Today, one in three traffic deaths in Georgia involve driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and many more people are injured. If a drunk driver harmed you or someone you love in Augusta, you have a legal right to a full recovery, including the total costs of your medical care.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping the victims of drunk drivers for over 20 years. We believe that every accident victim deserves a full financial recovery to help take care of the costs of an accident. So, get in touch with our Augusta drunk driving victim accident attorneys by calling (404) 400-4000 for a free consultation today.
How Is Driving Under the Influence Defined in Augusta?
Anyone whose driving is affected negatively by drugs or alcohol is guilty of driving under the influence. When alcohol is involved, Georgia sets the legal limit at .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
BAC typically gets measured through a blood test, breath test, or urine test, and it’s a very strict limit. A person can have only one or two drinks and still be over the .08% threshold.
But being over the limit isn’t the only definition of DUI. There are some cases where a person can be guilty of DUI even if they were under the limit or their BAC is unknown. Additionally, a person can get convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of many drugs. This includes:
- Marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal drugs
- Prescription medications that affect driving, like painkillers
- Over-the-counter medications that cause drowsiness, like cough syrup
Finally, the state of Georgia’s impaired driving laws maintains a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drunk drivers. Drivers under the age of 21 are guilty of DUI if they have any trace of alcohol in their system.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me?
You may wonder if you need a lawyer after suffering a drunk driving accident. While it’s not mandatory to retain a lawyer to file a claim and negotiate a settlement, fighting for compensation alone means missing out on crucial benefits a lawyer can bring to your side.
Calculating Your Damages Accurately
The average settlement for drunk driving victims is usually around $30,000 to $80,000. Remember, these are general estimates, and your drunk driving accident could result in significantly more or less compensation. It all depends on the types of damages you sustained and how severe they are.
Our lawyers have various formulas and evaluate your case holistically. We won’t leave any damages out and always pursue the maximum amount possible for your settlement. As a result, you don’t have to worry about the insurance company shorting you on your settlement.
Handling the Insurance Company
Insurance companies aren’t on your side. They’re always trying to protect their bottom line, even if it means cheating you out of fair compensation. We know all the strategies and tactics they use and how to beat them. In addition, our Augusta drunk driving victim accident lawyers have the skills, experience, dedication, and resources necessary to even the odds in your favor.
Building a Strong Case for Your Claim
How likely you are to win compensation will depend heavily on the strength of your case. Even though the law allows you to file a claim, that doesn’t mean the work is over, and you 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 your paperwork and documents on time
- Gather evidence critical to your claim
- Talk to experts and witnesses to get their supporting testimonies
- Ensure that your privacy is protected and handle all your communications
- Represent your best interests at all times
Focus on what matters most, your recovery. While you rest and heal from your injuries, allow us to fight on your behalf.
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What Should I Do if I Was Injured in an Accident With a Drunk Driver?
The most important thing to do in an accident is to call 911 and get immediate medical help if needed. However, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself if you are in an accident.
Always remember that the other driver is going to do everything possible to avoid taking responsibility. This is often especially true if they were driving under the influence. Therefore, we advise all accident victims to “be your own best advocate” at the scene:
- Always call the police: Even if the accident seems minor, you could have injuries that turn into months or years of pain. Having a police report will make your claim much more robust, 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 a breath test or field sobriety tests at the scene.
- Make a video of your conversation with the other driver: Inebriated drivers will often show signs of intoxication, including slurred speech, unstable balance, bloodshot eyes, and unnecessary aggression. A video can provide hard evidence that they were driving drunk.
- Watch the other driver: Sometimes, they 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 saw what happened, ask for their names and contact information.
After the accident, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. If the accident does involve a DUI, you have a right to recover a substantial amount of money, often much more than in a typical car accident.
Augusta Drunk Driving Victim Accident Lawyer Near Me 404-400-4000
How Much Money Am I Entitled to Recover if I Was Injured By a Drunk Driver?
In any personal injury case, you have a right to recover the total costs of the accident. This can include:
- Medical bills
- The cost of medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation
- Car repairs or other damages
- Wages from missed work time
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 the drunk driver has to pay you as a way of making up for what they did.
In other words, punitive damages act as punishment for the drunk driver. This money is in addition to all the costs listed above.
Recovering Compensation for Non-Economic Damages
Outside of the economic damages listed above, you can also recover compensation for your punitive damages. These damages have no fixed value and will depend on the context and circumstances of your case. Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
- Disability or disfigurement
Remember, never let the insurance company downplay your non-economic damages. They may try to claim that your non-economic damages are exaggerated or not that serious. Our drunk driving victim accident lawyers in Augusta will ensure that your settlement reflects all your damages and that the insurance company pays its fair share.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving victim accidents lawyer serving Augusta, call 404-400-4000
Can I Still 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 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, period.
However, the local courts do look differently on cases where the victim knew the driver was drunk. A good lawyer will handle your case very differently depending on the specifics of 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, there may be other parties who share liability as well. These can include:
- A bar or restaurant that knowingly over-served the driver
- Someone who bought alcohol for a driver under 21
- The host of a party who provided alcohol to a driver under 21
Regardless of who is responsible, the money for your financial recovery will normally come out of their insurance policy, not directly out of their pocket.
Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Victims in Augusta
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, it’s less—sometimes as little as weeks. You should talk to a drunk driving accident victim lawyer in Augusta right away.
Talk to an Augusta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
John Foy & Associates is here to help. Our Augusta drunk driving victim accident attorneys charge nothing up front, nothing out of pocket, and no fees ever unless we win you money. Find out what we can do for you. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to your right to get your free consultation today.