What Factors Determine Fault in a DUI Case?
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an offense that carries serious consequences. Many times, when an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, they do end up getting involved in an accident. DUI accidents can be severe and cause serious injury, even death.
Contrary to popular belief, just because a drunk driver is involved in an auto accident doesn’t automatically mean they’re liable for the damages. In the state of Florida, several additional factors play a leading role in determining which party is at-fault in a DUI case: duty of care, breach of duty, and causation. Here, we will explore what those factors mean and how they play a role in DUIs.
Duty of Care
While on the road, every driver has a responsibility or duty to obey the rules of the road and drive cautiously to protect other drivers. Furthermore, drivers have the duty to make responsible decisions to avoid accidents with other drivers. That means drivers are responsible for yielding, speeding up, and moving out of the way if they observe conditions that could cause an accident.
Example of Duty of Care: I was driving down the road and a semi pulled out from a two-way stop. I slowed down because if I didn’t, I would have collided with the semi.
Breach of Duty
When fault needs to be determined in an accident, officials and insurance companies investigate whether or not both parties were exercising duty of care. If it is found that either party failed to attempt to avoid the accident or were not following the rules of the road, it is considered a “breach” of duty.
Example of Breach of Duty: I was driving down the road and a semi pulled out from a two-way stop. I didn’t slow down although I could have. Therefore, I collided with the semi.
Perhaps the most significant factor in determining fault in an accident is causation. For causation, a person has to be able to prove that the other party’s breach in duty was the direct cause of the accident.
Example of Causation: I was driving down the road and a semi pulled out from a two-way stop. I didn’t slow down although I could have. Therefore, I collided with the semi. Eyewitnesses reported that I did not make any attempt to slow down.
In the case of a DUI accident, driving under the influence is a breach of duty. However, it must be proven that the accident was caused because that driver was driving under the influence. In situations where the other party also had a breach of duty (failing to stop, not using a turn signal, speeding, etc.) it becomes more difficult to prove fault.
Beneficial DUI Evidence
Following an auto accident, it is best practice to call the local authorities to obtain a police report. While gathering information for the report, officials will work hard to gather evidence surrounding the situation such as eyewitness accounts and traffic cam footage. This information is extremely beneficial when attempting to prove the other party caused the accident.
Experienced DUI Attorneys Near You
It’s important to remember that every accident is unique. If you’re facing charges for a DUI, there is somewhere you can turn for help. At The Umansky Law Firm, our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience practicing law have proven our exceptional litigation skills in thousands of cases. Our skilled DUI defense team is exceptionally knowledgeable in Florida DUI laws and will work diligently to develop a defense that works in your favor.
Professionals at our offices are available 24/7 to support you. To speak with an attorney today and schedule your consultation call our office or use our online contact form. We look forward to talking with you soon.