Fewer Americans are driving drunk, but that doesn’t mean everyone is safe. Drunk driving has killed 3700 people on Georgia’s roads in a 10-year period, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Drunk driving is illegal, and DUI accidents happen all too often in Duluth.
If you have been in an accident with a drunk driver, you don’t have to bear the financial toll. Under Georgia law, you can recover money to pay medical bills and other losses, including other large financial awards. A drunk driving accident victim lawyer in Duluth from John Foy & Associates can help you.
What Is the Legal Definition of “DUI” in Duluth?
In the City of Duluth, DUI means much more than just driving drunk. It includes driving while impaired by any substance, such as legal drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol. Any substance that can affect your judgment, your self-control, or your driving can be the basis for a DUI case. The most common of these substances include:
- Prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine
- Over the counter drugs that cause drowsiness
Most of the time, law enforcement authorities use chemical tests to detect the presence of substances in a driver’s system. Breath and blood tests can show whether someone was driving with a blood alcohol content greater than the legal limit of .08%.
Blood and urine samples are taken to test for the presence of drugs. But tests are not essential for a DUI charge, and a driver can be convicted even if there was never any test at all.
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What Can I Do to Protect Myself After a Drunk Driving Accident?
Your first order of business should be to call for emergency medical help for yourself or anyone else who needs it. Once these immediate needs are taken care of, you can also take some steps to protect your rights, if you are able. This includes:
- Calling the police: A police officer will come to the accident scene and talk to you, the other driver, and witnesses, and prepare an objective report showing what happened. You will need an accident report to present a strong claim.
- Telling the officer that you suspect a DUI: Explain that you believe the other driver is impaired, and the reasons for your suspicions. Officers are trained to look for telltale signs of intoxication, but your observations increase the chance that the officer will investigate further, perhaps arresting the other driver for DUI right away.
- Record your conversations with the impaired driver: A video of the other driver stumbling, swaying, slurring words, or being overly aggressive can be powerful evidence of the driver’s level of impairment.
- Watch the other driver: Drunk drivers don’t like to get caught, so they have typical behaviors after an accident. If you see the other driver pouring out drinks, hiding things, throwing things away, or even using eye drops to disguise bloodshot eyes, pull out your cell phone camera and shoot some video.
- Talk with witnesses: Be sure to chat with people who might have seen the accident or stopped to help. Even if these bystanders didn’t see the crash, they may be witnesses to the impaired driver’s behavior before or after the accident. Get witnesses’ names and contact information so you can follow up later.
Whatever you can do to make your lawyer’s job easier down the line will increase your chances of getting compensation. Save every document you have, including medical diagnoses and repair bills, so we can show exactly how much you’re owed.
Regardless of what you can learn or document at the scene, ALWAYS make an appointment to talk to a drunk driving accident victim lawyer in Duluth as soon as you can. DUI cases tend to be complicated, and the sooner your lawyer begins working on your claim, the better your chance for a full financial recovery.
Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?
Most of the time, the inebriated driver is liable for your accident and must pay for your compensation. Because they were the one that drank and drove, causing your accident, they’re the one who was negligent. However, in some cases, they’re not the only one responsible.
Georgia’s dram shop law states that those who serve someone alcohol knowing that they’re drunk could be liable for damage the person does. That can be licensed vendors like bars or even party hosts. If someone knowingly served alcohol to the at-fault party in your accident, there’s a chance they could be responsible for paying part of your compensation.
Your DUI victim accident lawyer will investigate your accident and find out if someone else could be held responsible for the other party’s inebriation. If they are, we will help you pursue compensation from every party involved, no matter what part they played.
How Much does a DUI Accident Lawyer in Duluth Cost?
There is no one set price for any DUI accident victim attorney in Duluth. Any number of variables can affect your lawyer’s fee, including:
- The length of your case
- The difficulty of your case
- Any extra expenses like subpoena fees
- The quality of your lawyer
There may be other attorneys who will charge you the bottom dollar for representation. Be wary of them–cheap lawyers get you cheap results. If a lawyer’s fees feel too good to be true, they could be inexperienced or cutting corners.
Thankfully, with our firm, there’s no risk of paying for your lawyer and then not winning your case. We don’t charge anything upfront. Instead, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you win. Before we get to work on your case, your lawyer will come to an agreement with you on how much of your compensation will go toward paying their fees.
How Much Money Will I Get in a DUI Accident Claim in Georgia?
Every accident is different, and there’s no “typical” amount that you will receive. But the law in Georgia does allow you to recover the full amount of your costs and damages. This means you may be able to recover money for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages (the pay you missed because of the accident)
- The cost of repairing your car, or replacing a totaled car
- Other severe losses such as pain and suffering or a disability
DUI accidents are different from most other types of car accidents because there is an additional type of recoverable damages you may be eligible for. These “punitive damages” can be very substantial. Punitive damages help you rebuild your life, but their main purpose is to punish the drunk driver for making poor choices that endanger the lives of others.
Because of the possibility of punitive damages, it’s not unusual for a DUI claim to be worth upwards of $100,000. Some end up paying over $1 million. When you get a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers, they will assess your case and tell you how much your compensation might be.
Can I Still Recover Money If I Was in the Drunk Driver’s Car?
Yes. The law treats all victims of DUI accidents the same, no matter whose car you were riding in. However, we have found that claims tend to be more complicated for the drunk driver’s passengers than for other accident victims.
Insurance companies and even the Gwinnett County courts may not be as sympathetic to you, and they may try to award you less money, especially if you knew the driver was drunk and got in the car anyway.
To maximize your chance of financial recovery, contact a lawyer immediately after the accident if you were a passenger. Our drunk driving accident victim lawyers in Duluth understand your predicament and want to help you recover from your injuries.
Talk to a Duluth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
Impaired drivers are making poor choices, but you don’t have to pay for them. The Duluth drunk driving accident victim lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been helping victims of drunk driving accidents for over two decades.
Our law firm’s only goal is to help accident victims get the money they need to continue their journey to recovery. We have a 20-year track record of successful results for victims of DUIs and other accidents. We always fight for victims, and never take the side of drunk drivers or the insurance companies that try to deny your claims.
Let us give you a free consultation to talk about your case and explain your options. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.