According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three traffic deaths in Georgia involves someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many more people are seriously injured. If a drunk driver harmed you or someone you love in Augusta, you have a legal right to a full recovery, including the cost of your pain and suffering.
Our personal injury law firm has been helping the victims of drunk drivers for over 20 years, and we believe every accident victim deserves compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and other less tangible losses.
Please get in touch with our DUI accident attorney in Augusta, GA, for a free legal consultation.
How Is Driving Under the Influence Defined in Augusta?
Anyone driving while negatively affected by drugs or alcohol is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI). When alcohol is involved, Georgia sets the legal limit at 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC).
BAC is typically measured through a blood test, breath test, or urine test, and it doesn’t take much to fail. For example, depending on a person’s weight and build, they can have only one or two drinks and still be over the 0.08% threshold.
But being over the limit isn’t the only definition of DUI. Sometimes, a person can be guilty of DUI even if they were under the limit or their BAC was unknown. Additionally, a person can be convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of many drugs, including the following:
- Marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal drugs.
- Prescription medications that affect driving, like painkillers.
- Over-the-counter medications that cause drowsiness, such as cough syrup.
Finally, the state of Georgia’s impaired driving laws maintains a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drunk drivers. Drivers under 21 are guilty of DUI if they have any trace of alcohol in their system.
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Why Do I Need a Lawyer After a Crash?
You may wonder if you need a lawyer for your drunk driving accident. While it’s not mandatory to retain legal counsel to file a claim and negotiate a settlement, fighting for compensation alone means missing out on the advantages an experienced personal injury attorney can bring to your case.
This is particularly true if you or your loved one sustained a severe injury, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury. Our firm’s lawyer will seek maximum compensation for your current and future medical care and other losses.
Even if your injuries are relatively minor, you still might need extensive physical therapy, and the resulting bills can add up quickly.
Calculating Your Damages Accurately
The average settlement for drunk driving victims is usually around $30,000 to $80,000. Remember, this is a general estimate, and your accident could result in significantly more or less compensation. It depends on the damages you sustained and the circumstances of the crash.
Our DUI accident lawyers in Augusta, GA, use various formulas to evaluate your car or truck accident case. We won’t leave any damages out and will always pursue the maximum amount available. With our help, you won’t have to worry about the insurance company shorting you.
Handling the Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters aren’t on your side. Their job is to protect their company’s bottom line, even if that means cheating you out of fair compensation. We know their strategies and tactics and how to beat them.
In addition, our Augusta drunk driving accident lawyers have the skills, experience, dedication, and resources necessary to even the odds in your favor.
Building a Strong Case for Your Claim
Your ability to win financial compensation will depend heavily on the strength of your case. Just because the law allows you to file a claim doesn’t mean you will automatically get a settlement. You still have to show evidence and prove your damages.
To do this, our drunk driving victim accident lawyers in Augusta will help you:
- File all paperwork and documents on time.
- Gather critical evidence, such as medical records, the police report, and eyewitness testimony.
- Talk to experts and witnesses to get their supporting testimonies.
- Protect your privacy, and handle all communications with the other side.
- Represent your best interests at all times.
Focus on what matters most: your recovery. Allow us to fight on your behalf while you rest and heal from your injuries.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in an Accident With a Drunk Driver?
After a serious motor vehicle accident, the most important thing to do is call 911 and get immediate medical help. However, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself if you are in an accident.
Always remember that the at-fault driver will do everything possible to avoid taking responsibility. This is especially true if they have been driving and are under the influence. Therefore, we advise all accident victims to be their own best advocates at the scene. Here’s what you can do:
- Always call the police: Even if the accident seems minor, you could have injuries that turn into months or years of physical pain. Having a police report will strengthen your claim, so call the police and wait for them to arrive.
- Tell the police if you believe the other driver is under the influence: Police can administer breath or field sobriety tests at the scene.
- Make a video of your conversation with the other driver: Inebriated drivers often show signs of intoxication, including slurred speech, unstable balance, bloodshot eyes, and aggression. A video can provide hard evidence that the other driver was driving drunk.
- Watch the other driver: Sometimes, an intoxicated driver will try to get rid of the evidence by pouring out a bottle, throwing away drug paraphernalia, or using eye drops to cover up bloodshot eyes.
