Drunk driving accidents are a serious threat in Norcross. Nationwide, roughly one person every 50 minutes is killed by a drunk driver. They also cause countless additional injuries that can affect victims for the rest of their lives. If your life has been devastated by a drunk driver, you need to know you have legal options. It’s time to speak with a Norcross drunk driving accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Our attorneys can help you. We take the time to really sit down with you, and we listen to your pain and what you need to get out of your accident claim. And we have more than 20 years of experience fighting and winning claims against drunk drivers. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
What does driving impaired mean?
Drunk driving is by far the most common form of impaired driving, But, you can be impaired for other reasons as well. For example, mixing even standard recommended doses of prescription drugs with other drugs or alcohol can lead to side effects that can severely limit your ability to drive.
Impaired driving is usually due to:
- Drugs (legal or illegal)
- Medical conditions that affect your driving
- Sleepiness or fatigue
Alcohol is far easier to test compared to other forms of impaired driving, which may be why driving under the influence charges based on alcohol are so common. But, just because a police officer can’t test for a substance right away doesn’t mean that the driver wasn’t impaired. Medical records, later testing, and information about alcohol and drug habits can all be helpful to show that a driver was impaired at the time of the accident.
How does alcohol affect the ability to drive?
When you drink, some of the most critical skills you need to drive are inhibited. This effect starts to occur even when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) is below the legal limit. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 2016 saw 2,017 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where the driver’s BAC was below 0.08, which is the legal limit for of-age adults in all states. Those accidents accounted for about 20% of all alcohol-related crashes that year.
Even with a .02 BAC, you may experience:
- Loss of judgment
- Altered mood
When a driver gets behind the wheel in this state, they have a decline in the ability to see moving targets, such as other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Drivers will also likely struggle with the ability to multi-task effectively.
At .05 BAC, alcohol’s side effects also include:
- Exaggerated behavior
- Trouble focusing your eyes (loss of small-muscle control)
- Lowered alertness
- Release of inhibition (and impaired judgment)
Some of these side effects are concerning for drivers in and of themselves. But, behind the wheel, drivers may have trouble steering and their response time for emergency situations will be reduced as well. They also have lowered coordination too.
At .08 BAC, you will likely experience:
- Poor muscle coordination (balance issues, poor vision, speech, and reaction time)
- Increased problems detecting danger or emergencies
- Problems with reasoning, self-control, and memory
Drivers with a BAC of .08 have trouble controlling their speed. They can’t concentrate on the road or things around them well. They will have problems processing information, such as detecting traffic signals and signs, blinkers, brake lights, and other warning devices.
Of course, as a driver’s BAC increases, their ability to function decreases, especially when it comes to operating a vehicle. Swerving becomes more common, and drivers will have trouble focusing and controlling their vehicle well enough to prevent an accident.
How can I prove that a driver was drunk at the time of the accident?
When the involvement of alcohol or another drug is suspected, law enforcement officers will usually test drivers for their BAC after an accident. Many police departments will automatically do this test as a matter of course after every crash that involves injury or death. You can usually get this testing information directly from the police. But, they may be unwilling to give it to you unless you have already started a lawsuit or, at least, retained an attorney.
In many situations, there will be a criminal case in addition to your civil suit. You can sometimes use information and evidence presented in the criminal case for your personal injury claim, including testing information. But, if a driver was convicted of drunk driving, that conviction may be even more valuable to your case than getting the testing results.
A conviction or guilty plea in criminal court means that the driver was impaired at the time of the crash “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It almost functions like an admission in your civil case. It can be very helpful to present your case to a judge, jury, or even an insurance company. Criminal courts use a higher standard of proof compared to civil cases. That means that a conviction in criminal court is very powerful evidence in your drunk driving accident case.
Even if the driver was not convicted, you can still bring a personal injury case. In some situations, the driver may not have a BAC of 0.08 for a drunk driving charge, but they may be impaired enough to cause an accident that results in damages. In that case, the testing information can be very important.
There are also other ways to prove someone was drunk if you don’t have test results. Your drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to help you gather evidence to make this type of argument.
Talk to a Norcross Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
If you’re ready to take the next step to learn more about your legal options after a drunk driving accident, our lawyers are prepared to help. We have over 20 years of experience that we can put to good use for you and your family. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.