We often thing of drink driving accidents as something that happens to other people. If you live in Stone Mountain, you may have seen DUI accidents in the news, but you may never have expected to be in one yourself—especially if you’re always careful not to drink and drive. Unfortunately, not everyone is that careful. And when you or a loved one get hit by a drunk driver, it can be devastating. You don’t have to face it alone.
Our Stone Mountain drunk driving accident lawyers can help you. We will put you together with some of the top attorneys in the state—a legal team with over 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victim and making drunk drivers pay. We understand what it’s like to deal with the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, because we have helped countless families go through this process. Get a friend on your side who understands the legal system. Fill out the form to the right or call us at (404) 341-6555 to get a FREE consultation today.
What are my rights if I was hit by a drunk driver in Stone Mountain?
In most ways, Georgia state law treats drunk driving accidents just like any other car accident. That means the insurance companies will have to determine who was at fault for the accident. This process usually starts with the police report filed by responding officers, but will also involve a period of investigation by the insurance companies and their adjusters. Here’s what you need to know about fault in a drunk driving accident:
- In most cases, it IS possible to prove that the driver was drunk or on drugs. Many intoxicated drivers admit this to police, and others will be caught when they fail a breath test or blood test. Even if the police didn’t get hard evidence, witness statements and police reports can show that the driver was stumbling, speaking with slurred speech, etc.
- If the driver was drunk, it makes it likely that they will be found at fault—but this will be argued. In theory, a drunk driver could claim to be the “victim” in an accident that was someone else’s fault. For example, if you were speeding or didn’t use a turn signal, they may claim that was what caused the accident, not their drunkenness. These claims can be refuted, but it takes evidence and a strong legal argument. Do NOT let the drunk driver or their insurer turn the blame around on you!
- The driver does NOT have to be convicted in order to be found at fault. Their liability for your injuries is a completely separate matter from the criminal charges they face. However, if they are convicted, it can help you prove that they were driving drunk and therefore strengthen your claim.
- Determining fault often involves an element of negotiation. The drunk driver’s insurance company knows how expensive a DUI claim can be, and they want to avoid paying it if they can. They may seek to avoid putting the fault on their insured, may try to put some of the fault on you, or may downplay your injuries or other aspects of what happened. It takes a good lawyer to counter these arguments, put together strong evidence to prove what happened, and get you the full amount you deserve. Always have a lawyer at your side.
Once the drunk driver is found at fault, you will be able to recover damages from them.
How much money can I recover from a drunk driver in Stone Mountain?
You can recover three main kinds of money damages:
- 100% of all the actual costs of the accident—things like medical bills, car damages, and missed work time.
- Substantial additional money for pain and suffering, or other intangible damages. For example, if your accident leaves you with nightmares, or gives you scars or a health condition that will follow you for years, it’s not enough to simply pay your hospital bill. You will receive extra money to try to compensate you for these life changes. In many cases, this will multiple the other damages by 300% or more.
- Punitive damages, which is extra money the court orders the drunk driver to pay you as a way of punishing them.
If your loved one was killed in a DUI accident, you also have the right to recover most of these damages, plus funeral expenses and other damages you’ve suffered, by filing a wrongful death claim.
What are my rights if I was a passenger in the vehicle of the drunk driver?
In most cases your rights are the same as any other victim in the accident. Legally, you cannot be “blamed” for the driver of your vehicle being drunk; they are the ones who put the keys in the ignition, not you.
In addition, as a passenger, you cannot be at fault for the accident—one of the drivers will be found at fault, and your damages will be paid by them or their insurance.
However, be aware that there are circumstances where you may end up receiving less money. For example, if you knew the driver of your vehicle was drunk, the courts may award you less money for your personal losses, because you made a decision to ride with them. Insurance companies know this and may also offer you less, even if the case never goes to court. A good lawyer can help you understand your options.
Talk to a Stone Mountain Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
No one should have to deal with medical bills, missed work time, and severe life changes because of a drunk driver. If you find yourself in this position, don’t face it alone. Let our experienced attorneys help you. We offer a FREE consultation and we charge you nothing if you don’t get money. Fill out the form to the right or call us at (404) 341-6555 for your free consultation today.