At Fetterman & Associates, PA , we have a vast amount of experience in personal injury law involving those car accident victims who have been injured by someone convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). DUI includes those under the influence of drugs as well as those who are under the influence of alcohol or drunk.
Many times, we only think of drivers who are found to be DUI to have been consuming alcohol and/or taking illegal drugs. However, motor vehicle operators who are convicted of DUI may not have consumed either; they may be in their state due to the abuse of prescription drugs.
Whatever the case may be, if you have been victimized by someone operating under the influence (OUI) and your injuries are severe, you can sue them in civil court. For those who are convicted of OUI in Florida, the penalties are harsh, and for those who have caused another to suffer loss of property, injury, or death, the penalties are even more stringent.
Normally, any DUI conviction brings with it, at minimum, a suspension of one’s license and hefty fines. For those who cause property damage and/or physical injury, the penalties are worse.
Someone who causes property damage or physical injury while operating under the influence may also be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. Jail time for a conviction is up to one year in jail and levied fines can amount to $1,000. Those who cause serious bodily harm to someone when they are driving under the influence face a third degree felony charge, which carries a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
If a DUI driver kills someone in an accident, that driver faces a charge of DUI manslaughter, which is a second degree felony. Fines in such cases can reach $10,000, and the offender can be sentenced for up to 30 years in jail.
In the State of Florida, one of the rare times that a plaintiff may ask for punitive damages just based on the actions of someone else is in DUI accident cases. Thus, if the defendant in a civil suit involving a car accident has been proven to be DUI when the accident occurred, the court may grant punitive damages to the defendant after being requested to do so.
Although many insurance companies will not pay for punitive damages in personal injury cases where the insured has been DUI, the request and approval by the court of such damages helps to raise the stakes in the case and can result in the plaintiff being given a larger award.
An injury can be influenced by the granting of punitive damages due to the offender being DUI and may increase a plaintiff’s award in other areas, such as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering, which is open to interpretation and is awarded based on verbal evidence, is something that insurance companies do cover and cannot exclude in DUI cases.
If you have been the injury victim of a driver who was DUI, contact Fetterman & Associates, PA at (561)-845-2510. We will work toward getting all the compensation you deserve in settlement or present your case in court clearly and effectively and request that the court grant you the punitive damages that you deserve.
We are aggressive in personal injury cases involving the reckless behavior of someone who was DUI, and, as a result, caused a life-changing car accident to occur.
Remember, if you have been in a car accident in Florida and the driver was OUI, you have a strong case and possess a good chance of being granted a size-able award due to the driver’s negligence. This includes cases that result in serious injury or death.
West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA will dedicate themselves to making sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve after being injured by a drunk driver or someone under the influence of drugs. Contact us today, and we will start working for you immediately.