Drunk Driving and DUI resulting in Personal Injury

Accident victim with medical billsAccording to the CDC, Drunk Driving and DUI in Florida results in an average of approximately 8500 deaths every 10 years. The data also presents the sobering fact that these types of instances occur so often in Florida, they top the national average. 2016 resulted in nearly 45,000 DUI arrests and almost 28,000 convictions.

Far too often, innocent people become victims of these tragic events and have to endure injury, property damage, and even the death of loved ones. And unfortunately, the DUI driver’s insurance company is NOT interested in helping victims receive adequate compensation for their losses.

You Don’t Have To Deal With This Alone

Florida Statute Section 316.193.3C1 provides for enhanced penalties for any driving under the influence case that causes or contributes to property damage or non-serious personal injury of another. DUI with property damage or non-serious personal injury is a first-degree misdemeanor. DUI cases involving the serious bodily injury (as opposed to non-serious injury) can be charged as a third-degree felony. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney; they can help uncover the best course of action to protect your rights.

Why Do I Need an Attorney if I’m a victim of a DUI resulting in injury or property damage from a drunk driver?

  1. Car Insurance Companies are Not Obligated to Pay Punitive Damages
  2. Insurance Defense Lawyers Argue Drunk Driving Facts will Anger the Jury too Much
  3. Insurance Defense Lawyers Also Argue the Accident Didn’t Cause Your Injuries and Damages
  4. Insurance Defense Lawyers Tell the Judge Alcohol has No Relationship to Your Injuries

When most people hear the term “DUI,” they tend to think of the criminal prosecution that results from a defendant being pulled or caught behind the wheel while driving drunk. Criminal DUI charges are intended to punish the driver for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, regardless of whether the driver caused any harm from doing so.

But what happens if the driver causes harm? What happens if a drunk driver crashes into a parked car and injures or kills someone, or plows into the side of a building and causes structural damage?

In many of these situations, victims are entitled to file a civil suit following the criminal prosecution in order to recover damages from the driver.

Criminal DUI Penalties

In Florida, criminal charges are brought on behalf of the people by the Florida government. Criminal penalties are designed to punish the defendant for engaging in behavior that society deems unacceptable, like drunk driving. As such, the penalties often involve jail time, probation, and fines.

The legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) in Florida is 0.08%.  If someone is caught driving with a BAC of over 0.08%, they may be charged with DUI and Florida will begin criminal proceedings against them. The criminal consequences of a first DUI in Florida are up to six months in jail, a fine of $500-$1,000, suspension of driver’s license up to one year, and possibly an ignition interlock device being installed in their car (at their expense). 

However, those are the penalties simply for being caught driving with a BAC of over 0.08%. The state of Florida enhances jail time penalties if there are aggravating circumstances surrounding a DUI, including:

  • Nine months for a BAC of 0.15% or more
  • Nine months for having a passenger under 18 years old
  • One year if there was an accident involving property damage or minor injuries
  • Five years if there was an accident involving serious bodily injury

These penalties are designed to punish the perpetrator only, not to compensate potential victims. That’s where civil consequences come into play.

 

Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Spotlight – Frank G. Fernandez:

Frank Fernandez, Tampa Florida AttorneyFrank Fernandez is known for his dedication to his clients and their causes that has earned him a reputation of meeting or exceeding their expectations in many different types of personal injury cases over the years.

Mr. Fernandez has appeared on behalf of his clients in Federal and State courts throughout the State of Florida. He is proud to have developed his practice primarily through the referrals of former clients and professional colleagues.

Contact Frank Fernandez at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation.

 

The Civil Consequences of a Florida DUI

Upset victim of DUI driverThere is no such thing as a “civil DUI.” Instead, there are a number of civil consequences that can follow from the same incident that lead to a DUI conviction. While the purpose of a criminal prosecution for DUI is to punish the offender, the purpose of civil cases against a drunk driver is to compensate any victims for their damages. Civil cases against a drunk driver can follow a criminal prosecution or occur simultaneously. The most common civil consequences of a DUI include:

Punitive Damages: Punitive Damages are allowed in a case when the at-fault person does something intentional or reckless without having any regard for the consequences of their actions. Punitive damages are also a form of punishment for the wrongdoer. Another phrase for punitive damages is “exemplary damages.”

