RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”
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Drunk Driver Accidents

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Personal Injury

The Automobile Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. represent injured victims, and family members of the deceased, in obtaining compensation for damages and losses caused in drunk driver accidents. Drinking and driving is a serious problem in our state. According to Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Crash Facts, nearly 10,000 alcohol-confirmed related crashes, and more than 17,000 alcohol-suspected related crashes, occur on average each year in Florida.

An auto collision involving a motorist that is under the influence of alcohol, can vary from other types of accidents in many ways. The most obvious distinction is that in addition to the civil component associated with claims for injury or fatality, drunk driving accidents generally involve a criminal component as well. In understanding personal injury claims involving an impaired motorist, it is important to note the differences between the criminal and civil aspects of a drunk driving accident.

The criminal component of a drunk driving accident commences with the state filing criminal charges against the accused, seeking to convict the motorist for their alleged unlawful conduct. Civil actions, on the other hand, are brought forth by the victim of an accident, seeking compensation for injuries, damages, and losses, based upon the motorists alleged negligent, reckless, or intentional actions.

Civil and criminal actions also have very different standards of proof. A standard of proof is the degree of proof required in a specific case, which is established through evidence presented by the Plaintiff. In criminal actions, the state must prove their case ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Civil actions, however, have a much lower standard of proof, requiring only that the Plaintiff prove their case by a ‘preponderance of the evidence.’

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The civil standard of proof can be thought of as ‘greater weight of the evidence,’ or put simply, that the events ‘more likely than not’ occurred as the Plaintiff alleges. While evidence associated with the outcome of a civil proceeding is generally inadmissible in a criminal proceeding, the same is not true in the reverse. Rather, a drunk driving conviction in a civil action, based upon either the Defendant’s admission of guilt or the court’s finding of guilt, can be used as evidence to support a Plaintiff’s claim for damages.

While basic principles of tort liability associated with auto negligence claims—duty, breach, causation, damages—must still be properly plead and supported by sufficient evidence, consider the impact that driver impairment can potentially have on the trier of fact. At the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. our experienced attorneys know the value that evidence of drunk driving can provide as persuasive leverage for the settlement of a claim, far before a matter even reaches the litigation stage.

Evidence of intoxication can be particularly important in cases where the Plaintiff is seeking to recover punitive damages. However, it is important to know that a criminal conviction is not necessary in order for a Plaintiff to request punitive damages. In fact, punitive damages can be awarded in civil actions involving a drunk driver, if the Plaintiff can show: (1) the Defendant, based upon clear and convincing evidence, is personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence; and (2) the Defendant was voluntarily intoxicated.

The accident & injury team at the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. understand the pleading requirements and evidentiary standards associated with each particular type of damage claim involved in a civil action extending from a drunk driving accident—both with and without the presence of a criminal conviction. Let our experienced and aggressive team of injury lawyers help you obtain the justice and compensation that you and your family deserve.