On January 9, 2020, a runner was struck and killed by a speeding truck on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. Benjamin Douglas Ehas, 31, was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter. The speed limit had been reduced in that stretch of Bayshore after a 2018 fatal pedestrian crash where a mother and her child were struck and killed crossing the Boulevard. The speed limit lowered to 35 mph in that part of Bayshore after the 2018 fatal pedestrian crash.
The driver of the truck was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Tampa police said Ehas had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.234 at the time of the crash. That is three times the legal limit. According to witnesses, the truck was traveling at about 60 mph when the crash happened. The runner was struck and knocked into the water. Witnesses jumped into the water to render aid but the man later died at the hospital.
According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there were 839 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Florida in 2017. Intoxicated drivers remain the biggest cause of traffic fatalities both in Florida and the U.S. Nearly 11,000 people, about one-third of the nation’s 37,000-plus traffic fatalities, died in 2016 and 2017 due to drivers impaired by alcohol, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes, that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017. Drunk driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. There were 10,874 deaths from drunk driving crashes in 2017. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers, according to the NHTSA.
Why Should I Contact a Drunk-Driver Accident Lawyer?
Drunk-driver accidents require special attention. Florida law gives drunk driving victims the right to sue for punitive damages. It is a way to punish a drunk driver for willful, wanton, and reckless conduct. If you have been involved in a drunk- driver accident, you may have a right to actual damages and punitive damages.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to actual damages in certain circumstances. Punitive damages are considered punishment and are typically awarded when a driver’s behavior is found to be especially harmful, such as when someone drives drunk.
Can A Drunk-Driver Accident Attorney Negotiate a Settlement? After a drunk-driver accident, an attorney may contact the drunk driver’s insurance company to negotiate a settlement for costs incurred as a result of the accident. If negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful or unsatisfactory, a drunk-driver accident attorney may be able to file a civil suit against the negligent party.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered?
In negotiations or litigation, an attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for the following:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses: Drunk-driver accident victims may receive compensation for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, therapy and rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: Drunk-driver accident victims may recover compensation for the period of time that they could not work.
- Pain and Suffering: Drunk-driver accident victims can claim compensation for pain and suffering after the accident.
- Mental Anguish: Drunk-driver accident victims and families may also receive compensation for emotional pain and suffering such as feelings of fright, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, and grief.
- Loss of Consortium: A surviving spouse may be awarded compensation for the loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship of his or her loved one. Surviving parents may be awarded compensation for the loss of love, affection, and companionship of their minor children. Minor children may be awarded compensation for the loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship of their parents.
- Punitive Damages: In addition to actual damages, Florida law gives drunk driving victims the right to sue for punitive damages. It is a way to punish a drunk driver for willful, wanton, and reckless conduct.
If you or a loved one have been injured, or if you have lost a loved one in a drunk driver accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Why Fernandez & Hernandez?
Fernandez & Hernandez are advocates for those injured by drunk-drivers. If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver and need help getting compensation for your injuries or loss, call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813.755.9500.