- Talk to witnesses: If others witnessed the accident, ask for their names and contact information.
After a crash, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. If the accident does involve a DUI, you could recover a substantial amount of money, often much more than in a typical auto accident.
How Much Money Am I Entitled to Recover If a Drunk Driver Injured Me?
In any personal injury case, you have the right to pursue the total cost of the accident. In addition, you could recover economic damages, non-economic damages, and even punitive damages.
If you get into a car accident and sustain injuries, you may incur significant medical bills, including hospitalization costs, diagnostic tests, and prescription drugs.
In addition, if your car or personal belongings are damaged in the accident, you may also be entitled to compensation for the damage. Furthermore, if you miss work due to the accident, you could be eligible to receive compensation for wages you lost during your recovery period.
Examples of economic damages are illustrated in the following table:
|Type of Damages||Description||Examples|
|Medical Bills||Expenses incurred for medical treatment||Hospital bills, doctor’s fees, laboratory and diagnostic tests, prescription drugs|
|Property Damage||Damage to personal property, including vehicles||Car repairs, replacement of personal items such as clothing, electronics, or furniture|
|Lost Wages||Income lost due to missed work time||Time off for medical treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation|
You can also recover compensation for non-monetary damages and the economic damages listed above. These damages have no fixed value and will depend on the context and circumstances of your case.
Examples of non-economic damages are shown in this table:
|Pain and suffering||Physical and emotional pain caused by injury||Chronic pain, emotional distress, loss of sleep|
|Loss of consortium||Loss of companionship or sexual relations||Inability to have children, loss of intimacy, loss of support|
|Loss of enjoyment of life||Inability to enjoy activities of daily living||Inability to participate in hobbies or activities, loss of mobility|
|Mental anguish and emotional trauma||Psychological distress caused by trauma||Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder|
|Disability or disfigurement||Physical impairment or disfigurement||Amputation, loss of limb function, scars, burns|
|Wrongful death||Death of a loved one due to negligence or misconduct||Funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of emotional support|
|Loss of companionship||Loss of relationship with loved one||Separation from spouse, estrangement from family members|
Remember, never let the insurance company downplay your non-economic damages. They may try to claim that these damages are exaggerated or not that serious.
Our drunk driving victim accident lawyers in Augusta will ensure that your settlement reflects all your accident-related losses and that the insurance company pays its fair share.
In a DUI accident, you have additional rights as well. For example, in the City of Augusta, the court will sometimes award punitive damages to the victim.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-12-5.1, punitive damages are extra money a defendant has to pay you for what they did.
In other words, punitive damages are designed to punish a drunk driver and would be in addition to the damages listed above.
Can I File a Claim If I Was in the Car With a Drunk Driver?
Yes, you still have a right to the same financial recovery as any other accident victim. This is true even if you knew the driver shouldn’t have been driving. They broke the law, not you, and they are liable for your injury.
However, the local courts do look differently at cases where the victim knew the driver was drunk. A good lawyer will approach your case differently depending on what happened. We have a strong record of winning financial recoveries for our clients, even in difficult circumstances.
Who Is Responsible for the Costs of a DUI Car Accident?
The impaired driver is always the one who is responsible. In some cases, however, other parties may share liability.
These can include:
- A bar or restaurant that knowingly over-served the driver.
- Someone who bought alcohol for a driver under 21.
- A party host who provided alcohol to a driver under 21.
Regardless of who is responsible, the money for your financial recovery will normally come from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy, not their pocket.
Georgia Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Legal deadlines are strict, and if you miss them, you may miss out on your financial recovery. In Augusta, the courts follow deadlines set by both state and federal law.
At the absolute most, you could have up to two years to file your claim. But in many cases, you have less time. That’s why it’s important to get legal advice from a drunk driving accident lawyer in Augusta immediately.
Free Consultation With an Augusta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident involving a drunk driver, John Foy & Associates is here to help. Our Augusta DUI accident attorneys charge nothing upfront, nothing out of pocket, and no fees unless we win your case.
Find out what our legal representation can do for you. Call now or fill out the contact form to schedule your initial consultation.