Impaired drivers put everyone on Atlanta’s roads at risk. A drunk driving accident can change your life within seconds, and you should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes.
Our drunk driving accident attorneys in Atlanta have been helping injury victims for over 20 years. We know how painful and overwhelming being hit by a drunk driver can be, and we are dedicated to protecting your rights.
Our firm doesn’t charge a fee unless we win you money, so there is no risk. To schedule a free consultation and get your questions answered today with no upfront cost, call or contact us online.
What Drunk Driving Means in Georgia
Drunk driving refers to driving under the influence of alcohol. According to Georgia Code §40-6-391, no one should operate a motor vehicle if they:
- Are under the influence of alcohol to the point where it’s less safe for them to drive
- Are under the influence of a combination of two or more forms of alcohol, drugs, or toxic vapors to the point where it affects their ability to drive
- Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher within three hours of driving
- Are less than 21 years old and have a BAC of 0.02% or higher within three hours of driving
Driving under the influence (DUI) can refer to being impaired by drugs or other substances that prevent you from driving safely. This can also include prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs that cause drowsiness or other symptoms that make the user unfit to drive.
Why Drunk Drivers in Atlanta Are so Dangerous
Often, people who drink are more impaired than they realize. Even if someone feels fit to drive safely, they might have blood alcohol levels high enough to cause severe impairment.
Alcohol can affect a driver’s:
- Visual functions
- Mood, leading to road rage
- Steering ability
- Ability to multitask
- Speed control
- Ability to drive in a straight line
All drivers in Atlanta have a duty to drive safely so that others don’t become harmed. If someone decides to drink and drive, they have been incredibly negligent, which means they are responsible for any resulting accidents.
Compensation for Drunk Driving Accident Victims
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident in Atlanta, the drunk driver should be held responsible. You can file an insurance claim or take them to civil court to recover money to pay for the following accident-related expenses.
Economic damages are the quantifiable losses that you endured because of your accident. In other words, these expenses have a fixed dollar value that is indisputable. You can prove how much they cost you by producing an invoice or receipt.
Examples of economic damages include the cost of:
- Doctor bills
- Prescription medications
- Medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages if you must miss work
- Vehicle replacement or repair
Losses that do not have a fixed price are known as non-economic damages. These are harder to prove because there is no receipt or invoice to verify what they are worth. However, a drunk driving accident lawyer in Atlanta can help you come up with a reasonable estimate.
Non-economic damages can include things like:
- Emotional trauma: After a drunk driving accident, you may experience anxiety that impacts your ability to drive again or resume a normal life.
- Pain and suffering: Your car accident injuries can result in severe pain, discomfort, or disfigurement.
- Wrongful death: If a family member dies in the accident, you deserve compensation for your loss.
- Loss of enjoyment: Long-term injury or disfigurement can rob you of your ability to enjoy life the way you used to.
The courts consider drunk driving accidents to be particularly egregious because of the extreme lack of care shown by the driver. Therefore, the judge in your case may punish the at-fault party by ordering them to pay compensation over and above your actual losses in the form of punitive damages.
An Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer can help you build a case to seek maximum compensation after your accident.
Common Injuries from Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving can lead to a dangerous collision that results in painful and life-altering injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Damaged organs
- Nerve damage resulting in paralysis
- Loss of limbs
- Scarring and disfigurement
Even minor injuries can develop into significant conditions after a drunk driving accident. No matter how you were injured, you may have a legal case. Your lawyer can determine the full extent of your damages so you know what compensation you are entitled to receive.
There are legal experts specialized in the main types of injuries you can sustain in a car crash. Therefore, if you have suffered the loss of limbs in a collision, consider contacting an Atlanta loss of limbs accident lawyer.
Who Else Can Be Held Liable for My Accident?
The liability of a drunk driver is rarely in question after a crash because they are breaking the law simply by being behind the wheel. However, drunk drivers are not automatically at fault in all car accidents in Georgia.
Others who share the responsibility could be named in your lawsuit as well. For example, you may be able to sue:
- The owner of a business that sold alcohol to the driver: Under Georgia’s dram shop law, a bar or store owner can be held liable for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person who later causes a crash.
- The person who served alcohol to the driver: Bartenders and waitstaff are supposed to refuse service to customers who are already visibly drunk. If they neglect this duty, they could be partially responsible if an accident occurs as a result.
- The host of a party who served alcohol: If a person knowingly furnished alcohol to someone under age 21 who later caused your accident, they could also be found liable by the courts.
An Atlanta multiple-party accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding your case to determine all liable parties.
What to Do After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver in Atlanta
If you were hurt in a drunk driving accident in Atlanta, your well-being is the number one priority. Get immediate medical attention for any severe or life-threatening injuries. Call 911 or have someone else call for an ambulance so you get the treatment you need.
If you are well enough to remain at the scene, here are some actions you can take to begin building your case.
Call the Police
You should report any accident in Georgia with injuries or more than $500 in property damage to the police. Call the police right away to report the accident so that authorities know it happened.
Officers should arrive at the scene and create an accident report of the crash. This will be crucial evidence to support your case.
Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of:
- Your injuries
- Your vehicle’s damage
- The entire accident scene
If the drunk driver acts aggressively or exhibits impaired behavior, you might try to take a video of their actions. But only do this if you feel it’s safe.
