Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. Any driver in Georgia who is intoxicated or has a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater can be arrested for drunk driving. However, despite laws prohibiting drunk driving, people still do it every day, putting themselves, their passengers, and other drivers in danger.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, you understand the devastation that arises when you realize that the crash, injury, or death could have easily been prevented. Although no amount of compensation can bring back a family member or heal your injuries, holding the other party liable for your condition can help you to obtain the financial means necessary to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the crash. Van Sant Law is the drunk driving accident lawyer Atlanta victims and their loved ones trust for compassionate representation and strong advocacy.Drunk Driving Statistics
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Georgia has excellent enforcement of its laws pertaining to drunk driving. However, it is one of a handful of states that does not allow the use of ignition interlocks for first-time offenders.
In 2012, MADD reported the following in Georgia:
- 301 drunk driving fatalities, or 25 percent, of all total traffic deaths (.08 BAC or higher)
- 11 percent increase in drunk driving fatalities
- 5,700 alcohol-related injuries (.01 BAC or higher)
- 9,041 alcohol-related crashes (.01 BAC or higher)
While any type of car crash can be devastating and cause permanent injuries or death, a drunk driving accident is particularly detrimental to those involved, as drunk drivers are often unable to react quickly enough to swerve or avoid crashing into another vehicle at the last moment.Drunk driving incidents often cause severe injuries such as:
- Soft tissue damage
- Bone fractures
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Injuries sustained in drunk driving crashes can range from mild to severe, but many can cause significant pain and lifelong complications for victims. In some cases, an individual may be permanently disfigured, paralyzed, or hurt in a way that will limit his or her ability to work.
Victims of drunk driving who have been injured and are suffering from a drastic reduction in their quality of life may consider pursuing a claim against the party responsible to seek compensation for lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and medical expenses such as long-term care, rehabilitation, therapy, treatments, or surgeries.
Additionally, in the event that a drunk driving accident causes a fatality, the surviving family members may be eligible to pursue a claim for loss of consortium or companionship, medical expenses, funeral or burial costs, or loss of income if the decedent was the primary wage-earner of the household. A Georgia drunk driving accident lawyer can help you understand and pursue your rights.
I Was in an Accident Involving a Drunk Driver. What Should I Do?
After any type of injury accident, the most important thing to do immediately is contact the police to report the incident. If law enforcement has probable cause to believe that the other driver was drunk or under the influence, the perpetrator can be arrested. Calling 911 to report your accident can also ensure an ambulance is dispatched, so trained medical professionals can assess victims’ injuries and begin providing needed care.
If you’re able to do so without risk of further injury, gathering evidence at the scene of the crime can assist your drunk driving accident lawyer with your case. Taking photos of the vehicles and of your injuries (or the injuries of your passengers, if applicable) documenting the names and contact information for witnesses, recording witness’s statements, and capturing photos or videos of the accident scene itself can be useful in helping you obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive under Georgia law.
You will also need to contact your insurance company to report the accident and arrange to have your vehicle repaired. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with understanding your legal rights and can handle communications and negotiations with the responsible party’s insurer, removing some of the stress from your shoulders so you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Georgia?
Yes. It is completely understandable if contacting an attorney is not the first thing you want to do after receiving medical care for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. However, there is a danger that waiting too long to take action could result in your claim being barred by the “rule against perpetuities.” In Georgia, an accident victim or surviving family members generally have two years after the date of the accident in which to file a lawsuit against the responsible drunk driver. In some cases, though, that time frame is extended to allow for criminal prosecution of the driver. In that case, the two-year period starts after the criminal prosecution is over (up to six years after the accident.)
While two years sounds like a lot of time, it is important to reach out to a drunk driving accident attorney sooner rather than later. That’s because it is easier to gather and preserve evidence closer to the date of the accident. Your attorney can help you understand the applicable time frames and filing deadlines specific to your potential claim for damages.
Who Is the Defendant If I File a Claim for Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident?
While the driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident is obviously responsible, there may be other potential defendants against whom you may have a legal claim. In addition to the driver and his or her insurance company, you may also have a claim against a relative residing in the driver’s home. What’s more, you may have a legal claim against the bar, restaurant, other establishment, or individual who served alcohol to the driver, if applicable.
When a drunk driver is uninsured or underinsured, victims should also be able to recover compensation from their own insurance policies. Some victims are also able to obtain monetary compensation from the Georgia Crime Victim Compensation Fund.
Your drunk driving accident attorney will work to understand all relevant facts and circumstances to identify all parties who bear liability and hold them responsible.Have You Been Injured In A Georgia Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a Georgia car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855-GA-INJURY or 404-991-5950 to schedule your free consultation with an Atlanta DUI injury lawyer.