Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drugs (DUI) are Common Causes of Semi Truck Accidents in Kissimmee
Many of the semi truck crashes that occur in the city of Kissimmee are due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and happen along major Kissimmee highways, such as the 417 Tollway,SH 400, SH 441, US 17, US 92, US 530, and US 192. Drug use and alcohol use on the part of truck drivers is always a crime, but it is especially dangerous when those truckers are driving on busy Kissimmee roads or highways. Although alcoholism and drug addiction are considered an illness in our society and should be treated as such, drug addicts and alcoholics have no business driving a truck or any other vehicle in the first place.
For a truck driver to get behind the wheel inebriated or under the influence of drugs in Kissimmee is not only a crime — it is also considered gross negligence. In states such as Florida, an award of punitive or exemplary damages can and should be made by a jury if the defendant is found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These damages should be awarded by a Osceola County jury in any truck accident case where gross negligence is involved, such as a driving under the influence case.
Drunk Driving Statistics For The State of Florida
According to Florida DMV records there were 34,638 DUI convictions in Florida in 2006. Florida law mandates that any driver convicted of a second DUI have an Ignition Interlock device installed in their vehicle. A judge may order an Interlock installed on first convictions depending on circumstances.
No one can drink alcohol and still drive safely. Drinking and driving causes accidents and deaths every day and therefore the penalties in Florida are very tough. If you drink and drive the result may be jail time, loss of your Florida driver’s license, heavy fines, and much higher auto insurance rates. And a conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years.
Kissimmee Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers
Mid-Florida Metro Treatment Center
306 E. Oak St., Kissimmee, FL 34744
Florida Injury & Rehabilitation Center
1040 E.Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee, FL 34744
Center For Drug Free Living
2540 Michigan Ave. # A, Kissimmee, FL 34744
Transition House Inc
900 East Vine St., Kissimmee, FL 34744
Seeking Punitive Damages in Kissimmee
Florida allows the recovery of punitive, or exemplary, damages in truck injury and truck fatality claims if the driver was under the influence or was “legally” intoxicated.
2010 Florida Code
TITLE XLV TORTS
Chapter 768 NEGLIGENCE
PART II DAMAGES (ss. 768.71-768.81)
768.736 Punitive damages; exceptions for intoxication.
Sections 768.725 and 768.73 do not apply to any defendant who, at the time of the act or omission for which punitive damages are sought, was under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug to the extent that the defendant’s normal faculties were impaired, or who had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.
It is important to hire a qualified Kissimmee gross negligence truck accident lawyer to help with your case, so that you can rest assured you will recover the maximum amount of monetary damages and compensation available under the law.
As mentioned above, it is possible to seek punitive damages in addition to damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish in a Kissimmee truck accident lawsuit where the truck accident was caused by a truck driver’s drunk driving. Depending on the specifics of the case, damages may be sought against the truck driver personally or even against the trucking company as a result of negligent hiring practices.
Truck Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers in Kissimmee
Kissimmee has a high rate of drunk driving accidents like many other cities in Florida. In Osceola County people are killed as the result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol each year. If you have been injured or have suffered the loss of a loved one in Kissimmee, Florida because of a drunk truck driver, you are entitled to special damages called exemplary, or punitive damages. An experienced Kissimmee truck accident lawyer can help you recover your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering in addition to the punitive damages to which you may be entitled.
Trucking companies can be held responsible for paying a damages award when a Kissimmee jury finds that you are entitled to monetary compensation for the gross negligence of a truck driver that was “under the influence” at the time of your accident. The legal basis for holding the company liable for the grossly negligent conduct of their driver is the doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior: meaning that an employer or principal should be held accountable for the acts of its employee or agent acting within the scope of employment. This can be an intense, fact specific analysis, and only a knowledgeable Kissimmee trial lawyer knows how to get a Osceola County jury to understand why they should hold the company liable in your case.
Insurance Policies Can Have Exclusions for Punitive Damages
Although most insurance policies allow claims for personal injury and property damage in truck accident cases where the trucker was either drunk or under the influence, their insurance policies typically exclude punitive damages. In Florida, it is still an undecided legal issue whether an insurance company can exclude from coverage a punitive damage award against the insured trucking company.
This means that if a lawsuit has been filed in Osceola County against a drunk truck driver, you will need an experienced truck accident lawyer to fight hard for your recovery of punitive damages. Even if there is a “punitive damage exclusion” in the insurance policy, an experienced Kissimmee trial lawyer will consider the assets of the drunk driver and his or her employer. As you can see, the issue is extremely important and you should not try to tackle these problems alone. Contact one of the knowledgeable Kissimmee truck accident lawyers listed on this site to discuss your case.
Commercial Truck Drivers & Alcohol Regulations
Drivers should never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is especially true of persons who hold a commercial drivers’ license (CDL), like commercial truck drivers. Both Florida law and federal law prohibit commercial vehicle drivers from getting behind the wheel when they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. If a commercial truck driver injures or kills a person and they have alcohol or drugs in their system, that may give rise to a finding of gross negligence, and potentially punitive damages.
If a truck driver is legally intoxicated (DUI or DWI), meaning their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or greater, and they injure or kill another driver, then the victims of the accident may be entitled to seek punitive damages. Evidence of alcohol consumption could be admissible at your personal injury trial even if the driver did not have a BAC as high as 0.08%. Your Kissimmee personal injury attorney will hire a toxicologist to testify on the impact that alcohol had on the truck driver’s ability to safety operate a large commercial vehicle, depending on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system at the time of the truck accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) sets a lower BAC limit for commercial drivers, making the legal limit 0.04, half the 0.08 BAC limit for non-commercial drivers. Moreover, a commercial truck driver may be tested at random for drug or alcohol use before, during, or after driving a commercial vehicle. The commercial driver’s license (CDL) may also be suspended if he or she is convicted of violating a state’s drug or alcohol DUI or DWI laws while driving a non-commercial vehicle. This means that if a truck driver gets a DUI while driving his own car, he will probably be in violation of the law if he later drives a commercial truck, 18-wheeler, big rig, or tractor trailer. Furthermore, a commercial truck driver violates both Florida and federal law if any trace amount of alcohol is detectable in the driver’s system. Florida Statute 322.62 provides:
Driving under the influence; commercial motor vehicle operators.
(1) A person who has any alcohol in his or her body may not drive or be in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle in this state. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a moving violation, punishable as provided in s. 318.18.
(2)(a) In addition to the penalty provided in subsection (1), a person who violates this section shall be placed out-of-service immediately for a period of 24 hours.
(b) In addition to the penalty provided in subsection (1), a person who violates this section and who has a blood-alcohol level of 0.04 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or a breath-alcohol level of 0.04 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath is subject to the penalty provided in s. 322.61.
(3) This section does not supersede s. 316.193. Nothing in this section prohibits the prosecution of a person who drives a commercial motor vehicle for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances whether or not such person is also prosecuted for a violation of this section.
Truck Accident Attorneys Serve Kissimmee and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Central Florida, including Altamonte Springs, Apopka, Azalea Park, Belle Isle, Clermont, Doctor Phillips, Gibsonia, Haines City, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Meadow Woods, Oak Ridge,Ocoee, Orlando, Orlavista, Oviedo Winter Springs, Pine Castle, Pine Hills, Plant City, Sky Lake, St. Cloud, Union Park, Williamsburg, Winter Haven, areas in the vicinity of Walt Disney World Resort, and other communities in Osceola County.
Don’t let trucker recklessness go unpunished. If you’ve been injured by a trucker driving under the influence, call a Kissimmee Truck Accident Lawyer immediately to discuss your rights.