After being sentenced to 12 years in prison for a deadly DUI accident involving a retired Maryland couple, Florida courts recently hit a Miccosukee man squarely in the wallet. At the time of the accident, the man in question had a blood alcohol level three times that permitted under Florida law. Because of his intoxicated state, the man crashed into the couple’s rented sedan, ending both of their lives.
Unfortunately, the suspect was no stranger to driving under the influence. At the time of the accident, his license was suspended because of a previous DUI charge. The fatal accident that claimed the lives of the two retired teachers was this driver’s fourth DUI-related run-in with law enforcement. In the wrongful death action that followed the man’s criminal sentence, the jury did not look kindly on this chronic drunk driver’s poor decision-making, walloping him with $35 million in damages, compensatory and punitive in nature.
How does a DUI conviction affect subsequent cases for damages based on the accident?
Since a DUI conviction is based on evidence of a driver’s wrongful conduct, related civil lawsuits for damages may be easier to win based on the driver’s established state of impairment. This makes fighting DUI charges even more important for those accused of such offenses. While insurance companies and the establishments that serve impaired drivers may pick up the tab for some or all of the civil damages, there are a number of other negative consequences that result from losing a civil suit related to an alleged DUI accident.
Deep pockets may mean massive monetary damages
During the civil trial above, the plaintiffs intimated that the Miccosukee man had deep pockets and would be able to pay out big-time damages if they were awarded. In a similarly tragic recent DUI death, a civil jury also awarded tens of millions of dollars to a victim’s family to be paid by a billionaire defendant whose intoxicated driving claimed their loved one’s life. This defendant had also previously been convicted of DUI manslaughter in a criminal case.