If you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, you have the legal right to recover your expenses, including your medical costs and the pay you lost if you missed time from work. You may also be entitled to other large financial awards. It’s in your best interest to talk to a Douglasville drunk driving accident attorney as soon as you are able.
For the past two decades, we at John Foy & Associates have devoted our law practice to advocating for the rights of accident victims. We only represent victims and are never on the side of drunk drivers or the insurance company. We want to get you the best possible financial award so you can heal and put your life back on track.
What Makes a DUI Claim Different from Other Car Accident Claims?
One of the biggest things that set DUIs apart from other accidents is the damage that they cause. Drunk drivers tend to drive faster and more recklessly, which means injuries and other damages tend to be more severe. That means potential settlements are much larger.
Another thing that sets DUI cases apart from others is the concept of “punitive damages,” which require the other driver to pay you additional money as punishment for driving under the influence. Punitive damages send a clear message that Georgia won’t put up with people driving drunk.
Those two facts – severe crashes and punitive damages – mean that the compensation for DUI accident claims tends to be higher than other car accident claims. If you’ve been affected by a drunk driver, you have a chance to hold them accountable and get the money you need to pay for the damages they caused.
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Who Is Liable for a DUI in Georgia?
In most car accident cases, it’s only the driver of the car that caused the crash that is liable for the accident. For many DUI cases, the same is true. However, because drunk drivers are often enabled to drive under the influence by others, there could be other liable parties involved.
Liable parties in a DUI case could include:
- Party hosts who served the driver alcohol
- Bar staff who wouldn’t cut the person off or call them a taxi
- Vehicle owners who allowed the driver to use their car
Our drunk driving accident attorneys in Douglasville know how to find any liable party and hold them responsible for their actions. We will investigate your case and gather evidence to prove that you were the victim of any party whose negligence caused your accident.
What Counts As DUI in Douglasville?
The City of Douglasville applies state law to DUI cases. In Georgia, DUI means driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any other substance that affects your ability to operate a vehicle safely. For example, some substances affect a driver’s nervous system or ability to respond quickly to an unexpected event. Common DUI substances include:
- All types of alcoholic beverages
- Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and crack
- Prescription medications
- Over the counter drugs that cause drowsiness
Usually, a chemical test determines whether a driver was under the influence. Alcohol can be detected by breath and blood tests. If the test shows a blood alcohol content measuring .08% or more, the driver can be charged with DUI. Drugs can be detected through blood or urine tests. However, drivers are sometimes convicted of DUI even though no test was performed.
What Should I do If I’m in an Accident with a Drunk Driver in Douglasville?
The first and most important priority is to get medical care for anyone who needs it. If you do not need immediate medical attention, we suggest taking some simple steps to collect information and protect your rights. We recommend that you:
- Get the police involved. Even if there’s no medical emergency, the police should be called, and you should tell them what happened. The police will write an objective report that will be a critical piece of evidence in your claim.
- Tell the police you believe the other driver is under the influence. Police officers are trained to spot the signs of intoxication, but you shouldn’t leave this to chance. Tell the officers what you suspect and why, even if you’re not sure, and the officers can take it from there, performing field sobriety and Breathalyzer tests if necessary.
- Make a video recording of your conversations with the other driver. Use your cell phone camera to record the conversation. The recording will pick up telltale behavior like slurred speech and poor balance that will help support your claim – and may convince a jury to decide in your favor
- Watch for typical DUI behavior. Drivers who are under the influence will often try to hide the evidence, emptying open containers of alcohol or tossing drug paraphernalia into the trash. There’s no need to try to stop them, but you can record their behavior with your cell phone camera.
- Talk to witnesses. Bystanders may have seen the accident or the events leading up to it, or they may simply have witnessed the way the drunk driver acted at the scene. All of this can be valuable evidence, so talk to these bystanders and get their contact information.
It’s also important to talk to a Douglasville personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. Accident claims involving DUI are often complex, and it’s highly unlikely that the insurance company will offer you the amount of money your case is really worth.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Get in a DUI Accident Case in Douglasville?
Georgia law allows you to recover all of your costs and damages in any auto accident in Douglasville. These damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost pay, if you missed work as a result of the accident
- The cost of repairing a damaged car or replacing a totaled one
- Large sums of money for pain, disabilities, and other severe losses
All accident victims are entitled to these damages, but if your accident was caused by someone who was driving under the influence, you are entitled to recover even more money. Punitive damages make DUI claims worth far more than many other types of auto accident cases. We regularly see DUI cases that are worth at least $100,000.
Do I Have Rights If I Was in the Car with the Drunk Driver?
The intoxicated driver’s passengers have the same legal rights as anyone else who was injured in the accident. After all, it was the driver’s choice to drive while intoxicated, not yours. But local courts aren’t always as sympathetic to the drunk driver’s passengers as they are to other accident victims.
For example, if you knew the driver was drunk, the court may not award you as much money, or may not award punitive damages. Because of this, it is important to get help from a drunk driving victim accident lawyer in Douglasville as soon as possible after the accident.
How Much Time do I Have to Act on My Drunk Driving Claim?
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33, the statute of limitations for any personal injury case, including a drunk driving case, is two years from the date of the accident. However, that time period could actually be longer.
In general, if the defendant is facing criminal charges (as opposed to the civil charges that you’re suing for), the statute of limitations is extended as long as the prosecution lasts, up to six years. Because drunk drivers often do face criminal charges, you could potentially have longer to file your claim–up to eight years.
That doesn’t mean you should wait, however. Evidence fades, as does memory, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove how much compensation you truly deserve. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Douglasville Today
DUI accidents can have tragic consequences, but you shouldn’t have to pay for another driver’s poor choices. The Douglasville drunk driving accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates offer a free consultation to talk about your accident and explain your legal rights. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.