Driving while drunk is a criminal act that can bring devastating consequences. Drunk drivers need to be held accountable for the damage they cause their victims. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, a Loganville drunk driving accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates can help you get the justice you deserve and the financial compensation you need for your future.
Drunk Driving Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 32 deaths by drunk drivers every single day, which translates to one person every 45 minutes. For the last full year of data collection, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported 353 fatalities. These sobering numbers do not include those seriously injured in drunk driving crashes.
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Blood Alcohol Levels and Drunk Driving
Once alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and intestinal walls, it enters the bloodstream. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measure of the weight of alcohol in a specific volume of a person’s blood.
Drivers aged 21 and older who operate vehicles with a BAC of .08 or higher are guilty of drunk driving in every state except Utah, where the legal limit is. 05. For drivers under 21 years of age, the legal limit is .02. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the limit is .04.
Effects of BAC on Driving Ability
The NHTSA documents predictable effects on driving upon reaching certain BAC levels.
BAC of .02
- Diminished visual functions, making it more difficult to track moving targets.
- Diminished ability to perform two tasks simultaneously.
BAC of .05
- Decreased coordination
- A more pronounced decrease in visual functions
- Reduced ability to steer
- Reduced ability to react appropriately and safely to emergency situations on the road
- Loss of ability to concentrate
- Short-term memory loss
- Inability to control speed
- Reduced ability to process information necessary for safe driving, such as signal detection.
- Damaged perception
Higher BAC levels yield increased effects, ultimately leaving drivers unable to control their vehicles.
Who You Can Hold Accountable for Compensation After a Loganville Drunk Driving Accident
If caught driving at illegal BAC levels, drivers will be charged criminally. Punishments range from fines to license suspension to the installation of ignition-lock devices to prison time, depending on the specifics and severity of the accident. Though criminal charges and punishments are necessary, they do not provide compensation for victims.
To collect a settlement, you need to file a civil suit against the drunk driver, and to ensure you collect the highest settlement possible, trust your case to an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in Loganville from John Foy & Associates.
Dram Shop Laws
The drunk driver may not be the only party responsible for paying you a settlement. Under Code §51-1-40 Georgia makes it illegal for alcohol sellers, such as bars, restaurants, or liquor stores, to “willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully” serve alcohol to a person under age 21 or knowingly serve alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated, and to serve the minor or intoxicated individual knowing they will soon be operating a vehicle.
Social Host Laws
The same law applies to people who serve alcohol during events at their homes. If a guest who has driven to the event and plans to drive home shows signs of intoxication and the host continues to serve the intoxicated person alcohol, the host may be subject to a lawsuit under the social host law.
Proving Negligence in a Loganville Drunk Driving Case
To collect a settlement from a drunk driver, you need more than an illegal BAC level. Holding the driver responsible for civil damages requires proving that their act of drunk driving caused their injuries. For example, if the driver was drunk, but a malfunctioning traffic light contributed to the accident, the impaired driver may not be the right entity to sue.
Your Loganville drunk driving accident attorney will discuss all options with you.
Evidence to Prove Negligence
An experienced lawyer will gather evidence of negligence from all viable avenues, including:
- Witness testimony
- 911 recordings
- Testimony from arresting and investigating officers
- Police body or dashboard cameras
Protect Yourself with the Strong Arm of Georgia
Just as you collect evidence to prove the at-fault driver’s negligence, the parties representing that driver will attempt to put blame on you for the accident. Insurance companies do not want to make payouts and often use unethical means to achieve that goal, even tricking you into making seemingly innocuous statements they will then use against you.
Your Loganville drunk driving accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates has your best interests at heart and the experience to handle and protect you from dishonest practices.
Damages You Can Collect in a Loganville Drunk Driving Civil Case
The damages you sue for, and the amount you collect depends on the specifics of your accident, the extent of your injuries, and the effect of those injuries on your life overall. Your drunk driving accident attorney in Loganville will work to get you the highest settlement possible, which will likely include compensation for
- Financial Losses: Your injuries may prevent you from working, and you can sue for lost wages. If your injuries are permanent, you can seek recovery of lost earning capacity.
- Medical Bills: Your lawyer will review your medical reports and prognosis. You can seek recovery for all accident-related medical expenses already incurred and those you will face in the future should you need long-term rehabilitation, additional surgeries, home care, or other interventions.
- Emotional Losses: Distress caused by the trauma of the accident, subsequent injuries and disfigurement, and the resulting diminished enjoyment of everyday living all demand acknowledgment.
- Wrongful Death: If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you can pursue financial recovery of related medical and end-of-life expenses, lost wages and potential earnings, and financial acknowledgment of the loss of relationship and affection.
Punitive damages are used to punish an offender and act as a deterrent for society at large. In most motor vehicle accident cases in Georgia, punitive damages cannot exceed $250,000, and the at-fault driver’s driving record cannot be submitted as evidence. For drunk driving cases, there is no cap, and the driver’s past record of DUI arrests is admissible.
Secure Legal Representation Today
Check out the John Foy & Associates contact page to schedule a free consultation today. We will not delay in responding and look forward to helping you secure the compensation and justice you deserve.