Labor Day weekend was marred by several drunk driving accidents in Southwest Florida.
The Florida Highway Patrol provided extra enforcement as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, beginning August 15th and lasting through Labor Day weekend. It will be one of a series of enforcement blitzes as we head into the fall holiday season. While Labor Day is one of the deadliest in the nation, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years typically prove deadlier. The start of fall football season also results in a measurable uptick when it comes to drunk driving crashes. Whether high school football under the Friday night lights, or cheering for your favorite college or pro football team, fans are encouraged to be responsible party hosts, and to make a commitment to never drink and drive.
“If you are under the influence of alcohol or any substance, be responsible and have a designated driver to get you to your destination safely,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding. “There is never an excuse for impaired driving.”
Drunk Driving Accidents in SWFL
Law enforcement responds to more than 1,000 traffic accidents a day in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In 2016, nearly 3,000 motorists lost their lives and 250,000 were seriously injured. Statewide, alcohol is involved in 1-in-5 traffic fatalities, claiming 461 lives in 2016. Charlotte County reported 55 drunk driving crashes that year, Collier County reported 100, and Lee County reported 64.
In August, Tampa Bay Business Journal reported Florida slipped out of the top spot for states with the worst drivers but still ranks eighth when it comes to risks of the road. Our Fort Myers injury lawyers know a top cause continues to be intoxicated motorists. The opioid crisis and the increasingly permissive use of marijuana are also having an impact.
While liability may seem clearly established (at least in the victim’s mind) when a drunk driver causes a collision, these are still among the most complex cases a personal injury law firm can handle. Any criminal consequences will proceed on a separate track from a civil personal injury or wrongful death claim. In fact, a pending criminal case may delay pursuit of a civil claim, as a defendant has a right not to incriminate himself during criminal proceedings. However, even once liability is clearly established, determining the full extent of damages is a complex process that will involve a thorough review of your medical records, including the cost of rehabilitation or future care. An economic analysis must also determine lost wages, and the possibility of current or future loss of earning capacity stemming from a collision.
Frequently, an at-fault driver also lacks auto insurance, or lacks sufficient insurance to adequately compensate for losses. In such cases, a claim against your own auto insurance carrier may result in additional compensation in cases where accident victims carried uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, contact Fort Myers injury attorneys at the Garvin Law Firm at 800.977.7017 for your free initial consultation.