Punitive damages are only allowed in or after a trial. In most cases, it is a jury trial. After the main claim is presented and a verdict is found by the jury, the judge then has a second mini-trial with the same jury. This time they are asked to decide if the defendant should be punished by being ordered to pay punitive damages on top of the compensatory damages they just awarded.

The judge tells the jury that they should award punitive damages if they find by “Clear and Convincing” evidence that the defendant was either guilty of “Intentional misconduct” or “gross negligence,” which was a substantial cause of damages to you.

Civil suits by victims of the accident or their representatives: If bodily injury or property damage is involved, insurance companies normally provide compensation. However, if the damage was severe, if someone died, or the damages exceed the driver’s insurance policy limits, the victim or their representatives can bring suit directly against the driver for any remaining damages.

Insurance issues: A DUI is a serious offense and makes the offender a high risk for his or her insurance company. As such, a drunk driver’s insurance company will either raise their rates or drop them from their policy entirely. This can make it hard to afford insurance or to find a new insurer willing to take on the risk.

Suspension or revocation of driver’s license: Driver’s licenses are issued and controlled by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; thus, it is a civil administrative agency. However, the agency will revoke or suspend your driver’s license if ordered to do so by the court.

How Much in Punitive Damages are Allowed to be Awarded?

The court will tell the jury to consider an amount that will act as a deterrent to others, and they should consider:

  • The nature, extent, and degree of misconduct;
  • Whether the wrongful conduct was motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain;
  • If the unreasonably dangerous nature of the conduct, together with the high likelihood of injury resulting from the conduct, was actually known by the defendant;
  • Whether at the time the defendant had a specific intent to harm;
  • And the jury is to consider the financial resources of the defendant, but not award an amount that would financially destroy the defendant.

Just as choosing the right heart surgeon is crucial to a successful quadruple bypass, choosing the right attorney to handle your personal injury case is paramount to receiving an appropriate settlement. Just like anything important, do your homework, talk to your trusted confidants, and do not settle for anything less than the best you can find. Remember the right accident attorney is out there.

At Fernandez Law Group, you are choosing a Tampa personal injury lawyer with an in-depth understanding of exactly how to get you the compensation you deserve. If you have experienced loss due to a serious Florida injury, contact Fernandez Law Group to speak with a knowledgeable Tampa personal injury attorney today.

– Additional Resources and Information on Personal Injury and our Personal Injury Lawyers


Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.

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Tampa Taxi, Uber, & Lyft Accident Lawyers & Injury Attorneys

Taxi AccidentTaxi accident claims are common in Tampa, and have seen an increase due to new rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. Our team of Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience handling all types of claims against taxi services and are ready to work aggressively on your behalf if you’ve been injured.

Many automobile insurance policies may not offer protection for these types of accidents. While the State of Florida requires every driver to carry some form of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, it is not always adequate or present – particularly in Uber and Lyft cases.

Florida law has excluded taxi services from the state’s no fault insurance law, therefore, anyone is able to file a claim based on physical damages or injuries sustained without proving whether or not the victim has been permanently injured or disabled as a result of the accident.

If you were injured in a Taxi, Uber or Lyft accident, our attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Taxi and Uber Tent

If you or a loved one has suffered a severe or disabling injury while riding a taxi, it is important to contact an experienced taxi accident lawyer immediately following any taxi crash.

We put not one, but multiple attorneys on your case in order to give it the extra attention it deserves. Our lawyers are also authorized to practice in federal courts, a distinction fewer than 10% of Tampa lawyers share. Let us put our experiences and resources to work for you today, and you can expect to get the results you deserve.

Our attorneys are very experienced and fully prepared to litigate aggressively on your behalf. There are no up front fees or costs unless we win and our consultations are always free. And we make it very easy to reach us – by phone, email, our quick contact form, and even live chat right here on the website. And if you’re still unsure, have a look at some of the reviews we receive.

