It is the holidays and while everyone is out spreading holiday cheer there will inevitably be the irresponsible person on the roadways who decided to drink and drive. While there are ways you can avoid being that person it is impossible to control other people on the roadways, therefore, car crashes due to intoxicated drivers are an unfortunate reality this time of year.
Building a strong case after being in a car accident can depend mostly on the evidence your attorney collects for your claim. The evidence available for use after a drunk driving accident will be unique compared to what your attorney will use in an average car crash case. This difference is caused by the fact that there is a criminal element associated with your claim due to the drunk driver.
Criminal Evidence Used in Civil Claims
The driver who crashed into you while intoxicated was committing the crime of driving under the influence (DUI). In the State of Florida it is illegal to have a blood alcohol content above .08, however, an intoxicated driver may still be convicted of driving under the influence with a BAC below .08 if law enforcement can show the driver was intoxicated at the time they were behind the wheel. If the police responded to reports of your crash, then the at fault driver likely would have been arrested and charged. A criminal prosecution would ultimately occur by the State Attorney’s Office in your county where the arrest took place.
Although the criminal prosecution is separate from the civil court system, there can be some overlap when working on an injury claim. In particular, the evidence that the state used to prosecute and/or convict that driver can be useful to establish liability in your claim. Florida only requires clear and convincing evidence to be brought forth for the Court to permit punitive damages to be allowed in the claims against the drunk driver.
It is pertinent that your lawyer gather evidence and communicate the grim reality for the Defendant to their insurance company prior to filing a lawsuit so that if the insurance company fails to protect their insured, your lawyer can potentially obtain a result recovered from the drunk driver’s insurance company greater than what the available policy limits are. (See my blog on insurance bad faith.) https://www.alvarezinjury.com/post/insurance-company-bad-faith-are-you-actually-in-good-hands
Evidence that might arise in a drunk driving accident claim:
Police report: The police officers who respond to a crash often create traffic crash reports which contain information that can be used in support of a claim. Traffic crash reports will sometimes indicate who law enforcement believes was the party responsible for causing the crash in addition to listing details regarding the at fault driver being intoxicated.
BAC test result: When law enforcement suspects that a driver who was involved a crash is intoxicated, they may instruct that driver to take a field sobriety test. If an arrest was made, then the driver will also likely take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test once taken to the police station. The results of that BAC test will provide concrete evidence of their intoxication to be used in the later civil case. Using the BAC result in your claim can better establish that the other driver was under the influence and should be held liable for your damages.
Dash camera evidence: Most if not all law enforcement agencies have some sort of camera which they utilize to document a suspected drunk driver’s impairment during their interaction with the suspect. This video evidence is damning when played before a jury in the civil trial.
If you, your family, or friends, have been the victim in a car crash involving a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to contact Alvarez Injury Law for a FREE case evaluation. We will help you put the pieces back together and get you justice!