A 19-year-old woman was killed and four other people, including a suspected drunk driver, were hospitalized following a crash on North West Hillsboro Boulevard in Deerfield Beach on Sunday.
The accident involved two vehicles - a BMW 530i sedan and a Tesla Model 3. The crash happened at around 4 a.m. in the westbound side of West Hillsboro Boulevard, near North Powerline Road and Country Club Boulevard.
The 19-year-old victim was a passenger in the Tesla and has been identified as Thais Haug of Deerfield Beach.
20-year-old Raphael Candido Vilela was driving the BMW westbound on Hillsboro Boulevard and crashed into 18-year-old Sebastian Espinoza's Tesla in the intersection with Country Club Boulevard.
Everyone injured in the crash was rushed to Broward Health North. Vilela was listed in critical condition. He is expected to be charged with multiple offenses, including vehicular homicide; DUI causing death, serious bodily injury and property damage; an expired driver's license, and reckless driving.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard represents drunk driving accident victims and their families in civil lawsuits, helping them fight for the financial compensation they deserve. We've asked Michael to share some thoughts on the legal options available to these victims and families in Florida:
If you or someone you love has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you're likely wondering about your family's legal options. In Florida, as in all other states, people injured by drunk drivers may file personal injury lawsuits against the drunk driver. For fatal accidents, the family of the victim may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, there are some situations where Florida residents can file lawsuits against alcohol vendors who served the drunk driver prior to the crash.
This third type of lawsuit is known as a dram shop claim. According to Florida's dram shop laws, alcohol vendors can be sued for drunk driving accidents caused by their customers if:
If either of these circumstances applies, the alcohol vendor may be held liable for injuries caused by the customer in an alcohol-related accident.