If the other driver is safe to approach, exchange the following information with them:
- First and last name
- Contact information
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance information
You might also take a picture of the driver’s vehicle and license plate. This will help you identify them if they attempt to drive off, which is more likely with impaired drivers.
Talk to Witnesses
If anyone else saw your accident happen or noticed the other driver’s actions, ask for their contact information. They might be beneficial in corroborating your account of the accident.
Go to a Doctor
If you did not get medical attention at the time of the accident, see a doctor as soon as possible after leaving the scene. If you wait too long, the other driver’s insurance company might doubt your injuries or try to say you were not hurt as badly during the crash as you claim.
Seeing a doctor will also give you a good idea of how seriously you were hurt, which will help you know what your future medical costs will look like. It will also help your drunk driving accident attorney in Atlanta to prove the severity of your injuries when filing a claim.
Time Is Limited on Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim
The statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Georgia is two years from the date of the injury. This means you only have two years to file your claim, and there are many steps to take in the process.
It’s best to reach out to a lawyer right away, so they can help you stay on track and build the most robust case possible.
Drunk Driving Accident Claim FAQ
Drunk driving accidents have been known to produce devastating and life-threatening injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a drunk driving collision, you may have many unanswered questions about what to expect next. For this reason, we have answered some of the more frequently asked questions surrounding drunk driving accident claims across Atlanta.
If you have additional questions we did not cover on this page, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your specific concerns in greater detail.
How Do Insurance Companies Handle Drunk Driving Accident Claims?
After being involved in a drunk driving accident, you may be wondering how you are going to recover the compensation you need to cover your costs. Georgia requires all drivers to purchase a minimum of $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage. This is in addition to the $25,000 and property damage liability coverage all motorists are required to purchase.
When you were involved in a collision with a drunk driver, you will have the opportunity to file a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company, as long as they purchase auto insurance coverage as required by law. However, do not be surprised if the insurance company attempts to deny you the compensation that is rightfully yours. Insurance companies will often stipulate that insurance coverage is not in effect if the driver is under the influence at the time of the accident.
Your attorney will need to closely evaluate the policyholder‘s auto insurance policy to determine whether this is true for your case. Even if the drunk driver has auto insurance coverage that should protect you in the event of a drunk driving accident, insurance companies will likely attempt to reduce their financial obligation wherever possible. You will need to take steps to protect yourself by having your Atlanta drunk driver accident attorney negotiate with the insurer on your behalf.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
After being injured in a collision with a drunk driver, the last thing on your mind may be bringing your case to court. When you are suffering from the fallout of your injuries, going to trial can seem overwhelming. Unfortunately, going to court is often one of the top ways drunk driver accident victims can recover the compensation they’re entitled to.
Some parties may be able to obtain an insurance settlement that covers their damages in full. However, since the types of damages and amount of coverage you can recover through the insurance company will be dependent on what the policyholder purchased, you may find your insurance settlement lacking.
If the insurance company is not required to cover your damages in their entirety, bringing your case to trial could be your last option. You can find out more about whether you should expect to bring your case to court after you discuss the specific details of your case with your drunk driver accident lawyer in Atlanta.
What Will My Insurance Settlement Cover?
It is difficult to say what your insurance settlement would cover. All motorists are required to purchase the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage under the law.
However, if the defendant only purchased the minimum amount of coverage, and your damages exceed this limit, you may find yourself with excess damages that the insurance company is not obligated to cover.
Often, insurance companies will only provide compensation for your vehicle repairs or damages and your medical expenses. However, the amount of compensation they’re willing to pay out will be directly dependent on the level of insurance coverage the policyholder purchased. Your remaining economic damages and all of your non-economic damages could only be recoverable through a civil lawsuit.
What Happens if the Drunk Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
It is more common than you might have thought for drunk drivers to also fail to carry the necessary auto insurance coverage under the law. When this happens, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the liable party and recover maximum compensation for your damages. However, if another party is at fault for your injuries, such as a local dram shop, you may still be able to file a claim with the dram shop establishment’s insurance company.
You might also be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. However, since personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not required under Georgia laws, and you are not typically required to file a claim with your own insurance company, this may be a lesser-known option.
There are some disadvantages to filing a claim with your own insurer, however. The insurance company will likely increase the amount of your total insurance premium when your policy renews if you file a claim. For this reason, it may not be in your best interest to pursue a claim with your own insurer.
What Should I Expect from the Defense Team?
The drunk driver and other liable parties are likely to take steps to reduce their financial obligation wherever they can. You can expect the defendant to attempt to blame you for causing your injuries. Since Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system, sharing liability could reduce the amount of compensation you are awarded.
The defendant may argue that you were not wearing your seatbelt, drowsy, distracted, or otherwise partially at fault for the injuries you sustained. If you are found partially responsible for your injuries, you can expect your injury settlement to reflect the shared fault deduction that accounts for your percentage of liability.
You can find out how significantly your drunk driver accident claim could be affected by Georgia shared fault laws when you contact your drunk driver accident lawyer for legal guidance and support.
Get a Free Consultation with an Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
Do not get stuck paying for the costs of an accident caused by a drunk driver. Your Atlanta drunk driving accident attorney can help you gather evidence, build an insurance claim, and hold the driver accountable. You might even be able to take the driver to court for their mistakes, and we can help you every step of the way.
Call us or contact us online today to learn more and schedule a free consultation. We have more than 20 years of experience helping accident victims like yourself, and we are dedicated to getting you the recovery you need and deserve.