Everyone knows that drunk driving isn’t safe. Though it’s viewed as a serious crime and awareness is at an all time high, unfortunately, drunk driving remains terribly common in Columbus. In fact, drunk driving in Georgia accounts for nearly one in three traffic deaths.
The time after a serious accident is frightening and stressful. As medical bills begin to pile up, it’s best to have a Columbus drunk driving victim accident attorney help you file a claim to recover the full costs of your medical care, car repairs, lost work time, plus additional money. John Foy & Associates can protect your rights.
What Counts As Driving Under the Influence in Georgia?
The legal definition of drunk driving is much broader than what most people think. From a legal perspective, the phrase, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving,” is true. Georgia’s legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. Almost anyone who gets behind the wheel after consuming alcohol likely has some level of impairment and may be breaking the law.
Alcohol isn’t the only way to get a DUI. Any substance that affects your driving also counts. Georgia treats driving under the influence the same no matter what substance is involved:
- Illegal drugs like marijuana or cocaine
- Legal prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter drugs that cause drowsiness, such as cough syrup
Additionally, Georgia has a zero tolerance policy for underage drunk driving. Drivers under 21 are guilty of DUI if they have any amount of alcohol in their system, even if they’re not over the .08% legal limit.
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What Should You Do if You (or a Loved One) Were Injured by a Drunk Driver?
Remember that the other driver will do everything possible to avoid facing the consequences for their actions. Anyone injured by a drunk driver should take steps to gather evidence and protect yourself. Some simple steps you can take include:
- Call the police immediately. Many drivers will offer to resolve the accident without getting the police or insurance companies involved. But getting a police report can strengthen your claim.
- Tell police if you suspect the other driver is intoxicated. Police are trained to recognize symptoms of drunkenness and drug use. They can administer a field sobriety test or even a Breathalyzer test on the spot.
- Take a video. If you have a phone, start recording video before you approach the other driver. An impaired driver will often show obvious signs of intoxication like slurred speech, confusion, anger, or stumbling. Your video can serve as evidence.
- Watch for the driver trying to cover up evidence. Take pictures if you see them trying to get rid of bottles or cans, pour out a beverage, take eye drops or use breath spray.
- Get witnesses. Ask others at the scene if they saw what happened, and exchange information with witnesses so that you can contact them later.
- Get medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor at first, you need to go to a doctor as soon as possible after the accident and get a diagnosis.
Most importantly, call a drunk driving victim accident lawyer in Columbus, GA. Drunk driving laws are complex and it’s very difficult to win your claim on your own. Your attorney can pull the criminal record and driving record of the person who injured you, and see if they have a history of past convictions.
Columbus Drunk Driving Victim Accident Lawyer Near Me 404-400-4000
What Are You Entitled to Recover if You Were Injured by a Drunk Driver in Columbus?
As the victim, you have a right to recover far more in a drunk driving case than you would in other car accident cases. In many cases you could be awarded tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The financial recoveries in drunk driving cases are large because judges can award “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are an extra financial award that the drunk driver has to pay to the victim, above and beyond the actual costs of the accident. This is meant to both punish the drunk driver and deter future DUIs.
In addition to the punitive damages, you have a right to recover:
- All your medical costs, including doctor appointments, medication, and physical therapy
- The cost of repairing or replacing your car or other damaged property
- The value of any lost wages due to time missed at work because of the accident
Remember that drunk driving cases are complex. In many cases it’s advisable to wait until the drunk driver is convicted in criminal court before pursuing your claim. In other cases it’s important to move as quickly as possible. This is why we urge every victim to speak to an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer.
Do You Still Have a Claim if You Knowingly Got Into the Car With a Drunk Driver?
Yes, you have a valid claim because the drunk driver is still at fault even if you were their passenger, whether or not you knew, or suspected, they were inebriated at the time you got into the car. They are the ones who broke the law and caused the accident.
However, the local courts may view your case differently if you knew the driver was drunk. A Columbus, GA, drunk driving victim accident lawyer can walk you through the possible outcomes of your case and help you understand your legal options.
Qualified and experienced law firms believe in helping accident victims and will not let your legal rights be taken away from you.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving victim accidents lawyer serving Columbus, call 404-400-4000
Who Is Responsible for the Costs of the Drunk Driving Accident?
Normally, the intoxicated driver bears the full responsibility on their own. However, there are times when this is not fully true:
- Bartenders, servers, and restaurant owners have a legal duty not to serve patrons who already appear intoxicated. If they overserved the driver, they may be responsible for the costs.
- Anyone who provides alcohol to a juvenile under the age of 21 is breaking the law and shares responsibility for their actions. A party host who knowingly gave alcohol to a minor may be responsible for the costs of the accident.
Is There a Deadline to File a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Columbus?
Yes. Columbus follows statutes of limitations set by both Georgia state law and U.S. federal law. In many drunk driving accidents, you could have up to two years to file your claim, per Ga. Code § 9-3-33.
However, there are exceptions where the deadline is much shorter. All accident victims should speak to a lawyer immediately after the accident. Never risk losing your rights by waiting.
Georgia Law Sets a Deadline for Taking Legal Action
Georgia statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits at two years. In general, you may lose the right to pursue a lawsuit in your case if you wait too long. Reach out to a Columbus, GA, drunk driving victim accident attorney to learn more about the timeline you will need to follow if you are eligible to pursue a payout based on the facts of your accident case.
Families of Drunk Driving Accident Victims Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
The loss of a loved one in a drunk driving accident can be devastating to the victim’s family. While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, some amount of compensation can help your family manage bills and expenses.
By hiring a Columbus, GA, drunk driving victim accident lawyer, a legal team can oversee your family’s claim and bring in their investigators to look into the cause of the accident. An attorney can also help you assess your losses and fight to get you fair compensation for pre-death medical expenses, burial costs, loss of household income, and pain and suffering.
Talk to a Columbus Drunk Driving Victim Accident Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, our mission is to help people like you. Our drunk driving victim accident lawyers in Columbus, GA, work tirelessly on behalf of accident victims. And we have the experience and resources to help you get the biggest financial recovery possible.
Don’t wait. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today. We have over 20 years of experience helping the victims of drunk driving accidents. And unlike other law offices, we do not defend drunk drivers. We work only for the victims.