Potential Problems for Broward County Drunk Driver Who Hit Fire Hydrant are More Than Just Criminal

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

On February 24, 2014, Ivanka Cancic allegedly hit a pedestrian in Lauderhill, Florida located in Broward County while she was drinking and driving.  She fled the scene of that accident and was later seen driving erratically when she struck a city fire hydrant and then a tree.  As a result of hitting the fire hydrant, multiple streets flooded and a large sink hole opened up which swallowed at least one car which was parked on the street.  Cancic was arrested for DUI and driving on a license which was suspended due to prior DUI's. 

While the criminal charges that she is  facing for drinking and driving are somewhat obvious, she is facing relatively significant financial liability claims due to the damage which she caused, both to private and to public property.

Cancic would most likely be liable to the pedestrian which she hit while drinking and driving for any injuries that person may have gotten and other things which resulted from that injury such as lost wages and possibly pain and suffering.

However, it is the property damage which may prove to be even more costly in this case.  It is very likely that she is going to be financially responsible for the damage to public property which resulted from her hitting the fire hydrant.  It has been common for decades for states to charge people who were involved in accidents with property damage which resulted from that accident.  Most often this is used to bill for destroyed guard rails.  Florida, in particular, has been cracking down on drivers who damage public property in motor vehicle accidents in response to the millions that has to be spent every year repairing that damage.  The state would likely collect for any sort of damage related to a motor vehicle accident including striking street signs, light poles or, in this case, fire hydrants.

The fire hydrant that was struck is not the only damage to public property that was caused by this accident.  There was also a pretty significant sink hole, which will likely cost even more to repair than the hydrant.  Just as Cancic would be responsible for the hydrant that she struck, it is very possible that she would also be responsible for repairing the severely damaged street that was the direct cause of her striking that hydrant.  There would be other personal liability for private property damage in this case as well, stemming from people who had flood damage or lost cars due to the flooding.  She could even be liable for the damage or loss of the tree which she struck.

When the damage caused by this specific accident is taken as a whole, it is pretty substantial.  The chances of Cancic being covered by some sort of liability insurance seems unlikely as well, meaning that she may end up being personally responsible for all of these expenses.