Drunk driving is a very serious public safety problem in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. Despite strong anti-drunk driving laws and extensive public awareness campaigns, far too many people still get behind the wheel of their car after having too much to drink. The consequences of this unsafe action can be catastrophic.
Northern Georgia sees more than its fair share of serious DUI accidents. According to data provided by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, nearly 400 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in the state in 2015. To put this figure into the perspective, this means that nearly 30 percent of all deadly traffic accidents in Georgia involve a drunk driver. Many thousands of other DUI accident victims are left needing long-term medical treatment to deal with their devastating injuries.
At Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, our founding attorney Stephen D. Apolinsky and our skilled Atlanta car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured drunk driving accident victims. In the unfortunate event that you or a family member has been severely injured in a crash with an intoxicated driver, you need an aggressive legal advocate by your side. Please contact our Atlanta drunk driving accident attorneys today for immediate assistance with your legal claim.
Victims Have Limited Time to Take Legal Action
Under Georgia state law (Ga. Code Ann. Sec. 51-12-33), injured victims only have a limited amount of time to bring a legal claim. In most drunk driving accident injury cases, the victim has two years from the date of their wreck to file a lawsuit. If no claim has been initiated in that period of time, then the victim may be legally barred from bringing a lawsuit at all. Do not let yourself miss out on compensation: contact an experienced Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer immediately after your crash. Your lawyer will be able to ensure that your rights and interests are being protected.
Drunk Driving Accident Victims Deserve Fair Compensation
Sadly, drunk driving crashes can result in devastating injuries. In many cases, these crashes occur at high rates of speed, and unexpecting victims have little or no way to protect themselves. If you were the victim of a DUI crash in Georgia, you need to be able to get full and fair financial compensation for your losses. This means compensation for any out-of-pocket expenses as well as financial relief for any intangible damages. Yet, the insurance companies are not going to be eager to pay you. Injured victims should be represented by a highly skilled Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer who has the experience needed to hold the insurance company accountable. At Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, we can help Georgia DUI accident victims recover money for:
- Vehicle repairs;
- Vehicle replacement;
- Ambulance costs;
- Emergency room fees;
- All other hospital bills;
- Required physical therapy;
- Mental health counseling;
- Lost income;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Loss of limb; and
- Wrongful death.
Punitive Damages May Be Available
As a general rule, the financial relief paid out in Georgia personal injury case is meant to be purely compensatory in nature. In other words, injured victims are typically granted compensation only for their specific damages; compensation is not issued in order to ‘punish’ the defendant. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.
Specifically, punitive damages can sometimes be awarded in DUI accidents claims in which the victim has sustained catastrophic injuries. Punitive damages are not tied directly to this victim’s losses, but are instead designed to punish the exceptionally reckless behavior of the defendant, thereby further disincentivizing similar wrongful behavior among others in the future. If you were severely hurt in an Atlanta DUI crash, you may be entitled to receive punitive damages.
How to Build a Successful Drunk Driving Accident Claim
In Georgia, the vast majority of car accident injury claims are brought under the state’s negligence statute (Ga. Code Ann. Sec. 51-12-33). To hold another party legally liable for your accident, you must be able to prove that their negligent actions contributed to causing your crash. Intoxicated driving is a clear example of negligence.
Of course, in Georgia, a DUI is also a very serious criminal offense. State or local prosecutors may bring criminal charges against the drunk driver who caused your accident. It must be made clear that criminal cases and civil cases are distinct legal actions. While the evidence of a criminal conviction may be admitted into your personal injury case, you still need to work with an Atlanta DUI accident lawyer who will build a very strong claim on your behalf.
Why Drunk Driving Accidents Victims Need to Be Skeptical of Insurance Companies
Big insurance companies handle many different legal cases. Ultimately, the goal of these companies is to protect their own bottom line. If they can settle your drunk driving accident claim for less than its full value, they will likely attempt to do so. There are many different tactics and strategies that insurance companies use to pursue these financial interests.
To start, insurers put a lot of money into training their adjusters and representatives to serve the company. As a drunk driving accident victim, you need cannot rely on insurance adjusters for guidance through the personal injury claims process. You should be represented by your own car accident lawyer. To help you, our personal injury team has put together a list of four important tips that all car accident victims need to keep in mind when handling insurance adjusters:
Do Not Give a Statement
Often, drunk driving accident victims will report that they have received a phone call from the opposing insurance company soon after their accident. Please be aware that you are under no obligation to give a statement to the other insurance company. The best thing you can do to protect your rights is to avoid talking to insurance adjusters.
Get Documents to Your Lawyer
You should not sign any documents, whether a final settlement offer or a release for your medical records, without first having those documents reviewed by an Atlanta personal injury attorney. Your attorney will make sure that signing is actually in your best interests.
Be Patient in Settlement
Unsurprisingly, big insurance companies do not tend to lead with their best and final settlement offer at the beginning of the claims process. You deserve full compensation for your injuries. Be patient.
Work Through Your Lawyer
The best thing that you can do following a serious accident is to get a professional advocate by your side. Please work with an Atlanta car accident lawyer who has extensive experience handling DUI accident claims.
Contact Our Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Today
At Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, our Atlanta car crash attorneys have deep experience handling drunk driving accident claims. If you or a family member was injured in a crash with an intoxicated driver in Georgia, we can help. Please contact our legal team today to schedule a free review of your case. We have offices in Atlanta and Decatur and we represent drunk driving accident victims throughout Georgia, including in Marietta, Alpharetta, Druid Hills, and Conyers.
The foregoing answer is not legal advice and is merely a general overview. You are advised to consult a lawyer to address your specific situation. Feel free to send comments or questions to: email@example.com of Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, or call (404) 377-9191.