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Fatal Alcohol-Related Crash in Largo

Car Accident Claim

A woman is in custody after she allegedly drove the wrong way and collided with another vehicle, killing one person and seriously injuring two other people, including a 10-year-old child.

27-year-old Britney passed two marked patrol cars as she was travelling the wrong way on Highway 19. Before officers could pull her over, she smacked head-on into another vehicle. The force of the impact killed a front seat passenger in that car, injured the driver, and also injured a 10-year-old child in the back seat. Britney and a child passenger were transported to a nearby hospital, where a blood test indicated that her BAC was over twice the legal limit.

She now faces various felony charges, including DUI manslaughter, DUI collision/injury, and endangering a child.

First Party Liability in Alcohol-Related Wrecks

Alcohol is a depressant that slows reaction time and adversely affects motor skills. Additionally, alcohol gives many people a sense of euphoria. So, they often take unnecessary chances behind the wheel. As a result, alcohol is a factor in about a third of the fatal wrecks in Florida. Because of these dangers, a Tampa personal injury attorney usually has multiple legal options in these cases.

If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was charged with DUI, the negligence per se doctrine usually applies. Tortfeasors are normally responsible for damages as a matter of law if:

  • They violate a penal safety law, such as the DUI law, and
  • That violation substantially causes injury.

There is no need to prove fault, negligence, or any other such thing in a negligence per se case. Victim/plaintiffs need only establish cause.

Frequently, Hillsborough County jurors award significant damages in these claims. Many jurors believe that people who ignore safety laws intentionally disregard the safety of other people.

Most people are legally intoxicated after they consume three of four drinks. But the aforementioned impairing effects usually begin with the first drink. So, many individuals are impaired but not intoxicated. To prove impairment, victim/plaintiffs normally use circumstantial evidence, such as:

  • Erratic driving,
  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Presence at a place which served alcohol, and
  • Odor of alcohol.

The burden of proof in civil court is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, a little evidence goes a long way. For example, if the tortfeasor just left a bar or alcohol-serving restaurant, it is more likely than not that the tortfeasor also consumed alcohol at that place.

Third Party Liability

If there is such evidence in the case, it also raises the possibility of third party liability. Vicarious liability is especially important in wrongful death and other catastrophic injury cases. Florida has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. So, many tortfeasors do not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation in these situations.

Bars, clubs, restaurants, and other commercial alcohol providers are financially responsible for damages in Florida if they serve:

  • Minors: Generally, if commercial providers sell alcohol to minors and these minors cause car crashes, the provider is liable for damages as a matter of law.
  • Alcohol Addicts: Evidence of habitual addiction includes some of the aforementioned circumstantial evidence as well as statements the patron made to store employees.

Noncommercial providers, such as party hosts, might also be vicariously liable for damages, under a theory like negligent undertaking.

Damages in a car crash case usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Contact Aggressive Lawyers

Drunk drivers often cause serious injuries, and these cases are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer, contact The Matassini Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.

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The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa car accident attorneys, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

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