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Wrongful Death Caused by Drunk Driving

Drunk driving accidents in South Florida are all too common. Despite there being a legal limit of .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or .04 percent for commercial driver’s license holders or .01 percent for underage drivers, many people get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink. There are also drivers on the road who are impaired by controlled substances, prescription medications, and a combination of drugs and alcohol. This type of impairment is no less dangerous. Drugged and drunk driving lead to thousands of crashes every year in Miami Dade County, South Florida and hundreds of deaths state wide.

If your parent, spouse, child, or other relative was the victim of a wrongful death in a crash due to drunk driving, call a wrongful death lawyer in Miami at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. right away. Drunk and drugged driving are a serious crime. The at-fault driver may or may not be charged or convicted. The criminal justice system is only one avenue for legal recourse.  Since 1970, Gerson & Schwartz accident and injury attorneys have pursued civil remedies for the harms and losses due to the reckless acts of drunk drivers. No matter the criminal charges they face, drunk driver's are also be liable under our civil justice system. Under Florida law, drunk driving victim's family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver for money damages as compensation for the loss of a loved one. Legal liability for drunk driving crash cases may also arise from less obvious sources.

Over the span of 49 years, Gerson & Schwartz lawyers have succeeded in holding business operators such as bars, night clubs, hotels, and many other types of businesses responsible. Liability can established based on legal, or contractual relationship between parties such as joint ventures, partnerships and intoxicated drivers acting at the request, or engaged in some sort of mission or activity on behalf of another. Under Florida law, punitive damages are also available for survivors in addition to financial compensation for pain and suffering, and a loss of support and services and emotional harm.

Florida Law Has a Mandatory Two Year Statute of Limitations Period for Wrongful Death

If you or a loved one were the victim of wrongful death due to drunk driving accident in Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, or another part of South Florida don’t’ delay. Under Florida law, statutory survivors have two (2) years to file a wrongful death claim. Failure to act within this time period will bar your right to legal relief. That means if you don’t file a lawsuit within 24 months from the date of the death your claim will be time barred.

To discuss your legal options resulting from a fatal car crash or drunk driving accident in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or another part of South Florida, contact our South Florida wrongful death law offices at (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877) 475-2905. Or if you prefer, you can email a lawyer directly at info@gslawusa.com. We strive to respond to all new case inquires immediately.

Got Questions? Call  (877)-475-2905 or email info@gslawusa.com

Florida Drunk Driving Statistics

In 2017, there were 5,125 alcohol-confirmed crashes, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The three-year average (2015-17) for alcohol-related crashes was 5,290. Of those crashes, 350 were fatal and led to 374 deaths. In 2016, there were 461 alcohol-confirmed fatalities and in 2015, there were 508 alcohol-related deaths. While this 18.87 percent decline in alcohol-related deaths is a good sign, that is still far too many individuals losing their lives due to drunk driving.

In 2017, there also were 668 drug-confirmed crashes, 310 of which were fatal. There were 338 total deaths related to drugged driving that year. In 2016 and 2015, there were 322 and 281 drug-confirmed fatalities, respectively.

Also, in 355 crashes, both drugs and alcohol were confirmed. These led to 274 fatalities.

Unfortunately, it is clear that impaired driving in Florida is a serious issue and leads to far too many deaths. If you lost a loved one because a driver was intoxicated due to alcohol, drugs, or both, call our wrongful death lawyers in Miami as soon as possible. Whether your loved one was in another vehicle or was a passenger in the drunk driver’s car, we are here to fight for your right to compensation.

About Florida’s Wrongful Death Law

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is found under Fla. Statutes 768.16. In Florida, the personal representative of a decedent’s estate can file the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent’s survivors. These survivors are typically a person’s spouse, children, parents, and other relatives who were financial dependent upon them, such as siblings.

Under Florida law, wrongful death damages are set forth under Fla. Stat. 768.21. Statutory survivor’s compensation for wrongful death caused in a drunk driving accident may include:

  • Pain and suffering due to emotional and psychological harm such as mental anguish, and psychological injuries
  • Loss of support and services such as a family member or loved one’s help around the house
  • Compensation for the loss of parental guidance and companionship
  • The loss of a family members’ financial income
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills, costs, and expenses that a loved one incurred from the date of the crash until death
  • Punitive damages
The Difference Between Wrongful Death & DUI Charges

Many of our potential clients are unsure of the connection between wrongful death lawsuits and DUI charges since they can both arise after drunk driving accidents that cause fatalities.

A DUI is a criminal offense, and whether or not another driver is charged with a DUI depends on the police and local prosecutor. Ultimately, it is the prosecutor’s job to review the evidence, including any chemical tests conducted by the police, and determine whether they can prove the other driver committed a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is sufficient or strong enough evidence, the prosecutor may file DUI charges. You and other surviving family members have no say in whether or not the at-fault driver faces a DUI offense.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim. While a criminal DUI charge can result in imprisonment and the loss of a driver’s license, a civil claim typically, only results in monetary damages. Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate decides to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It has nothing to do with a prosecutor.

Your family may have the right to file a civil wrongful death claim whether or not the other driver is charge or convicted of a DUI. However, if the at-fault driver is convicted of drugged or drunk driving, this is strong evidence you can use to prove they were responsible for your loved one’s death. To learn more about proving the other driver’s liability in a wrongful death claim, call our wrongful death attorneys in Miami as soon as possible.

Call Our Miami Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help

After losing a loved one in a car crash because another driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol, contact Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (305) 371-6000. We are here to thoroughly investigate the incident, gather evidence of the other driver’s fault, and pursue full and fair compensation for your family through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Whether or not the drunk driver faces criminal charges, we are here to hold them responsible for the pain they have caused.

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