Drunk driving has been on the decline nationwide. Unfortunately, DUI accidents are still common occurrences in Dalton. Roughly one third of all fatal car accidents involve a DUI, and 3700 people have lost their lives due to drunk driving in a 10-year period in Georgia. If your life has been affected by a drunk driver’s carelessness, you are not alone. You have a right to recover all of your costs including your medical bills and lost work time. You could also be awarded substantial money to offset your damages. You should speak to a Dalton drunk driving lawyer immediately.
John Foy & Associates can help. We have dedicated ourselves to helping accident victims for over 20 years, and we have a strong record of success helping the victims of drunk drivers. We always take the side of the victim, never the insurance company or the drunk driver who caused the accident. Our job is simple: we want to help get the most money for you and your family, so that you can start putting your life back together free from financial worries. Let us give you a free consultation and discuss your legal options. Call us at 706-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How Is DUI Defined in Dalton?
State law provides a simple definition of DUI that is used by law enforcement and the courts in the City of Dalton. Essentially, DUI means driving while any substance impairs your ability to control the vehicle – not just alcohol. If the substance affects your muscles, your nervous system, or your ability to think and react, it’s a DUI.
Still, some DUI’s are more common than others. We typically see accidents caused by drivers who were using:
- Alcohol such as beer, wine or hard liquor
- Prescription drugs
- Non-prescription medicine like cough syrup, or anything that causes drowsiness
- Illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine
Usually the court will seek a definitive scientific answer on whether the other driver was impaired or not. This is done with a breath or blood test (for alcohol) or a blood or urine test (for drugs). Tests for alcohol measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and any result of .08% BAC or higher is considered DUI. This is roughly the amount of alcohol an adult has in their system after 1-3 drinks, depending on their weight and other factors.
In the case of drugs, the presence of any amount of drug in the system could count as DUI.
But a blood, breath or urine test is not necessary for the driver to be convicted of DUI. All the court needs is evidence that they were impaired by alcohol or another substance.
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What Should I Do If I Was an in Accident with a Drunk Driver in Dalton?
It depends on the circumstances. If someone is seriously hurt, your first priority should always be getting emergency medical help. However, if you’re able, we strongly recommend gathering basic information and documenting the scene of the accident. Anything you document can serve as powerful evidence later and help prove that the other driver was impaired.
Basic steps you can take include:
- Always call the police. In Georgia, you are required to call the police for any accident where someone was injured—even if the injuries are minor. Police can create an incident report, which you will need to file your claim
- If you think the other driver is impaired, tell the police. Even if you’re not 100% certain, you should still tell them. Police have special training and will look for a wide variety of signs that indicate drunkenness or drug use. They may even ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests or take a breath test on the spot.
- Take a video. If you think the driver is impaired, use your cell phone to record a video while you talk to them. The video could capture key details such as slurred speech, stumbling, confusion, bloodshot eyes or unnecessary aggression. Without a video, saying you observed these signs is hard to prove. With the video, the jury can see it for themselves.
- Watch out for evidence being disposed of. In many DUI accident cases, the first thing the impaired driver does is try to get rid of evidence. This may mean emptying out beverage containers, throwing out drugs, or even using eye drops to cover up bloodshot eyes. Be ready to capture this on video if possible, or inform the officers if not.
- Get witnesses. If there is anyone at the scene of the accident, ask them what they saw. They may be able to vouch that the driver is acting inebriated, even if they didn’t see the accident themselves. Ask witnesses for their names and contact information.
If you didn’t do these things after the accident, it’s okay. The most important step for any accident victim is to call a lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can launch their own investigation and help you take the right steps to make the strongest claim possible.
What Kinds of Damages Can I be Awarded Money for?
The local courts in Dalton allow accident victims to recover 100% of all costs related to the accident. They may also award sizable amounts of money to help offset your damages. The most common damages we see in DUI accident cases are:
- Hospital, doctor & medical costs
- Lost wages
- Car damage
- Financial awards to offset physical pain, suffering or serious injuries
But DUI cases allow additional money as well. Under Georgia law, a DUI driver who caused an accident can be ordered to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are extra money paid directly to the victim(s) of the accident. It’s a way to further penalize the reckless act of drunk driving. It’s also used to help victims keep their lives together and move on after a life-changing injury.
Obviously, no amount of money undoes a serious accident. The courts understand that. But the money awarded in your case can help you and your family remain financially stable while you deal with the aftermath. In many cases, a single DUI accident claim can be worth $100,000 or more.
What If I Was Riding with the Drunk Driver?
You are still the victim, and you have the same rights as any other victim. It’s important to understand that, according to the law, the person who was actually impaired at the wheel is the one responsible for what happened. It was their responsibility not to drive after drinking or taking drugs.
Talk to a Dalton Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
One bad decision by a drunk driver can have consequences that last for years. Don’t face your injury alone. Sit down with the experienced attorneys of John Foy & Associates for a free, in-depth consultation to discuss your legal options. Call us at 706-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.
706-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form