Unfortunately, drunk driving is all too common in Mableton and Cobb County, and in the Atlanta metro area in general. Just look at all of the DUI driving schools. Of course, we are not alone in this problem — it’s a nationwide issue.
According to the most recent statistics from 2016, Georgia had 368 fatalities in drunk driving accidents. That’s more than one fatality a day, And a whopping 66% of those drunk drivers had a high blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or above. That same year, Georgia authorities arrested nearly 19,000 people for driving under the influence.
And there are plenty of lawyers who defend those drunk drivers. But what about people who were injured in an accident with a drunk driver? Who looks out for them? Our Mableton accident law firm helps people who have been injured in drunk driving accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, speaking with one of our experienced Mableton drunk driving accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you need. If you lost a loved one in a fatal drunk driving accident, we extend our condolences. While we know no amount of money can possibly compensate you for the loss of a loved one, a successful wrongful death claim can go a long way towards paying for funeral expenses, outstanding medical bills, and future expenses.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer If the Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
As an accident injury law firm, we would argue that you need a lawyer if you’ve been injured in any sort of traffic accident. But drunk driving cases are especially complex, because they involve criminal charges as well as the insurance claim. A good Mableton drunk driving lawyer will be able to help you with both aspects of your case.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
In the vast majority of traffic accidents involving injuries, you, the injured party, file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But many times, an insurance company will try to offer you a settlement that falls short of what you need to cover your damages. And in fact, you may not have taken into consideration all of the damages you can claim. Having a lawyer on your side shows the insurance company you mean business, and they may negotiate a higher settlement. And if the insurance company refuses to negotiate, we can always take them to court.
Whatever you do, don’t accept a settlement offer without consulting an accident lawyer first.
The Criminal Case Affects Your Case and the Damages You Can Collect
If the other driver was charged with DUI, and they are convicted, that strengthens your case. Drunk drivers are almost always found to be at fault in any accident they were involved in. And since it’s a criminal case, the police and the prosecutor put together all of the evidence you need to file a claim. A conviction proves to the insurance company that the courts found the intoxicated driver at fault, and casts you as the innocent victim you are.
If the other driver is convicted of DUI, under Georgia law, you will then be entitled to collect punitive damages. The law uses punitive damages to punish the driver for willfully putting the lives of others in danger. And there is no dollar limit to the amount of punitive damages you can claim.
What Are the Damages I Can Claim in a Drunk Driving Accident?
In a nutshell, you can claim compensatory damages, which include financial damages and property damage; and punitive damages after a drunk driving accident.
Financial damages include getting reimbursed for any expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, including:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, doctors bills, and medication.
- Lost wages, if you were out of work and not collecting a paycheck because of the accident or can no longer work and deserve compensation for lost future wages.
- Pain and suffering
Property damages include things like the cost to repair your car, or replace it if it was totaled. Property damages would also include anything that was inside your vehicle that was damaged or lost in the accident. Sometimes drunk drivers drive through people’s yards and hit houses. Any damage to your home or property would also be covered.
We discussed this a bit above. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help you file for punitive damages.
Drunk Driving and DUI
Drunk driving is driving while intoxicated, and the driver would be charged with DUI, or driving under the influence (of alcohol). But DUI charges can apply to a driver under the influence of a number of substances, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs. If what they have in their system is enough to impair their driving capabilities, they can face a DUI charge.
As far as filing an insurance claim or suing for punitive damages, drunk driving and DUI are treated the same under Georgia law.
Talk to a Mableton Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
If you or a loved one was injured when a drunk driver crashed into you, speaking with a Mableton drunk driving accident lawyer may be the smartest move you make. Our lawyers have been helping drunk driving accident victims for decades, and we’d like to put our experience to work for you. Let us give you a FREE case assessment to help you understand what your rights are and what to do next in your case.