– Additional Resources and Information on Personal Injury and our Personal Injury Lawyers


Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.

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Fernandez Law Group selected for 2017 Tampa Small Business Excellence Award for Personal Injury Law in Tampa, FL

TAMPA LAWYERS
Fernandez Law Group

Fernandez Law Group selected for 2017 Tampa Small Business Excellence Award for Personal Injury Law in Tampa, FL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 20, 2017

2017 Tampa Small Business Excellence Award for Personal Injury LawFernandez Law Group has been selected for the 2017 Tampa Small Business Excellence Award in the Personal Injury Law classification by the Tampa Small Business Excellence Award Program. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category.

The 2017 Tampa Small Business Excellence Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Tampa Small Business Excellence Award Program and data provided by third parties.

The Tampa Small Business Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding small businesses that serve the Tampa area. Each year, our selection committee identifies businesses that we believe have achieved outstanding marketing success in their local community and business classification. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

These are small businesses that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Tampa area a vibrant and vital place to live.

The Tampa Small Business Excellence Awards was established to reward the best of small businesses in Tampa. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to award the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Tampa Small Business Excellence Award Program
CONTACT: Tampa Small Business Excellence Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@SmallBusinessExcellence.email

Contact us today for a Free Consultation and Case Evaluation.

Award Winning Tampa Lawyers

Fernandez Law Group is an award winning law firm

View more of our Awards and Recognitions

No Obligation, Free Consultations ImageOur Tampa Lawyers are ready to provide you with a detailed consultation for FREE!

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©2017, The Fernandez Law Group: 506 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa FL 33609

This newsletter is offered as a service to clients and friends of Fernandez Law Group, and does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion and is not an adequate substitute for the advice of legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

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Tampa Brain Injury Attorneys and Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Tampa Brain Injury Attorneys and Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

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Image depicting a Brain and Spinal Cord Injury by a Tampa brain injury lawyerThe spinal cord is a fragile and delicate bundle of nerves that runs through the backbone of the human body, transmitting sensation and controlling movement throughout the body. If the spinal cord becomes damaged, loss of mobility and feeling below the injured area can often occur. Often fatal, any injury to the spinal cord region is a very serious type of injury.

As many as 450,000 Americans live with spinal cord injuries. Men between the ages of 16 and 30 account for over 80 percent of all new spinal cord injuries of the more than 8,000 new cases that are diagnosed each year.

Automobile accidents, large truck and commercial vehicle crashes and motorcycle accidents are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Knife and gunshot woulds, slips, trips, falls and sports related injuries also cause many spinal cord problems. Of the estimated 7,800 non fatal spinal cord injuries accounted for every year, nearly half of them are the result of the various types of motor vehicle accidents mentioned previously.

A person’s breathing may be impaired and arms, legs or the torso can become paralyzed when spinal cord injuries occur at the neck level. This is also known as Quadriplegia.

Paraplegia is an injury that occurs in the lower portion of the spine, often causing weakness and loss of movement of feeling only in the legs or lower parts of the body.

Any spinal cord injury should be taken very seriously. In less severe cases, recovery is possible, but it depends on the extent of the damage. A spinal cord cannot be repaired if it becomes severed.

If you suffered a brain or spinal cord injury, our lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Doctor holding a spinal cord x-ray

Symptoms of spinal cord damage can include weakness, paralysis, numbness, tingling, poor coordination, loss of bowel or bladder control and pain. Any traumatic injury that compresses, pulls, pushes sideways, or cuts a spinal cord can often result in a spinal cord injury. Blood clots, tumors, abscesses, polio, spina bifida or Friedrich’s Ataxia (an inherited disorder) can also cause spinal cord injuries.

When symptoms and factors suggest a spinal cord injury occurred, a CT scan, MRI or myelogram are often used as diagnostic tools to determine if a spinal injury occurred also help to show the extent of the damage. Immediate medical treatment focusing on the stabilization of the spine often occurs as soon as the diagnosis is made while aggressive treatment using corticosteroid drugs can help limit some of the damage.

