No one plans on being involved in an auto accident. That is the reason why they are called accidents. However, the act of consuming alcoholic drinks and then endangering the lives of others by getting behind the wheel of a car is no accident. It is an intentional act.
Florida law holds that an intoxicated driver who causes a car accident is an intentional act and punitive damages may be assessed due to the lack of indifference to another person’s legal rights.
Punitive damages are awarded as a punishment to the at-fault person and a warning to deter others from committing the same acts in the future. The amount of the punitive damages depends on the facts of each case and is in the sole discretion of the jury.
In the civil trial for the personal injuries sustained or wrongful death caused by the drunk driving collision, there are many crucial pieces of evidence that will be presented to the jury in determining the amount of punitive damages awarded against the intoxicated driver.
At trial, the jury will likely learn the following pieces of evidence:
(1) The results of the blood and/or breath alcohol tests,
(2) The intoxicated driver’s plea of guilty in the criminal case,
(3) How many alcoholic drinks the intoxicated driver consumed in the twelve hours prior to the collision,
(4) Witness testimony as to the intoxicated driver’s physical condition prior to the collision,
(5) Ability to watch the videotape of the field sobriety test administered by the law enforcement officer after the collision, if available, and
(6) The speed and force of the drunk driver’s vehicle at the moment of impact.
Unfortunately drunk driving collisions occur all too often. Repercussions for the victims of drunk driving collisions can last a lifetime in the form of permanent personal injuries and even the wrongful death of a loved one.
It is important that you speak with a Tampa injury attorney immediately following the collision to ensure that your claim is established correctly and that the evidence is preserved for the trial of your case.
The lawyers at Bulluck Law Group have years of experience helping the victims of drunk drivers collect compensation for their auto accident claims.
If you have been the victim of an auto collision caused by a drunk driver and wish to know your rights, please contact Tampa auto accident attorney, David M. Bulluck, to schedule a free initial consultation at www.BulluckLawGroup.com or (813) 988-7800.
To learn more about car accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Car Accident Victims.