Can a Family Hold a Drunk Driver Liable for a Crash?

March 11, 2015

Did you know that in 2012, there were 697 drunken driving fatalities in Florida, representing 29 percent of all traffic deaths?

Because of this, in 2014, the state began to expand vehicle interlocks for first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or greater. The devices force drivers to blow air into them before a car will start, in an effort to prevent them from drunk driving.

Remember, if a drunk driver kills your family member, you could potentially hold him or her liable. While no amount of money will ever bring your loved one back, through a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek damages related to lost income, mental anguish and pain and suffering. You can also seek compensation related to burial fees and costs for medical care provided to your loved one prior to his or her death.

‘2 Drunk 2 Care’ Driver Guilty of DUI Manslaughter

Sadly, no matter what Florida does legislatively, drunken driving accidents continue to be a problem. We bring this issue up because recently Kayla Mendoza, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI manslaughter in a case that generated national headlines.

On November 17, 2013, Mendoza sent out a tweet saying she was “2 drunk 2 care,” before crashing her Hyundai Sonata head-on into a Toyota Camry, near North University Drive. The crash killed the occupants of the Camry, 21-year-olds Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante.

Mendoza was reportedly drinking with coworkers prior to the crash and had a BAC of .15, nearly twice the legal limit. She apologized to the family members of the victims in court prior to her guilty plea. “It breaks my heart to know that I’ve broken your hearts,” she said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s my fault. One mistake changed all of our lives, one stupid mistake, and I’m sorry.”

Because she admitted to being intoxicated at the time of the accident, Mendoza now faces a lifetime in prison. Her sentencing is expected to take place later this year. The families of both victims have filed wrongful death cases against Mendoza.

Speaking to an Attorney Following a DUI Accident

As we stated above, if your family has been affected by the actions of a drunk driver, it may be in your best interest to speak to an attorney. The damages caused by drunk drivers in the U.S. results in hundreds of millions of dollars each year being awarded to victims.

Continue to follow our blog to stay up to date about drunk driving accident litigation in Florida. Remember, if you have been drinking, you should find an alternative transportation option, like a designated driver or taxi.


Did You Know? In 2012, more than 26,000 people were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida.


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