. Drivers who know they are drunk may also take extra care with their cars in an attempt to compensate, which results in their driving well below the speed limit. People should also make sure to be extra vigilant late at night or on major holidays because those are common times for people to be driving under the influence.
Once a person identifies a drunk driver, they should make sure to give them a wide berth. This usually means staying far back in order to have plenty of time to react to the driver’s mistakes. People should not attempt to pass the drunk driver, as the act of passing may actually cause a collision. Additionally, if the person who spots the driver can get identifying information about the vehicle, such as color, make, model, or a license plate number, then they can pull off the road and inform the police of a possible drunk driver, making the roads safer for everyone.
Recovering from the Unavoidable
However, even people driving carefully and watching for drunk drivers may not be able to avoid an accident. If that happens, the law allows people to recover a variety of damages from the driver, including their medical bills, lost wages, reduction in future earnings, emotional harms, and damage to property. Further, the law may allow the injured victim to recover from more than just the driver.
Florida, like many states, has a “dram shop act.” Dram shop acts are statutes passed by the legislature that make bars liable for the drunk driving accidents of their patrons in certain circumstances. Florida’s dram shop act applies in two situations. First, a bar may be liable if they serve alcohol to someone under the age of 21, and that person causes an accident. Second, if the bar knows the person to be a “habitual drinker,” then the company may also be liable.
Accidents with a drunk driver can have life-changing consequences. If you have been injured in such an accident, contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney at Pike & Lustig, LLP today.