Florida attracts many permanent residents, retirees and tourists every year. As a southern, coastal state, its scenic features and amenities make for a desirable vacation location or year-round residence choice. Sarasota, in fact, was recently voted one of the best places to live in the United States. However, it was also voted as a high-risk area for fatal personal injury involving drunk driving collisions.

Lakeland is another city that reportedly ranks high for DUI deaths, although Sarasota has had twice as many fatalities as Lakeland. In fact, over the past three years, on average, there have been approximately 12 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents in Sarasota. Travelers will certainly want to do what they can to reduce the risk of becoming involved in an alcohol-related collision.

Last month, a couple died when a 20-year-old intoxicated driver ran into them as they stood outside a tourist park. Only a week later, another fatality occurred when a 19-year-old woman police say had been drinking lost steering control and flipped her SUV. A teenager died and 11 other passengers in the vehicle at the time suffered injuries.

When a personal injury or death occurs because of a drunk driver, Florida law allows a recovering victim or an immediate family member of a deceased victim to file a legal claim against the person deemed responsible for the incident. Some people hesitate to file such claims, thinking no amount of litigation can erase a physical injury or replace a lost human life. However, in many cases, court-awarded compensation is the only means victims or families have to help cover expenses associated with medical bills, funeral expenses and other economic damages.