Drunk driving crashes are prevalent in Florida and especially dangerous. In 2018, drunk drivers got into 5,106 traffic accidents, causing 2,984 injuries and 372 deaths. While alcohol was only involved in 1.26% of all crashes in the state, drunk driving accounted for nearly 12% of traffic injuries and fatalities. In Lee County, the percentage of deaths attributable to drunken driving was closer to 15%.
Victims of drunk driving car accidents are more likely to be severely injured or killed than other auto crash victims. If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver in Fort Myers, call The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., at 239-649-8050 for a free consultation. Our Fort Myers drunk driving accident attorneys are available to take your information at any time of the day or night.
What makes drunk driving car accidents more likely to occur?
Think about the most important skills it takes to drive a car safely – attention, reflexes, judgment. Alcohol dulls the senses and negatively affects all of these skills. Alcohol-impaired drivers are slower to react and may have blurred vision. Drunk drivers cause car accidents in a number of ways, including:
- Drifting into a neighboring lane or oncoming traffic
- Missing red lights and stop signs
- Overreacting to changes in traffic patterns
- Underreacting to changes in traffic patterns
- Failing to notice objects in their peripheral vision (tunnel vision)
- Stopping the car partway into an intersection
- Stopping the car too far behind the intersection
- Driving too fast for traffic conditions
- Driving too slowly for traffic conditions
- Suddenly turning or changing lanes without checking their mirrors or blind spots
- Falling asleep at the wheel
What makes drunk driving car accidents so dangerous?
Not only are drunk drivers more likely to get into an accident, but the crashes they cause are often much more severe than other accidents. Even in the split-second before a collision, most drivers are able to make some maneuvers to lessen the impact of the crash. These moves include turning the wheel (or deciding not to turn the wheel) and, most importantly, applying the brakes. Drunk drivers, on the other hand, are often oblivious to an impending crash. They don’t apply their brakes, making any collision much more powerful and damaging to the occupants of the vehicles. They also fail to take any evasive measures, or they overreact by jerking the wheel and losing control of the car, which can cause a rollover, head-on crash or deadly lane departure accident.
Drunk drivers can be held accountable for the damages they cause
A popular myth holds that insurance companies won’t cover accidents caused by drunk drivers, but this is simply not true. While an insurer might not cover intentional acts of their insured like arson or assault, causing a drunk driving crash is not considered a deliberate act, even if drinking and subsequently driving were done “intentionally.” Drinking and driving is undoubtedly a reckless and negligent act, and injury victims can pursue claims against the driver and their insurance company where appropriate. In fact, proving liability in a drunk driving accident is often easier than other car accidents, because the drunk driver can be considered negligent per se by driving while intoxicated. If the driver was charged with DUI, this fact could be used against the driver in a civil case, but it’s not necessary for the driver to be convicted of DUI, or even arrested, to recover damages against the drunk driver.
Everybody knows that driving under the influence is reckless, dangerous and illegal. Because of this fact, it might be possible to get punitive damages in a case against a drunk driver. Juries don’t look kindly on drunk drivers and want to send a message to the community that impaired driving is unacceptable. Punitive damages are harder to prove than other costs, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, but the fact that they are available raises the settlement value of a drunk driving car accident claim.
Get Help After Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver in Fort Myers
If a drunk driver injured you or a family member in a drunk driving car accident in Fort Myers, call The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., for a free consultation at 239-649-8050. We’ll help you get justice by holding the negligent driver accountable and getting much-needed compensation for you and your family.