If you or a family member have been injured in an accident caused by driving under the influence, you do not have to bear the financial consequences alone. You may be entitled to recover your medical costs, lost income, and other financial damages. Contact a Lawrenceville car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
What Counts As DUI in Lawrenceville?
Most people think of DUI as “drunk driving,” but alcohol is only one of the substances that can lead to a DUI arrest. In the City of Lawrenceville and throughout Georgia, DUI means driving while impaired by any substance. Alcohol and many drugs can impair your judgment, your response time, and your nervous system, making it difficult to drive safely.
Typically, a DUI case involves one of these substances:
- Beer, liquor, or other alcoholic beverages
- Crack, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs
- Prescribed medications
- Over-the-counter medicines, especially those that cause drowsiness
Police administer a variety of chemical tests to help determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Legally, a driver is drunk if he or she has a blood alcohol content of .08% or more, and it may only take a couple of drinks for a person to reach that level.
Breath and blood tests can confirm a driver’s blood alcohol content, while blood and urine tests can confirm whether a person has drugs in his or her system. And sometimes a driver is convicted of DUI without any test results at all.
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Why Would a Conviction Happen without a Positive Chemical Test?
There are two ways to prove DUI in Georgia. The first is through a chemical test. Even if someone was driving perfectly according to the rules, they can still be considered DUI if they meet the thresholds for intoxication by a breath or blood test.
Conversely, say someone was driving as if they were drunk and crashed. Even if they blow below the legal limit, their actions show that their drinking or drug use intoxicated them enough to cause a danger to the public.
If a DUI driver is convicted, that makes your personal injury claim much easier. Our Lawrenceville drunk driving victim lawyers can help you through the process of making a claim and getting compensation for your accident.
If I’ve Been in a DUI Accident in Lawrenceville, What Should I Do?
Auto accidents can cause serious injuries that need immediate treatment, so your first priority is to summon emergency medical care for anyone who might need it. If you are not seriously hurt, we recommend that you stay at the scene and take a few simple precautions to protect yourself legally.
- Call the police. Even if your accident seems minor, stay at the scene and tell the officer exactly what happened. The officer will prepare an accident report which will be a critical piece of evidence in your claim for injuries and the cost of repairing and replacing your car.
- Tell them the other driver is impaired. You don’t have to be sure, just explain your suspicions and the reasons for them. Your concerns may prompt the officer to look for signs of intoxication or administer field sobriety or Breathalyzer tests and ideally, the officer will arrest the other driver on a DUI charge.
- Video record the other driver. Pictures speak louder than words, and a video recording of the drunk driver who caused your accident can be very persuasive to a jury. Use your cell phone to video record your interactions with the other driver, picking up such telltale signs as slurred speech, poor balance or argumentativeness.
- Watch the other driver closely. Impaired drivers often try to hide the evidence of their impairment. If you see the other driver throwing cans or bottles away or using eye drops to hide bloodshot eyes, record this behavior with your cell phone camera.
- Interview witnesses. Many times, there are people at the accident scene who saw the other driver behaving erratically, or who saw the accident happen. Talk to them and get their contact information; they may be valuable witnesses in your favor.
Finally, contact a Lawrenceville drunk driving victim accident attorney as soon as you can. Accident claims involving DUI are complex, and it’s almost certain that the insurance company will not offer you the amount of money you deserve.
What Kind of Damages Can I Get for a DUI Accident Claim in Lawrenceville?
All auto accident claims in Lawrenceville are decided according to Georgia law, which allows victims to recover 100% of their costs and losses. These include:
- Doctor, hospital, and other medical costs
- Lost wages if you had to miss work because of the accident
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
- Financial awards for pain, suffering, disability, and other significant losses
These financial awards are available to all accident victims, but if your accident was caused by an impaired driver, you are also entitled to another type of financial recovery known as “punitive damages.”
Instead of compensating you for your loss, punitive damages are designed to punish the person who caused your accident. Punitive damages give accident victims additional money to aid them with their recovery, but they also send a strong message that drunk drivers will be held accountable for their behavior.
Because of the possibility of punitive damages, DUI accident cases are often worth more than $100,000 with the help of a drunk driving accident lawyer. A drunk driving victim accident attorney in Lawrenceville can tell you your chances of receiving these after we examine your case.
Will I Need to Go to Trial?
Insurance companies know that if their policyholder was drunk, they don’t have much of a chance in court. They will try to settle your claim as quickly as possible, but should you take the settlement? It depends.
If you feel the settlement offer is fair and you’ve run it by a lawyer to ensure it is for your situation, you could avoid a trial. You could also be in a financial bind and need the money immediately. Or, simply, you don’t wish to go through the hassle of a trial.
The choice is always yours on whether or not to go to trial. We will give you the benefits and disadvantages in your situation for going through with one. Know that no matter how strong your case is, a trial will always make it much longer for you to receive money compared to a settlement.
What If I Was Riding in the Drunk Driver’s Car?
If you didn’t cause the accident, you are entitled to recovery for 100% of your injuries and losses – no matter whose car you were riding in. But sometimes the local courts are less likely to award substantial amounts of money or punitive damages to a drunk driver’s passengers.
This can especially be true if you knew the driver was impaired but chose to get in the car anyway. Because of this risk, we recommend speaking with a DUI accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Also, if you were shown to be partially responsible or negligent in the crash, you could have your compensation reduced or cut. For instance, if you were loud and drunk in the back seat and distracting the driver, that could be held against you.
What If They Were Uninsured?
Pursuing compensation against an uninsured drunk driver is no different than a normal uninsured driver. Most likely, you will have to make a claim on your own insurance’s uninsured motorist policy.
The insurance company may then go after the drunk driver’s assets to get their money back in a process known as subrogation. That will all be handled by the company after you get paid and you won’t have to worry about it.
Talk to a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Lawrenceville Today
At John Foy & Associates, we are ready to help. We only represent accident victims – never insurance companies or drunk drivers – and we’ve been doing it successfully for the past two decades. We help DUI accident victims get the largest financial recovery possible, so they can heal and move on with their lives.
An impaired driver’s poor judgment can cause an accident that has lifelong consequences for its victims. But you don’t have to shoulder the financial burden for someone else’s bad choices.
Let us arrange a free consultation to go over your case and help you get all the money you deserve. Call us or contact us online and get your FREE consultation today.