Everyone knows that drunk driving is a bad idea. Years of activism by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have helped raise awareness and pass tough laws against drunk driving. Unfortunately, that does not mean it’s uncommon. Today, 1 in 3 traffic deaths in Georgia involves driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol—and many more people are injured. If you or someone you love was harmed by a drunk driver in Augusta, you have a legal right to a full recovery, including the full costs of your medical care.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping the victims of drunk drivers for over 20 years. We understand that there is no way for the law to replace what you have lost, and we know how painful and difficult the aftermath can be. We believe that every accident victim deserves a full financial recovery to help take care of the costs of an accident. And unlike other lawyers, we never defend drunk drivers. Call John Foy & Associates and let us give you a 100% free consultation to discuss your options. Contact us at 706-400-4000 and get your 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, the state of Georgia sets the “legal limit” at .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC can be measured by 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 found guilty of DUI even if they were under the limit or their BAC is not known. Additionally, a person can be 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 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.
What should I do if I was injured in an accident with a drunk driver?
The most important thing to do in any accident is call 911 and get immediate medical help if needed. However, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself if you were 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. 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 stronger, 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/or 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 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 normal car accident.
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 full 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. In the City of Augusta the court will sometimes award “punitive damages” to the victim. Punitive damages are extra money the drunk driver has to pay you as a way of making up for what they did. This is money is in addition to the all the costs listed above.
What if I was in the car with the drunk driver, and I knew they were drunk? Do I have a claim?
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. At John Foy & Associates, 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.
Is there a deadline to file a claim?
Yes. Legal deadlines are strict, and if you miss a deadline 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 lawyer right away.
Talk to an Augusta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
John Foy & Associates is here to help. We charge nothing for your consultation, nothing out of pocket and nothing ever unless we win you money. Find out what we can do for you. Call us at 706-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right to get your FREE consultation today.