Being hit by a drunk driver isn’t just damaging to you and your car—it’s also expensive. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drunk driving costs $44 billion in damages every year. If you were hit by a driver who was under the influence, you don’t deserve to pay for the aftermath.
Our car accident lawyers in Lithonia can help you collect compensation for your medical bills, repair costs, and more. By investigating your case and showing the full scope of your damages, an attorney can get you a fair settlement to pay for your expenses.
Learn more about your options as the victim of a drunk driver in Georgia. If you have any questions about your specific situation, a lawyer from John Foy & Associates can give you a free initial consultation.
Is It Worth Suing a Drunk Driver?
Yes. If you sustained injuries or other damages in your accident, it’s likely worth pursuing compensation. That being said, a lawsuit might not be necessary. That’s because the at-fault driver’s insurance company will most likely want to settle before your claim becomes a complicated, costly lawsuit.
In general, drunk driving accident claims are fairly clear-cut. Car accident victims need to prove that the other party negligently, recklessly, or criminally acted, and that action caused their damages. When a person is driving drunk and causes an accident, it’s clear that they were responsible for your accident injuries.
If you’re worried about how you’ll afford a lawyer to represent you, our firm has you covered. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means our payment comes out of a portion of your settlement. We only get paid if you win, and we won’t take more than you receive from your claim.
Your damages matter, even if you think they’re minor. Hospital bills and repairs can become more expensive than you might anticipate, and you shouldn’t have to pay for the consequences of someone else’s foolish decision. If you’re still not sure whether it’s worth it to sue, you can talk to a Lithonia drunk driving accident lawyer who can tell you what your options are.
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Punitive Damages for DUIs
In all personal injury cases and car accident claims, compensation is based on the damages that the other party caused, including bills, repairs, pain, and mental trauma. These are separated into economic and non-economic categories – the first is the financial cost of your accident, and the second is the toll on your quality of life.
However, in cases where someone’s action is especially egregious, there may be a third category: punitive damages. These are damages that are simply meant to punish the at-fault driver and discourage other people from making the same mistake.
In some cases, like motor vehicle accidents that don’t involve drunk driving, Georgia caps punitive damages at $250,000. However, when a DUI is involved, there is no cap on punitive damages, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-12-5.1(f).
To prove that the other party deserves to pay punitive damages, your lawyer may use evidence like past DUIs and other criminal history. When a jury sees that the at-fault driver has a habit of driving drunk, they may be more likely to throw the book at them.
What to Do If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver
The number one to keep in mind after a car accident is that your own safety and health should take priority above gathering evidence or anything else. You should always get medical attention–you may have injuries that you don’t notice. Call an ambulance and don’t refuse or delay any treatment.
Past that, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your claim and help your chances of getting compensation. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you should:
- Call the police and get an official accident report
- Get the other driver’s information, including their license plate number and insurance details
- Take pictures or videos of the scene of the accident, the damage done to your car, and the injuries you sustained
- Talk to any witnesses who saw what happened and get their contact information
- Don’t sign anything until you’ve talked to a lawyer
The other party’s lawyer or insurance company may try to contact you and give you a deal. Don’t take it unless you’ve already talked to your own Lithonia drunk driving accident attorney. Those people want to save money, so they are likely shorting you on compensation that you deserve.
How Long do I Have to File a Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
Georgia imposes a deadline on any accident claim, known as a statute of limitations. OCGA 9-3-33 sets the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits at two years from the date of the incident. If you fail to take action by that time, you could lose out on any opportunity to receive compensation.
Two years may seem like ample time to file your claim, but you should not wait any longer than possible. One reason is that it takes your lawyer some time to put together a strong case, and some evidence goes away over time. Another reason is that your deadline may actually be shorter—possibly even weeks.
The sooner you get in touch with a lawyer, the better your chances are of getting a fair settlement. Don’t wait too long to get help.
Talk to a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Lithonia Today
Being the victim of any car accident can be an expensive, painful, and stressful ordeal. Being the victim of a drunk driver is even more taxing. DUIs cause greater damage and are more fatal than other car accidents.
The Lithonia drunk driving accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates can take care of your claim so that you can focus on recovery. We know how to negotiate with the insurance company and make sure that the drunk driver who caused your crash is held accountable.
Call us or contact us online today to get a FREE consultation. We’re available to talk 24/7.