Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime. Driving impaired or incapacitated greatly increases the risk of hurting another person or even ending their life. Drunk driving causes significant suffering and often leads to tragedy. It’s one of the top causes of road fatalities. Therefore, police departments all over Florida prioritize reducing the number of drunk driving crashes that take place. If you were hurt because a drunk driver broke the law, you have the right to hold him or her accountable in civil court. Hiring an experienced DUI accident lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL can significantly improve your chances of recovering damages for your injuries and other expenses due to the drunk driver.
St. Petersburg, Florida DUI Accident Statistics
While the number of DUI crashes that take lives has steadily decreased, the overall statistics still remain grim. These accidents are completely preventable by driving responsibly. Yet, far too many people get hurt or die each year in Florida due to a drunk driver.
Drunk driving is more rampant in areas where nightlife thrives. In places like Downtown St. Petersburg and the beaches, these types of accidents are more common than in suburban or rural areas on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In Florida, drunk driving is the top cause of fatal car accidents. In 2017, DUI caused 1,946 injury crashes that resulted in 3,035 injuries. In all, there were 5,125 DUI accidents that year, which caused 350 deaths — a 16% decrease from the previous year.
Laws Against DUI in Florida
DUI is strictly forbidden in all states. In Florida, anyone who drives with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08 or above is considered driving under the influence. For those under the age of 21, a blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.02 is DUI. DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor crime for which a defendant could face jail time and fines if they’re convicted. A DUI that results in serious bodily injury, however, is a third-degree felony for which the defendant could receive a sentence of:
- Up to 5 years in prison; AND/OR
- A fine of up to $5,000
Under criminal law, the court may also require drunk drivers to pay restitution to their victims as part of their sentence. Criminal courts, however, do not generally do a complex analysis of the accident or the damages a victim has sustained. Therefore, you should hire an experienced DUI accident lawyer to more accurately calculate your damages.
DUI accident claims can be highly complex because there could be more than one party liable for your injuries besides the drunk driver who struck you. A DUI accident case could involve:
- Social hosts;
- Event organizers;
- Vehicle manufacturers;
Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to hold the above parties liable for your injuries. You should trust an attorney to determine liability and fight for the proper compensation.
Common Injuries Resulting from DUI Crashes
Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents often result in violent crashes that cause traumatic injuries or death. Some of the most common injuries you can experience in a DUI accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Bone fractures;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Internal organ damage;
- Cuts and bruises;
- Skull fractures;
Those who survive drunk driving accidents tend to need immediate medical attention and long-term care. The cost of medical treatment can quickly skyrocket and be financially devastating. Those who survive often require long hospital stays that keep them away from work and family. Not working because of a drunk driving accident can only put a further strain on a family’s financial situation.
With the help of a DUI accident attorney in St. Petersburg, it could be possible to gain financial relief. DUI accidents are among the few accident types that may incur punitive damages in Florida. In general, you may usually claim the following losses if your DUI accident claim succeeds:
- All medical expenses, including past and future medical bills;
- Lost wages and reduced or lost earning capacity;
- Mental anguish;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium for a spouse or reduced quality of life;
- Punitive damages.
Punitive damages are unique in that it is additional damage the court may impose to punish the defendant(s). This penalty aims to deter the defendant and others from engaging in the conduct that led to the lawsuit.
Can I File a DUI Accident Lawsuit in St. Petersburg?
Are you a victim of a drunk driver in St. Petersburg, FL? Were you a driver, passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or another road user when a DUI crash took place and changed your life? You have the right to seek legal counsel to fight for all damages resulting from your accident.
At Marsalisi Law, Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi is a “Top 3” Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg with a fierce dedication to DUI accident victims. He has many years of experience representing drunk driving accident victims in personal injury lawsuits and holding all parties accountable for their dangerous actions. Each and every client who works with Frank receives his personal attention and gets frequent case updates. If you’re too injured to come to the firm, Frank Marsalisi will visit you wherever you are recovering. You can expect Frank to be by your side as you navigate the complex case ahead of you.
Frank P. Marsalisi is a member of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and has successfully litigated dozens of DUI accident claims. Find out how to start your journey toward peace of mind by calling (727) 800-5052. You may also complete our online contact form for a free consultation. At Marsalisi Law, this is Where Law Gets Personal! claim. Contact our office today at (727) 800-5052 to get the help you need and start the journey to financial, emotional, and physical healing today. Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.
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– Testimonials –
“You can’t go wrong with Frank Marsalisi!”
Frank was referred to me by a former client of his after my accident with nothing but great reviews, both professionally and personally. From day one there was a level of comfortability and trust built based on what would be in my best interest moving forward. Never once did Frank make my case about what was in it for him but about healing my injuries in order to move on as normal as possible with my life.
“One of a kind lawyer …brilliance!”
Frank has exceptional auto accident liability law abilities and he is also very well-versed in state auto insurance laws. One of the things I like about Frank is that he never tried to sugar coat anything for me. If we were headed for trouble, he would let me know what the trouble was and what our options were. I always appreciated his honesty. This is trait that I do not find in many of today’s lawyers but Frank has performed integrity well beyond his means.
– Ms. C. M. Fraser