Fort Lauderdale DUI Crashes Remain Spring Break Hazard

Separate crashes in Florida involving spring-break revelers reportedly involved drivers who had been drinking excessively before getting behind the wheel.
Every year it seems we are confronted with the darker side of these mid-term celebrations, most often in the form of injuries sustained or lives lost as a result of drunk driving.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers are committed to fighting for justice for victims and their families. Often, these cases are lengthy, not only because they are complex, but because where criminal charges are pending, civil matters must wait.

In addition to whatever restitution is ordered paid by the defendant following a conviction, a civil case may likely involve pursuing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It could also involve filing a claim with the victim’s insurance company for underinsured motorist coverage. This is increasingly common where younger drivers are concerned, as they tend to be more likely to have minimal coverage – which won’t go far in cases of catastrophic injury or death.

Spring break kicks off the height of the tourist season in Florida, but visitors flock to the state year-round. It’s especially important for tourists who have been hurt in Florida to contact a personal injury lawyer who practices in Florida and is familiar with state injury laws.

In one of the recent cases, an 18-year-old driver from Tennessee is facing DUI manslaughter charges after he reportedly struck head-on another spring breaker, 22, also from Tennessee, who was operating a scoot car. Authorities in Panama City Beach say the teen struck veered into the opposing lane as he neared a golf course, striking the scoot car and ejecting its operator. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead from his injuries.

The 18-year-old driver reportedly admitted to police that he was the driver and that he had been drinking. His blood-alcohol level was recorded at 0.159 percent, which is nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent . His bond has been set at $100,000.

In a second case, a group of Duke University students were returning from a five-day spring break camping and canoeing trip when their van was struck by a pickup truck in Crestview. A 21-year-old student – a double major with a full-ride scholarship – was killed and another was seriously injured. A third student sustained moderate injuries. Several others sustained minor injuries.

The driver of the pickup, a 25-year-old from Alabama, reportedly crossed the median on Interstate 10 shortly before noon. He now faces charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury.

In determining the level of compensation for DUI injuries and fatalities, judges and juries are going to examine:
–The degree of fault by the DUI driver;
–The victim’s need for long-term medical care;
–Whether wrongful death was involved (particularly if the death involved a primary wage-earner);
–Whether the injury prevents the victim from being able to work and earn a living.

No one wants the spring break respite to unfold this way. Prevention is key. Look out for your friends. Plan ahead to ensure safe transportation. And never drink and drive.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:
PCBPD: Spring Breaker Killed in DUI Crash, March 10, 2014, By Chris Olwell, Panama City Beach
More Blog Entries:
Christmas Expected to Bring Out Florida’s Aggressive Drivers, Dec. 20, 2013, Fort Lauderdale DUI Injury Lawyer Blog

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