Clearwater Drunk Driving & DUI Accident Attorney
Drunk driving is a serious problem everywhere, and Clearwater is by no means an exception. There were 33,625 driving under the influence (DUI) convictions in 2011 in the state of Florida, and fifteen percent occurred in the Clearwater-Tampa-St. Petersburg area in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. The dangers of drunk driving are indisputable. In 2009, there were 20,085 alcohol-related traffic accidents causing 14,130 injuries and 1,004 deaths.
Safe driving requires constant awareness of the environment and the ability to react quickly to a given situation. A drunk driver does not have the ability to react quickly or appropriately. With only a couple of drinks in one’s system, almost every faculty needed for safe driving is impaired to some degree, including:
- Information Processing
- Reaction Time
- Motor Skills
Sometimes a drunk driver will overreact to an otherwise minor event, slamming on the brakes, swerving into another lane, or briefly losing control of the steering and then overcompensating, sending the car off the road or into an oncoming lane. Accidents involving drunk drivers are therefore often particularly devastating, causing wrongful death or leaving the occupants of the vehicles with paralyzing spinal cord injuries.
If you were injured in an accident and the other driver was ticketed for DUI, that does not mean you can automatically recover compensation for your injuries. The burden is still on you to prove that the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence, and the insurance company lawyers may still try to convince the jury that your own negligence contributed to the accident as well. If they persuade the jury that you were even just a little bit at fault, then you will be prevented from recovering the full amount of compensation otherwise due to you. At Mike Walker Law, our experienced Clearwater car accident attorneys can help you today.
Liability of Bar Owners for Serving Drunk Drivers
Do the people who furnish the alcohol to a drunk driver bear any responsibility for the accident? Can a liquor store worker sell alcohol to a customer who drives to the store and is clearly already drunk? What if a bartender fails to “cut off” a customer who has clearly “had enough?”
The general rule in Florida is that a person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who later harms another in a crash is not liable for furnishing the alcohol. There are, however, limited exceptions. A person can be liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver when the person:
- willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor; or
- knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to alcohol
Even if such a person is liable in these circumstances, that does not necessarily absolve the drunk driver of his or her guilt and liability for the injuries caused as well. An experienced car accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the crash and work to hold all responsible parties accountable for their share of the blame.
Experienced Clearwater Car Accident Attorneys
At Mike Walker Law, our Clearwater car accident attorneys have the knowledge and expertise gained from years of experience negotiating and litigating successful personal injury settlements and verdicts for victims of Clearwater car accidents, including accidents caused by drunk drivers. Call 727-797-2020 for a consultation with one of our attorneys, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.