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Another New Year’s Eve: Another Fatality


When a St. Petersburg man put on his helmet and got on his Suzuki motorcycle on New Year’s Eve, no one could have guessed that he wouldn’t make it home. But when his path crossed that of a drunk driver, it resulted in injuries that took his life. The driver of the vehicle who crashed into the motorcyclist was cited with DUI manslaughter and failure to yield. If you can relate to the suffering associated with such an incident, you may benefit from the support of an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Worst Day of the Year

 Although driving on New Year’s Eve is not a big risk for driving, once the clock strikes midnight and New Year’s Day arrives, over half of all fatal collisions involve drunk drivers. That is significantly higher than the number of alcohol-related fatalities on American roadways the rest of the year: 28 percent. Additionally, it is the most dangerous day for pedestrians, averaging 22 fatalities annually. As the culmination of the holiday season, New Year’s puts the exclamation point on holiday drinking issues.

Studies of holiday drinking reveal some disturbing trends:

  • 16 percent of adults who drink report drinking more during the holidays;
  • 22 percent of partygoers have felt pressure to drink from friends;
  • Half of people admit that alcohol is a key component of family gatherings;
  • 96 percent of adults either went to work hungover, or knew of someone who did.

DUI Manslaughter

A conviction for DUI manslaughter will result in the immediate revocation of the driver’s license, and a minimum sentence of 4 years incarceration, although most sentences are much longer. Although knowing the perpetrator of this crime is being punished brings some level of satisfaction for the families of victims, it is often empty justice when facing funeral costs and living expenses after the death of a loved one. In some cases, filing a wrongful death suit may help with the financial impacts, at a minimum.

Wrongful Death

Florida statute allows for beneficiaries to file a wrongful death claim when a family member dies due to the negligence of another person, such an impaired driver. Generally, such a lawsuit must be filed within four years of the death in order to have bearing in a Florida court. Once a claim is filed, a successful lawsuit can result in several categories of damages that may be recovered:

  • Funeral costs;
  • Medical costs associated with the accident;
  • Lost wages and benefits;
  • Lost future wages;
  • Loss of guidance or companionship;
  • The cost of services provided by the deceased;
  • Mental pain and suffering.

Support for Grieving Families

More than ever, when families lose a loved one they need emotional, financial, and yes, legal support. At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we have years of experience dealing with wrongful death cases. We understand the grieving that families experience, and we understand the need for justice. Beyond that, we understand the fear associated with an economically devastating loss. Let us help you recover the financial support you deserve. Contact us today in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a no-cost, personalized consultation.