In order to stabilize the spine of fuze the spine with metal plates or pins, surgery is often necessary. Functional improvements may continue for at least six months after the initial injury heals, however, if any remaining disability is still present at that time, it is more likely to be permanent.

Long-term treatment will involve an intense rehabilitation therapy program with continuing treatment often in the form of nutritional management, psychological counseling, careful monitoring by physicians and occupational therapy in cases where a patient is mobile enough to return to work.

Anyone who has suffered a spinal cord injury or any other severe or disabling injury should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. We put multiple attorneys on your case in order to give it the extra attention it deserves. Our lawyers are also authorized to practice in federal courts, a distinction fewer than 10% of Tampa lawyers share. Let us put our experiences and resources to work for you today towards getting you proper compensation for your losses.

Our attorneys are very experienced and fully prepared to litigate aggressively on your behalf. There are no up front fees or costs unless we win and our consultations are always free. And we make it very easy to reach us – by phone, email, our quick contact form, and even live chat right here on the website. And if you’re still unsure, have a look at some of the reviews we receive.

– Additional Resources and Information on Personal Injury and our Personal Injury Lawyers


Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.

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Tampa Bicycle Lawyers & Bike Crash Injury Attorneys

Tampa Bicycle Lawyers & Bike Crash Injury Attorneys

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Wrecked BicycleAs a primary method of transportation for many people here in Florida, bicycle and bike related crashes and accidents are common. Large numbers of people can be seen riding their bikes every day through neighborhoods, in parks and on trails. Many of these riders navigate around vehicular traffic. Whether running errands or just trying to avoid the traffic and congestion of other vehicles, accidents involving cyclists here in Tampa are common.

The Tampa personal injury lawyers here at Fernandez Law Group understand how to work through the difficulties some victims may face in recovering compensation. Our attorneys have decades of experience in handling bicycle accident claims and work hard to represent the best interests of injury victims.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of somebody else, do not try to handle a claim on your own or risk using an inexperienced lawyer.

Not all personal injury attorneys have our commitment to achieving full justice for their clients, nor do they have our trial experience and proven skills.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, our attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Damaged Bike HelmetOur lawyers have a combined legal experience of over 40 years in handling all types of personal injury cases, and bicycle accidents account for a fair portion of those.

The number of bike injury victims has continued to rise here in Florida in recent years, and several hundred people are killed every year in bicycle related accidents.

Most of these crashes are the fault of other negligent drivers on the roadway who often lack respect or awareness for the rights bicyclists have. Motorists are to share the roadway, however they often fail to pay attention to their surroundings. Cyclists often face more serious injuries as they are often difficult for motorists to notice. In addition, other distractions such as speeding, texting while driving, or driving while distracted, fatigued, or intoxicated has also led to many of these accidents.

If you or a loved one has suffered a severe or disabling injury while walking or riding a bicycle, it is important to contact an experience bicycle accident attorney immediately following any bicycle crash.

We put not one, but multiple lawyers on your case in order to give it the extra attention it deserves. Our attorneys are also authorized to practice in federal courts, a distinction fewer than 10% of Tampa lawyers share. Let us put our experiences and resources to work for you today, and you can expect to get the results you deserve.

Our attorneys are very experienced and fully prepared to litigate aggressively on your behalf. There are no up front fees or costs unless we win and our consultations are always free. And we make it very easy to reach us – by phone, email, our quick contact form, and even live chat right here on the website. And if you’re still unsure, have a look at some of the reviews we receive.


How can I expect the claims for my personal injury due to a bicycle accident to be handled?

Our lawyers are ready to work extremely hard on your behalf and have no issue devoting a great deal of effort and resources on your behalf because we accept only serious, legitimate cases. Our clients find great peace of mind in our experience and commitment to go far as necessary to make a substantial and meaningful difference in the lives of injured citizens.

 

The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez Law Group devote a great deal of our civil practice to complex cases pertaining to bicycle accidents involving personal injury.

