You drink…You drive…You lose
OCTOBER 26, 2014:
Florida highways and roadways are riddled with construction sites. Whether it be an interstate or local road, the safety standards required to be followed by construction companies are typically the same. Being a lawyer that helps those injured in construction site car accidents, attention to detail is of the utmost importance when evaluating these types of cases.
Following an accident within an active construction zone, a comprehensive review of certain traffic control standards is imperative. And based upon my past experience representing those hurt in these types of accidents, many times proper safety precautions are negligently forgotten, thus leading to the incident. However, especially in cases involving car accidents, no matter how negligent or egregious the actions of the construction company, the plaintiff can single-handedly destroy his or her case. Alcohol.
Under Florida law, alcoholic intoxication of a plaintiff can lead to zero liability for a defendant. This is commonly known as the “intoxication statute” or “drug and alcohol defense.” According to Florida Statute 768.36, damages may not be recovered when a plaintiff is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol whereby his or her normal faculties were impaired and “as a result of the influence of such alcoholic beverage the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for his or her harm.” In other words, if an accident occurs when the injured person was drunk, and the level of intoxication of that injured person accounts for more than half of the blame, then that injured person may not recover.
Naturally, this is a powerful defense utilized by construction companies in situations where the driver of the vehicle was under the influence at the time of the car accident. And in many cases, this is a question of fact that should be decided by a jury. Nevertheless, if the injured person’s blood alcohol content is at .08 or above, then the only thing left to be decided is whether that level of intoxication accounted for 50% or more of the blame for the accident. Unfortunately for the intoxicated plaintiff, it is a near impossible task to prove to a jury that despite the intoxication, the defendant is more than 50% responsible for the accident. So, smart money says to think twice before pursuing a case if you have an intoxicated plaintiff.