Jensen Beach Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

If you get hurt in a collision with an impaired motorist, it is reasonable to assume that he or she will be liable for 100 percent of the damages that result. Depending on the circumstances, though, there may be other parties who are considered legally responsible for the crash, as well.

Florida is one of 42 states that has dram shop laws. These laws impose liability on individuals and establishments that provide or sell alcohol in certain scenarios. The dram shop law in Florida is fairly limited in both its scope and application, but it is still possible to sue bars, restaurants, and even social hosts for damages incurred in a drunk driving accident.

If you sustained serious injuries in a collision with an impaired motorist, contact the Jensen Beach drunk driving accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston. We will review the details of your case to determine who may be liable and then help you gather the evidence needed to prove both fault and damages. Call 772-266-5555 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our strategic personal injury attorneys.

How Could Florida’s Dram Shop Laws Affect an Accident Claim?

Florida’s dram shop laws could apply to your personal injury claim if the motorist who caused the accident was younger than 21 or suffered from alcoholism. Pursuant to Florida Statutes section 768.125, third-party individuals and establishments can be liable for damages that result from intoxication if they willfully and unlawfully sell or furnish alcohol to someone who is younger than 21 or if they knowingly serve someone who is habitually addicted to alcohol.

In cases involving impaired motorists who are underage, strict liability applies to the party who served the driver prior to the accident. That means the bar, restaurant, or social host is responsible for any damages regardless of whether they knew the individual was under the legal drinking age.

Additionally, when patrons have a known history of alcoholism, the court considers serving them a scenario that poses a “foreseeable risk of injury” because of their inability to make responsible decisions regarding alcohol. Therefore, business owners who serve them can face serious civil repercussions and potential criminal penalties.

Likewise, if parents or older siblings provide alcohol for teens hosting a party at home, they can face criminal charges in addition to the financial ramifications if one of the teens causes a drunk driving accident after leaving the premises. Potential penalties include fines, jail time, and a license suspension or revocation.

Qualities to Look for in a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

There are dozens of personal injury lawyers in Jensen Beach and surrounding communities, but the quality of representation you receive from one attorney can be very different from the next. Chances are you’ve never had to hire a drunk driving accident lawyer before, so you might not know the qualities that separate the best law firms from the rest.

Here are a few factors to consider before hiring a DUI accident attorney:

  • Experience Handling Similar Cases: Just because the law firm handles personal injury cases doesn’t mean they’re familiar with the nuances of drunk driving accident claims. It’s important that your attorney knows how to approach the investigation, the types of evidence to gather, the kinds of damages to pursue, and the strategies to use during settlement negotiations and litigation. Be sure to ask the prospective attorney about the number of DUI accident cases their law firm has handled in the past as well as the results achieved in those cases.

  • Litigation Experience: Would the attorney be willing to go to trial if the insurance company refuses to cooperate? The mere threat of litigation is often enough to motivate an insurer to settle—especially if you’re represented by a seasoned trial attorney. Find out if the lawyer you’re considering has litigated drunk driving accident lawsuits.

  • Plenty of 5-Star Reviews: Search Google for the law firm’s name and read reviews from past clients. If the vast majority of their reviews are 5-stars and you like what other clients are saying, that’s a good indicator the law firm knows what they’re doing. But be sure to check if the reviews were written by personal injury clients. If most of the reviews are for divorce law or another practice area, this might signify that the law firm handles cases in many practice areas rather than focusing primarily on personal injury law.

  • Compassion: If the attorney seems apathetic about your case, it might be wise to look elsewhere for representation. After all, you could be working with this lawyer for several months and perhaps well over a year. The best attorneys genuinely care about their client’s situation and will invest the time and effort needed to pursue the best outcome possible.

  • A Direct Line of Contact: You shouldn’t have to go through a dozen legal secretaries to find out how your case is progressing. With a direct line of contact, you’ll be able to get prompt answers to your questions.

At Donaldson & Weston, we combine the personal touch of a neighborhood practice with the experience and resources of a large law firm. We have helped hundreds of clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, many of which involved drunk driving accidents. Our lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of the statutes and case law pertaining to these cases as well as the most effective strategies to employ during settlement negotiations and litigation. We’ll remain accessible to you throughout the proceedings and will do everything we can to make the claims process as stress free as possible.