Watch out for Florida's alcohol or drug defense to your Personal Injury claim
Fla. Stat. s. 768.36 Alcohol or Drug DefenseFlorida Statutes ?768.36 states as follows: In any civil action, a plaintiff may not recover any damages for loss or injury to his or her person or property if the trier of fact finds that, at the time the plaintiff was injured:
(a) The plaintiff was under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug to the extent that the plaintiff's normal faculties were impaired or the plaintiff had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher; and
(b) As a result of the influence of such alcoholic beverage or drug the plaintiff was more than 50 percent at fault for his or her own harm.
How it's used against you in courtOrdinarily, a Plaintiff with $1,000,000 in damages could still recover $400,000 even if he were found to be 60% at fault for his own injuries. An example would be if a person were seriously hurt while speeding as he collided into the back of a semi truck with no lights on at night. The jury, as fact-finder, would apportion fault between the two parties.
So, if the semi truck's insurance company's lawyers can convince the jury that the Plaintiff was legally impaired AND that, as a result, he was more than 50% at fault for his injuries, then even a $1,000,000 verdict becomes a $0 final judgment.
Insurance companies love this defense because, barring a blood or breath alcohol test, this defense usually turns on subjective witness testimony about the Plaintiff's normal faculties being impaired which gives them a chance to save their money, no matter how injured the victim is.