Fighting for Compensation for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents in Atlanta
Table of Contents
- What are Georgia’s Laws on Driving Drunk or Impaired?
- Proving Negligence & Causation in DUI/DWI Injury Cases
- Damages and Compensation After Being Hit by a Drunk or Impaired Driver in Georgia
- Types of Injuries Suffered in DUI/DWI Wrecks
- Further Reading on Georgia Drunk & Impaired Driving Accident Injuries
Being in a car crash can be frustrating enough, but that is only compounded when the victim is hit by a drunk driver who is Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or who has taken drugs and is Driving While Impaired (DWI).
Moreover, these drunk driving collisions often result in catastrophic injuries and even death, changing the lives of innocent victims and their families forever.
For over 35 years, the Atlanta car accident injury attorneys at Apolinsky & Associates have fought to recover compensation and damages for these victims, whose lives were forever impacted by the negligence of a drunk or impaired driver in Georgia.
What are Georgia’s Laws on Driving Drunk or Impaired?
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.
Proving Negligence & Causation in DUI/DWI Injury Cases
Proving your case is essential to winning and getting fair compensation. In order to establish that negligence played a factor in your case, you will need to establish that:
- A duty of care existed, and the defendant owed you a level of responsibility.
- The defendant breached the duty of care and responsibility.
- That breach directly caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages that resulted from the breach of care.
Under GA Code § 9-3-33, the statute of limitations holds that injured parties have two years to bring personal injury claims forward. After two years, a court will dismiss your claim. Oftentimes, insurance companies will engage in stalling techniques to avoid paying you anything. It is important to begin working with a qualified auto accident injury attorney who’s experienced in dealing with drunk or impaired driving injury cases as soon as possible to build your case.
In the event of a DUI-related car accident that results in injury, the victim’s attorney will take special care to ensure all of the relevant facts are presented to the jury. The most obvious way to determine the defendant’s intoxication is via the police report, however, there is other important information that can be uncovered:
- Medical records.
- Testimony unearthed in discovery.
These can provide tremendously valuable insight for your case and the potential damages and compensation that can be recovered.
Damages and Compensation After Being Hit by a Drunk or Impaired Driver in Georgia
Drunk driving crashes can result in devastating injuries. In many cases, these crashes occur at high rates of speed, and unsuspecting victims have little or no way to protect themselves.
In Georgia, injured victims of drunk driving crashes may be entitled to compensation for both out-of-pocket expenses as well as financial relief for any intangible damages including:
- 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.
- Wrongful death.
Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Injury Cases
As a general rule, the financial relief paid out in Georgia personal injury cases is meant to be purely compensatory in nature. In other words, injured victims are typically granted compensation only for their specific damages. These damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff, not ‘punish’ the defendant. However, there are some exceptions – and drunk driving claims may fall into that category.
Specifically, we’re talking about punitive damages. Sometimes called exemplary damages or vindictive damages, punitive damages must be requested at the outset of trial. They aren’t tied directly to the victim’s losses. Instead, they are intended to punish the exceptionally reckless behavior of the defendant, thereby serving as a disincentive against similar wrongful behavior among others in the future.
Punitive damages can significantly increase the amount of compensation to which one is entitled. Such claims must be handled carefully. It is inadvisable to attempt the pursuit of a punitive damages claim (or any involving serious injuries) on your own without a lawyer.