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Collisions between motor vehicles are a leading source of personal injuries in the Delray Beach area. Choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol only increases the chances of causing preventable accidents. Unfortunately, our auto accident attorneys know all too well that drunk drivers continue to cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries.

While drunk driving is against the law, proving another driver was drunk behind the wheel is not definitive proof of total liability in a civil claim. Defendants may argue that you contributed to causing or worsening your injuries. A Delray Beach drunk driving accident lawyer could help pursue a civil demand for compensation that leaves no doubt concerning another’s fault.

Connecting a Drunk Driving Incident to a Civil Demand for Compensation

Pursuant to Florida Statute § 316.193, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. A criminal DUI case is a matter of the State punishing people who violate the criminal code. Even if a defendant causes serious harm, a criminal court cannot order a drunk driver to provide civil compensation to accident survivors. A criminal court could award restitution to an injured party but this normally is minimal. Injured parties should pursue a civil case for compensation that is separate from the criminal case. Successfully pursuing a civil injury claim means proving the driver was drunk behind the wheel and caused a crash that inflicted direct harm to others.

A guilty verdict or plea deal in criminal court can be helpful in a civil demand for compensation. Res judicata is a legal concept meaning that a party cannot dispute a fact that has already been decided. If a driver is convicted of a DUI charge, they cannot dispute whether they were drunk behind the wheel in the related civil case. A Delray Beach drunk driving accident attorney could help leverage a criminal DUI conviction into a powerful demand for compensation in a civil injury claim.

Potential Challenges in Drunk Driving Cases

All accident cases in Delray Beach are subject to the idea of comparative negligence. Even if it is clear that a defendant was drunk behind the wheel, the defendant’s attorney may argue that an injured party was also acting carelessly and contributed to the incident. For example, a defendant could introduce evidence that another driver was using their cell phone, failed to signal a turn, or speeding at the time of the crash. If a court assigns the victim a portion of the blame for a crash, they will reduce this percentage of fault from the total available compensation. Potential plaintiffs should retain seasoned legal counsel to represent them during these proceedings and dispute claims of shared fault.

Another obstacle for injured parties seeking compensation from drunk drivers is the statute of limitations. While Fla. Stat. § 95.11 says that victims of accidents must bring a case to court no more than four years after their accident, as of March 2023, this deadline to just two years. Failing to take legal action within this timeframe may lead to courts dismissing a case entirely. A Delray Beach attorney could provide guidance on steps to take after a drunk driving accident and help overcome legal obstacles along the way.

Let a Delray Beach Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Pursue Your Case

It is an unfortunate fact that people continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When a drunk driver causes a crash where you or a loved one suffer harm, you deserve justice.

A Delray Beach drunk driving accident lawyer can work to show how another driver’s intoxication led to your losses and demand fair compensation from those drivers and their insurance companies. Call Aronberg & Aronberg, Injury Law Firm today to get started.