Drunk driving crashes are among the most tragic and preventable car accidents in the Macon area. While driving under the influence generally has been on the decline, it’s still the cause of a third of all collision deaths. From 2003 to 2012, 3,700 people lost their lives in Georgia.
If you have been in a crash with someone who was driving drunk, you have a right to recover medical expenses and other costs, plus additional large financial awards. You should contact a DUI accident lawyer in Macon from our law firm right away.
What Is Considered a DUI in Macon?
In Macon-Bibb County and throughout Georgia, “DUI” means driving under the influence of any substance, not just alcohol. Any substance that can impair your nervous system or your ability to control yourself can be the basis for a DUI. The most common substances involved in driving under the influence claims are:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter drugs that lead to drowsiness
- Illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin
Law enforcement officers usually administer a chemical test to determine whether a driver is intoxicated. A person is legally under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more, as determined by a breath or blood test.
Contrary to popular belief, a test is not required to convict a person of driving under the influence. Consult a drunk driving accident lawyer to learn more about your rights and how to prove liability after a DUI crash.
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I’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver in Macon. What Should I Do Next?
After any accident, the most important thing is to get emergency medical treatment for yourself and anyone else who was hurt. Victims often suffer from catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or loss of limbs. Immediate medical care will increase the chances of a successful recovery.
If your injuries allow, we also recommend taking some simple steps to protect your rights. We suggest that you:
- Involve the police: An intoxicated driver won’t want you to contact the police, but you should call them anyway. The police will interview those involved in the crash and witnesses, look at the damage, and write an accident report detailing what happened. This document is a critical piece of evidence that will support your claim.
- Tell the police if you believe the other driver is intoxicated: Police officers are trained to assess motorists for intoxication and administer field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. If you suspect the other driver was drunk, tell the officer and explain why you came to that conclusion. It will help your claim if the officer arrests the at-fault party at the scene.
- Record conversations with the other driver: Use your phone to record a video of your conversations with the impaired motorist. The video will capture telltale signs like unsteadiness, slurred speech, or aggressive behavior. A video from the scene can be powerful evidence if your case ever goes to trial.
- Watch the other driver: An impaired motorist may try to destroy evidence before the police arrive to avoid possible criminal charges. If you observe the other motorist hiding things, using eye drops, or pouring out containers of liquid, capture it with your phone’s video camera.
- Talk with witnesses: Find out if bystanders saw the accident or the drunk driver’s erratic behavior leading up to the accident. Get their names and contact information.
Finally, contact an experienced drunk driving victim accident lawyer in Macon immediately. DUI cases can be complicated, and you can be sure that the other driver’s insurance company will not offer you nearly as much as your case is truly worth.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Receive in a DUI Case in Georgia?
In Georgia, victims of automobile accidents are entitled to recover damages and costs. In a typical case, that might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost pay (from missing work because of the accident)
- Property damage, including car repairs or replacement
- Large financial awards for disabilities, wrongful death, or pain and suffering
DUI cases differ slightly from most auto accidents because victims may be eligible for even more money. A judge may award you “punitive damages” to punish the reckless driver. Many DUI claims are worth more than $100,000.
What If the Drunk Driver Fled the Scene?
A drunk driver fleeing the scene is a serious offense. Although you may worry that this means you will be unable to seek financial reparation for the reckless driving accident, it may still be possible. Try to write down as much information as you can, such as:
- The drunk driver’s license plate
- The other vehicle’s make, model, or color
- Details of the incident
If there were any witnesses to the collision, try and speak to them. They may have details about the accident that you don’t. Ask them what they remember about the incident before, as it happened, and right after it happened.
Make sure you report the crash right away and indicate that it was a hit-and-run. Provide as many details as you can to the police. Afterward, you should contact our team so we can start investigating the accident and ensure you get fair compensation.
Is the Drunk Driver Automatically at Fault?
When it comes to an accident, drunk drivers are not automatically at fault. While they are breaking the law by driving drunk, they may not automatically be liable. It is possible for an intoxicated motorist to get into a collision but not be responsible for causing it.
The drunk driver’s insurance company may claim their client was not at fault, likely to avoid paying out compensation. Should this type of situation occur, it’s best to have an experienced Macon drunk driving victim accident attorney on your side who can help you prove fault and navigate the process.
What If I Was a Passenger Riding With the Drunk Driver?
If you were injured as a drunk driver’s passenger, you have the same rights as any other accident victim. The motorist chose to operate a vehicle while impaired, and it should be them, not you, who pays for that decision. However, in some cases, the Macon-Bibb County courts may see you as less deserving than other accident victims.
One situation is that if you knew the driver was drunk when you got in the car, a judge may not want to award you as much money or may not want to give you punitive damages.
We recommend contacting one of our DUI accident attorneys in Macon, GA, as soon as possible so you can discuss the right strategy.
The Georgia Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file a suit within this time frame, you may lose your right to seek compensation.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations can be tolled or extended in certain circumstances, such as when the victim is a minor or is mentally incapacitated.
Consult an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the appropriate course of action and ensure your rights are protected under Georgia law.
Analyzing Georgia’s Fatal DUI Crash Data
Georgia has experienced a significant number of fatal crashes involving intoxicated drivers in recent years. In 2017, there were 357 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, accounting for 23% of all crash deaths in the state. This percentage remained relatively consistent through 2019.
In 2020 and 2021, the number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths in Georgia decreased slightly, but the percentage of all crash fatalities remained at 22%.
These statistics suggest that Georgia has seen many alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. If your loved one was one of the victims, you could receive wrongful death damages from the at-fault party. Our compassionate wrongful death lawyers can guide you through the legal process..
Talk to a Macon Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
If you are a victim of a DUI accident, you deserve to be compensated. At John Foy & Associates, we’ve seen how a drunk driver can change a life forever. We don’t want you to have to pay for someone else’s poor choices, and we have the skill and experience to ensure you receive just compensation.
We’ve been helping victims of accidents get the financial recovery they’re entitled to for more than 20 years. In that time, we’ve handled many DUI cases and always taken the side of the victim, never the drunk driver or the insurance company.
Let our DUI accident lawyers in Macon, GA, give you a free consultation and start you on the road to financial recovery. Contact us today or fill out our form to the right of the page.
478-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form