After years of representing hundreds of clients all over the State of Florida, our firm has established a solid reputation of seeking justice for injured persons. We are committed to providing our clients with the best legal representation available.

Martindale Hubbell peers and judges have rated us as having the highest levels of legal ability and professional ethics. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys are supported by a superior staff of Legal Assistants.

If you or a loved one has a question about a potential personal injury case or if you’re in need of a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, we hope that you will contact our office for a free consultation.

– Additional Resources and Information on Personal Injury and our Personal Injury Lawyers

Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.

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The Real Meaning Behind Florida’s “No-Fault” Auto Insurance

TAMPA LAWYERS

Fernandez Law Group

The Real Meaning Behind Florida’s “No-Fault” Auto Insurance:

personal injury victim calling a lawyerFlorida is a “No-Fault” insurance state when it comes to automobile liability insurance. This can be quite a confusing topic.

There is sometimes a misconception that because Florida is a “No-Fault” state, that the at-fault party cannot be sued and held liable for the injuries that they caused in an auto accident. This is incorrect.

Under Florida law, every motorist is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

PIP coverage is to cover medical bills and lost wages that each driver may suffer when in an auto accident, no matter who was at-fault.

When a car accident occurs, each party involved turns to their own insurance company for medical costs and other losses up to $10,000.

In order for your PIP coverage to kick in, you will need to seek treatment within 14 days of the auto accident. If not, there will be no PIP coverage applied.

Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE Consultation and case evaluation.

No Obligation, Free Consultations ImageOur Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers are ready to provide you with a detailed consultation for FREE!

Get Help Now!

813-489-3222

Award Winning Tampa Attorneys

Award Winning Tampa Attorneys

Our firm has received the Client Distinction Award for Quality of Service, Responsiveness and Communication Ability for the last 3 consecutive years! Our attorneys are proud members of the Florida Justice Association and have been serving the local Tampa Community for over 40 years!

View more of our Awards and Recognitions

©2017, The Fernandez Law Group506 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa FL 33609

This newsletter is offered as a service to clients and friends of Fernandez Law Group, and does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion and is not an adequate substitute for the advice of legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

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Victims of DUI accidents may file civil claims against establishments in some cases:

TAMPA LAWYERS

Fernandez Law Group

Victims of DUI accidents may file civil claims against establishments in some cases:

driver suffering whiplash injury from DUI driverInnocent people who are involved in a DUI related accident are protected by statutes which may allow victims to file a civil lawsuit against those who profited from the drunk driver.

Florida Statute 768.125 (Liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication) states that: 

A person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, except that a person who willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age or who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person. 

• It must be proven with sufficient evidence that the driver was a known drunk driver, served while visibly impaired and etc. – proof of them having 1-2 drinks is not likely enough.

• This law applies to drinks sold and consumed immediately at such premesis. A store or business selling a 12-pack or a bottle of wine to go would generally be excluded.

• If drinks have been sold to someone under legal drinking age, they are absolutely liable for any accident caused by the drunk driver.

Florida bars, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, liquor stores, and other businesses or establishments that profit from sales of alcoholic drinks and beverages can be held legally responsible for damages caused by a drunk driving accident in some situations.

The complex issues involved in these types of claims are another strong reason why anyone involved in any type of accident involving a personal injury should immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.

We put multiple attorneys on your case in order to give it the extra attention it deserves.

Call us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE Consultation and case evaluation.
No Obligation, Free Consultations ImageOur Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers are ready to provide you with a detailed consultation for FREE!

Get Help Now!

813-489-3222

Award Winning Tampa Attorneys

Award Winning Tampa Attorneys

Our firm has received the Client Distinction Award for Quality of Service, Responsiveness and Communication Ability for the last 3 consecutive years! Our attorneys are proud members of the Florida Justice Association and have been serving the local Tampa Community for over 40 years!

View more of our Awards and Recognitions

©2017, The Fernandez Law Group506 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa FL 33609

This newsletter is offered as a service to clients and friends of Fernandez Law Group, and does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion and is not an adequate substitute for the advice of legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

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